Publisher: Choice Provisions
Developer: Choice Provisions/Gamecraft Studios
ESRB: Not Rated
I don’t know if any game has made me feel quite as old as BIT.TRIP RERUNNER. It’s not just that my first review of BIT.TRIP game, Runner 2, was more than a decade ago. It’s that, re-reading that old review, I see that I loved that game, and I can’t say I’ve given the series any thought in recent years. (Though I suspect that the lacklustre Runner 3 may have something to do with that as well.)
More than that, though, while I can certainly appreciate that BIT.TRIP RERUNNER is very good for what it is – and I’ll expand on that thought in a moment – I can’t say that it’s the kind of game that appeals to me in the same way anymore. It’s constant motion, all fast-paced, twitchy, frenetic action, and playing it now it almost feels overwhelming. I mean, even now I remember that the previous games felt that way too, but going back to this style of game after (unknowingly) gravitating away from it really drives that point home.
That said, even if my own tastes have moved away from Runner-style games, there’s no denying that RERUNNER is very, very good at what it does. The series has always been about constantly keeping you on your toes as you help Commander Video jump, dive, and dance his way through levels while collecting all kinds of goodies, and that’s in full effect here. Since you’re constantly running forwards and the obstacles get faster and faster, it becomes a matter of finding the right rhythm as you kick-jump-block-jump-jump-dance with no time in between to pause and take a breath.
In fact, one of the things I’d forgotten about this series – that RERUNNER immediately brought back to me – is how you never actually spend any time in these games watching your character on the screen. You’re always watching the far edge of the screen, readying yourself for what comes next – and the moment you pause to look at what you’re doing, you’ll fail.
Because you never get to appreciate RERUNNER in the moment, it’s very easy to overlook how great the game looks and sounds. With the constant motion, you can sometimes forget how well this series has always matched up the actions with the musical cues, but if you let the music seep into your consciousness, you’ll have no problem realizing that RERUNNER’s score is as fun as ever. The visuals, too, look outstanding – and as a bonus, the game seems to have learned something from Runner 3. Where that game was a little too nice-looking – by which I mean the screen sometimes got too busy – here the world looks great without intruding on your focus.
Maybe best of all, not only is RERUNNER great at what it does, it shows how far the game has come from its humble beginnings as Wii Ware. RERUNNER includes a whole bunch of retro-themed levels, and you can see how the game has evolved over the years, while at the same time staying true to its original ideas.
Again, playing BIT.TRIP RERUNNER has made it clear to me just how much my gaming tastes have changed in the past decade. But that’s very much a case of “It’s not you, it’s me.” RERUNNER shows the series has got as much life in it as it ever did, and if you’re in the mood to be challenged, it’s worth your time and money.
Choice Provisions provided us with a BIT.TRIP RERUNNER PCcode for review purposes.