Bit. Trip Saga review for Nintendo 3DS
There’s something about Bit. Trip Saga that awakens the retro gamer in all of us. And it’s not just the 8 bit-style graphics and chiptune music that does it for us either. Bit. Trip Saga is gaming in its purest form. It’s challenging, charming, and it doesn’t look like anything else you’ve played this year. Above all, it’s fun. But does it have the legs to compete with gaming’s other big hitters? Stephen Ebert finds out, in our Bit. Trip Saga review.
Bit. Trip Saga is a memory-tingling collection of six games featuring 80 levels of gameplay of varying difficulty, each dictated by the beat of its chiptune soundtrack. Music is at the heart of your every move.
Bit. Trip Saga’s games are both a test of your reflexes and ability to react to your aural senses. From Pong-like paddling to 8-bit platforming running and jumping, it reminds us of games from the early 80’s, remastered and repackaged into something trendier for a new generation of players.
The experience of playing Bit. Trip Saga is one of being able to relive a past era in gaming. One where games solely designed to test the reflexes. That’s what Bit. Trip Saga is really all about. It’s retro-inspired title with a lick of paint, accompanied by toe-tapping soundtrack.
Its six games: Beat, Core, Void, Runner, Fate and Flux offer up gameplay that you can pick up and play with little or no gaming experience. But don’t be fooled. Each is as challenging as it gets. Beat is a Pong-like game in which you move a paddle to hit objects corresponding to a beat. Like every game in Bit. Trip Saga it is a test of the senses. Core challenges your ability to tap the 3DS’ buttons to a tune to overlapping dots on a screen. It feels more eye exercise than game, but still manages to retain that ‘one more go’ feel.
Void will challenge your timing. You must collect black dots whilst avoiding the white ones flying towards you. Collecting black dots expands you, so you’ll need to hit a button to bank your points and shrink yourself. Winner takes all. It’s genius. Runner will put your platforming skills to the test.
Of all the games Runner is the most conventional. You help a little figure called Commander Video in levels of platforming brilliance. Ducking, jumping and kicking is the name of the game. The idea is to time your every move to the beat in the most fun game of the lot. It’s entirely on-rails, so you’ll need some seriously quick reactions.
Fate is a side-scrolling on-rails shooter where enemies come at you from all angles. Its focus on shooting up enemies separates it from the other games, and adds some nice variation to proceedings.
In fact there’s enough of a pick ‘n’ mix here to more than keep you occupied on a long trip. A top-notch soundtrack with some pleasing bass-lines makes for comfortable playing on long journeys. Think of Bit. Trip Saga as a soundtrack you can play along to. There’s little else like it around, making it a welcome change from the graphically intensive triple-A games vying for attention elsewhere.
Bit. Trip Saga has its problems. The Nintendo 3DS analogue stick isn’t nearly precise enough to offer the kind of control needed for some of the games. A slight snag on the controls and you’ll send your paddle veering wildly off course. Thankfully the option to play with a stylus offers some improvement.
The full package offers up lots and lots of gameplay, but there’s little else in the way of extra features. Instead progression feels like a factory production line of endless levels likely to prevent you from really ploughing on once the next triple-A game comes along. That said, that shouldn’t detract from how well each level has been designed.
Even with a pair of headphones, the audio on the 3DS isn’t nearly loud enough to fully appreciate what is an awesome soundtrack, particularly in Void. It’s a real shame, and none of the developer’s fault.
The bottom line
Bit. Trip Saga, especially in today’s era is a refreshing blend of old-school fun for those that love a challenge. Bit. Trip Saga is like nothing you’ve played this year. The charming title won’t be to all tastes, but that’s just part of the appeal. Catch the bug and it’s impossible not to be smitten with its retro charms.