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Bit.Trip Beat Review - Wii

8.5
Gameplay: 7 stars 7
Graphics: 7 stars 7
Audio: 9 stars 9
Multiplayer: 7 stars 7
Innovation: 6 stars 6
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Introduction

I’m loving the modern retro genre that has emerged over the last couple of years. The aesthetic is so refreshing after so many years of gritty realism, and the back to basics gameplay is just as invigorating. Now WiiWare is getting its own series of throwback titles developed by Gaijin Games, the first of which is Bit.Trip Beat.

Gameplay

Think of the screen as a one-sided Pong arena, with a paddled positioned parallel to the left hand side and able to be scrolled up and down by tilting the Wii remote, held in the NES position, backwards and forward. From the right of the screen come small blocks, which you need to prevent from getting past your paddle. Every time you deflect a block it plays a note, so in the process of defeating the waves of pixels that bombard you, it creates sweet retro music. That’s Bit.Trip Beat.

That’s all there is to the game. There are three songs, each of which contain several stages. At the end of each song is a boss battle, which invariably involves an onslaught of some description. You get points for every block you hit, and if you manage to reflect enough blocks you’ll transfer into Mega Mode and start racking up multipliers. If you let a block through, you’ll start filling up the Nether meter at the bottom of the screen, and when that fills up the screen turns black and white, all the music fades away (though the remote pulsates to keep the beat – a very neat touch) and it’s basically a fight to survive. You need to fill the top bar by hitting the notes, at which point it’s back to normal, but if you again miss enough to fill the bottom bar, it’s game over.

Occasionally they’ll throw in a little power-up if you hitting a special brick. You might get a wider bat, or even two paddles that move in sync. That doesn’t give you a moment of respite, though – the game then requires you to think with two paddles to keep up with the rhythm. There are even Challenge blocks that will shrink your bat – such cruel torture – but will net you huge points if you can pull it off. In the background float interstellar beings and comets and spaceships that (apparently) tell a story if you can drag your eyes away from the bat long enough. Honestly, though, that really all there is to Bit.Trip Beat.

And yes, it’s awesome. Bit.Trip Beat makes that little kid inside of you that nostalgically remembers the days of old feel all warm and tingly. It’s an awesome downloadable game. It can be really, really difficult, too. Difficult like the games of old, back when boys were men and men needed codes just to finish the first level. It’s a game that doesn’t just make the rhythms hard, but puts distracting multicolour flashing LED lights behind the blocks so that you can’t see them until a millisecond later. It’s a game ...

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