With over 57 different levels (and 37 to be added in future updates), Gaijin Games’ platformer Bit.Trip Runner Presents Runner 2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien, the sequel to the original Bit.Trip Runner, was successfully ported to iOS with the new and catchier title Bit.Trip Run!, but not without its flaws.
Taking control of the original game’s hero, Commander Video, players once again use many of the same moves and actions of Bit.Trip Run!‘s predecessor, with the exception of new obstacles such as loop-de-loops, the ability to glide, dance actions that boost the player’s score, and the introduction of trampolines. With over 40 unlockable costumes, the player is no longer limited to playing as Commander Video but, instead, has the opportunity to take control of a variety of his friends, earned after completing certain levels, and costumes, found in treasure chests dispersed throughout the game.
My favorite features of Bit.Trip Run! have to be the introduction of the checkpoint system (allowing for extended levels and resulting in less amounts of rage after I die for the 100th time right before I reach the end) as well as the visually appealing graphics and unlockable worlds. While the soundtrack does not feel as rich and vibrant as that of the original game, it is still enjoyable and bearable to listen to repeatedly if one is prone to dying every few seconds as I am.
Compared with its forerunner, the levels found on Bit.Trip Run! were made to satisfy a different taste in graphics. The game’s levels feature a more realistic and polygonal look than before which give it a different feel than the simple 8-bit visuals of Bit.Trip Runner. Ironically, the new game digresses from its “Bit Trip” title which was originally meant to reflect the pixelated nature of the first game. Nevertheless, the levels are still beautifully crafted, considering its distinct look.
Moreover, another deviation from the original is the newer game’s “end of perfect level” bonus award system. While Bit.Trip Runner uses “bonus” retro runs at the end of perfect levels to earn gold, Bit.Trip Run! now presents the player with the opportunity to earn gold through a quicker canon and bulls-eye carnival-like game.
All you Bit.Trip Runner fans out there need not worry over the compression of Bit.Trip Runner Presents Runner 2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien into the more mobile-centric iOS version of the game because Gaijin Games has done it almost perfectly. Like most iOS and Android adapted games, no port is entirely perfect for the touch screen, and Bit.Trip Run! is no exception. While many of the swiping actions (required for sliding, kicking, and dancing) are easily recognized, the same cannot be said for tapping. Far too often are tap gestures not recognized and become a cause of major frustration when you have tried to perfectly complete a level after many, many, attempts. Additionally, when the gestures are recognized, there tends to be some lag between the moment you touch the screen and the moment the character performs the action, a problem promised to be fixed by the developers in future updates.
Despite its shortcomings, the game was released for iOS a little more than two weeks ago so, like any game, future fixes and updates are to be expected. From the time that I am writing this review, the developers have already released an update fixing frame rate issues as well as adding new control schemes and are boasting the release of two new worlds, 38 levels, and 2 more boss battles in the future.
For its graphics, levels, gameplay, and ultimate experience, I certainly recommend buying Bit.Trip Run! for any of your iOS devices. I also recommend it to anyone who loved the original game and would like to have the sequel on their iPad or mobile phone. Nonetheless, keep in mind, the game is exactly the same as its PC and console counterpart Bit.Trip Runner Presents Runner 2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien in terms of levels and gameplay, so don’t expect anything different other than the touchpad controls if you already own the PC/console version. While the iOS version can be laggy and unresponsive to touch actions at some points, those moments do not largely interfere with the game’s experience, though they may become annoying after multiple disruptions in playing; however, as previously mention, future updates by the developer to resolve these and other issues are to be released soon enough.