It would seem like the obvious decision to bring Commander Video latest adventure Runner 2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien to mobile and tablet devices. After all, the gameplay style would fit well with touchscreen devices, what with the swiping and poking that was done on the 3DS and Wii U variations of the game. So Gaijin Games finally caved in and brought Runner 2 to iPhones and iPads, renaming the game Bit.Trip Run!, and for the most part it makes the transition well. That is, until, you discover some of the flaws of the port.
Like Runner 2 the iOS version contains the five worlds (three currently, two to be added later), along with eight playable characters and challenge & retro levels. Those who are familiar with the game will know that the key to victory is keeping to the rhythm of the music, along with having a watchful eye of what's to come around the next bend. In order to reach your destination you must jump, duck, kick, block, and dance your way to the goal without being knocked out. If you do, you must start again at the next checkpoint.
Graphically Bit.Trip Run! is as colorful as its Wii U/PS3/Xbox 360 counterparts, with the worlds looking dazzling and imaginative on the tinier screen. It does take a bit of a chunk of the HD aspect of the games from the console versions, though, as the main campaign can look a little pixelated if too much is happening on the screen. It's still pretty to look at, mind you, but not as eye-popping as the previous version.
Playing the game with a touchscreen should be a no-brainer, as it feels like this format is what Commander Video was born to be part of. For the game's majority the touchscreen responds well to your finger's command, especially when it comes to kicking and jumping. However it's when you need to slide where things can sometimes get a little tricky. In order to slide down you must swipe your finger down. On many occasions whenever I did that on my iPhone my agenda menu came down, as well, pausing the game and throwing me off of my current run.
There's also an issue with whenever Game Center Achievements appeared. Four times during the middle of gameplay, when an achievement would pop up on the top of the screen, it would cause the game to freeze for a split-second. This doesn't sound like that big of an issue, until you realize that the split-second pause just caused your character to miss the jump, thereby forcing you to start back at the previous checkpoint.
Despite these hiccups Bit.Trip Run! is still fun. Along with that the soundtrack by Disasterpeace and Petrified Productions make the adventure more memorable, with song styles that will leave you in a wonderful trance. For people who want to know what the Bit.Trip series is all about but have been afraid to give it a go, Bit.Trip Run! may be a good start for them to jump into.
- Faithful port of Runner 2
- Tons of challenges and characters to play as
- Touchscreen controls work predominately well
- Swiping down can be a hassle
- Achievements causing some in-gameplay frustration
- Not as gorgeous on a phone than it is on a console
Despite some hiccups that shield the game away from reaching the same heights as its console predecessors Bit.Trip Run! is a nice addition for those who want to take the popular series on the go. With that said, though, I'm crossing my fingers that a patch will come around to fix the smaller issues that keep it from obtaining the greatness it can be.
FINAL GRADE: 7.2 (out of ten)
Review code provided by Gaijin Games. Originally posted on the ESH EGMNOW Page.