Electronic Theatre Preview: BIT.TRIP Complete

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Electronic Theatre ImageSet for release later this month, Rising Star Games’ BIT.TRIP compendium will be available for both Wii and Nintendo 3DS. Electronic Theatre recently had the opportunity to get hands-on with the former, BIT.TRIP Complete, and while it doesn’t promise to add anything new to the series, delivering the short bursts of adrenaline rush gameplay for which BIT.TRIP is famous in one all-encompassing package should be enough to grab the attention of any innovation-hungry Wii gamer.

BIT.TRIP Complete features all six of the BIT.TRIP titles currently available for download via the WiiWare service. Developed by Gaijin Games, the BIT.TRIP titles follow CommanderVideo on a series of different Electronic Theatre Imageadventures. Strictly speaking, there’s a little more to the story than that, but it’s largely superfluous. Instead, it’s the core gameplay that is the important part of BIT.TRIP; each and every one of the six titles.

Of the six titles featured in BIT.TRIP Complete, there are three titles which exemplify the experience players will engage in. BIT.TRIP Beat is the first title we encounter. A Pong-esque videogame, blocks fly from the right and the player must bounce them back with a paddle controlled by rotating the Wii Remote forward and back. So far so simple, but it’s not quite that basic: as the player progresses, the difficulty quickly ramps up. Patterns of blocks become more complicated and the visual design changes in accordance to success or failure.

BIT.TRIP Core has the player take control of a plus symbol fixed to the centre of the screen. Using the D-Pad, the player can fire a continuous beam in the four directions dictated by the arms of their avatar. Blocks fly into the playElectronic Theatre Image field in synchronised formations, and it’s up to the player to place their beam in front of the blocks as they pass by. Just as with BIT.TRIP Beat, the patterns in which the blocks enter the playfield become increasingly complex as the visual design changes to reflect the progress made.

While BIT.TRIP Beat and BIT.TRIP Core may sound like a fairly similar gameplay premise, in practice they are very different beasts. And to consolidate that point, we come to BIT.TRIP Runner, an entirely different kettle of fish. In BIT.TRIP Runner the player takes direct control of CommanderVideo as he automatically runs from left-to-right in a similar fashion to Yoshi’s Touch & Go. Players must command CommanderVideo to avoid obstacles and pick up bonus items throughout the levels with three simple manoeuvres: jump, slide and kick. The pacing of the levels is of course the challenge, as the player must often think two or three moves ahead in order to successfully pass the obstacles. It’s not a simple case of jumping when an enemy comes Electronic Theatre Imageinto view, players must time their jump in preparation for what lies behind that enemy. BIT.TRIP Runner isn’t just a straight forward platform videogame; it’s a reflection on the established conventions in the same way that BIT.TRIP Beat takes the globally accepted design of Pong and remixes it into something inherently modern.

BIT.TRIP Complete will present all six of the currently available BIT.TRIP titles alongside a number of bonus features, including production materials and all-new bonus levels for all six titles. What’s more, BIT.TRIP Complete will also include a bonus CD featuring the original soundtrack for all six BIT.TRIP titles. Of course, alongside the Wii release of BIT.TRIP Complete comes the Nintendo 3DS title, BIT.TRIP Saga. Essentially the same package, less the soundtrack, BIT.TRIP Saga has an extra trick up its sleeve thanks to the hardware upon which it is launching: stereoscopic 3D. While the added depth to the visual design may not revolutionise the BIT.TRIP experience, it’s certainly going to be interesting to see how the surreal neon interpretations adapt to a stereoscopic 3D display. BIT.TRIP Complete and BIT.TRIP Saga will both be available from 16th March 2012, and  Electronic Theatre will keep you updated with all the latest details on both titles.

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