We’re five games into the BIT.TRIP series now, and there has been nothing but hits so far. Even if I’m not the biggest fan of BIT.TRIP FATE, one thing I will say is that it has one of the more interesting narratives of the series. The red-eyed Commander Video should indicate that this is a story of revenge and violence and it actually does feel like a narrative conclusion, which is astonishing to me when I’m talking about a game that prominently features Super Meat Boy.
I’d go as far as saying that there’s a good chance that FATE’s massive difference in gameplay from the rest of the series is thematic, and although I don’t think that makes me enjoy the game much more, I do have to appreciate it for being bold.
Having a different gameplay style is pretty ordinary for a BIT.TRIP game, but FATE is perhaps the biggest departure from the rest of the series as a shoot-em-up. You control Commander Video on rails through six levels and use the right stick to shoot enemies and obstacles which creates the music.
BIT.TRIP FATE is at its best when you’re in the new giga scoring mode and just annihilating anything in your path. The music is a departure from the rest of the series, but it’s still a lot of fun and catchy in its own right.
Unlike the other BIT.TRIP games, there’s not really any advancement on that basic idea beyond a few partners who can appear and change how you shoot a bit. The shooting is serviceable but lacks much punch beyond making the music pop out a bit, and the lack of interesting enemies or obstacles makes it interesting to play through. Say what you will about the other BIT.TRIP games, but at least they take simple concepts and take them to wild lengths.
My biggest problem with FATE is that you have a lack of control over Commander Video. You can only go across the designated line and speed up or slow down, which means that if a bullet comes towards you there are times when you genuinely can’t do anything to avoid it. It feels unfair at the best of times and like bad design at the worst of times.
The lack of checkpoints felt most apparent to me with BIT.TRIP FATE, as the levels all feel quite long and there are now six of them. I died far too many times from being stuck in a bad position whilst in a boss fight, and that just soured me on the whole thing a bit.
On top of that, I honestly just find FATE to be an uninteresting shooter and just quite boring at times. It’s made well-enough and the music is as great as ever, but it just doesn’t match the rest of the series.
For fans of the series, BIT.TRIP FATE delivers the same awesome music and visuals with the most interesting theming whilst having just okay shooting gameplay. It’s still good in some regards, but if there’s one to miss it’s this one.
Version Tested: Nintendo Switch
Review copy provided by QubicGames