CommanderVideo continues to remain an unsung hero of Nintendo’s faltered WiiWare service. Gaijin Games, an expert in their digital craft, having created an eclectic group of titles that perfectly blend chiptune beats with rhythm-based gameplay, overridden with devout retro inspiration.
We have Rising Star Games, then, to thank for bringing BIT.TRIP COMPLETE, a compilation of all six games, to Europe. Not only granting an opportunity to pick up the series in entirety for a rather bargainous price but also hopefully introducing it to those that weren’t aware of what they’ve been missing.
Loosely chronicling CommanderVideo’s journey home, the BIT.TRIP series greatest strength lies within the fact that each game is so strikingly different from each other in terms of approach. Whereas BEAT heralds a concept inspired by Pong and Rez, CORE then switches things up entirely where players must fire a beam, fixed on horizontal and vertical axis, to eradicate increasingly challenging waves of blocks.
Across the series rhythm remains fundamental to your success, taking note of the Wii Remote’s steady rumble proving vital assistance to aid you in progression. This doesn’t come without its consequences though, a sense of achievement soon rewarded by more complex on-screen visual animation that serves to distract you from your objective. At the other end of the spectrum, failure sees the screen become instantly devoid of colour, and sound, as the player is granted a last attempt to prevent them from being greeted by the Game Over screen.
VOID, the third instalment, proves particularly addictive. The player guiding the titular dark void, weaving around white blocks as you seek to consume the black. As you do so, the size of your void increases and you must, therefore, determine when to ‘Pop’ and disperse to ensure you remain unharmed. Predictably, you gain a greater amount of bonus points dependent on how large the void becomes prior to dispersal.
Acclaimed as being the best the series has to offer, RUNNER sees the player in control of CommanderVideo as you jump, slide, kick and spring your way non-stop across environments – the collection of three, scattered plasters seeing the protagonist expel a radiant, multi-coloured rainbow. Nabbing Gold Bars, also laid in your path, see you able to partake in a ‘Retro Challenge’ at the conclusion of the level, where you can secure bonus points by traversing 2D NES-style landscapes.
FATE is an on-rails strategic shooter, the player once again in control of CommanderVideo as you navigate a fixed path, neutralising oncoming enemies as you go. A near continual shower of health ensures that you’re able to survive under increasing pressure, with cameo appearances from characters such as Super Meat Boy and Mr. Robotube acting as power-ups.
CommanderVideo returns home, in more ways than one, in series finale FLUX. This mixes concepts from previous titles in the series, the player controlling a paddle, as in BEAT, as you deflect white blocks, whilst avoiding certain blocks similar to that encountered in VOID.
What BIT.TRIP COMPLETE offers doesn’t end there either, with additional content, including art, video, audio and letters, able to be unlocked through the completion of levels, challenges and achieving perfects. An inclusion that will be appreciated by those that have previously purchased games within the series.
An irresistible audial and visual assault on the senses, BIT.TRIP COMPLETE could easily be recognised as representing the finest compilation of digital games to have graced any platform. The relentless appeal and an unending level of addiction ensure that CommanderVideo’s journey is one most certainly worth taking.