There are so many games in the App Store, and yet there are so many games outside of it that would seem to be great for iOS. The BIT.TRIP series has been a stand out, and now it’s running on to iOS in the form of BIT.TRIP RUN! It’s a running platformer that revolves around rhythm, as everything you do in the game is tied to the musical soundtrack. The levels are filled with collectibles, and obstacles, and as you interact with each element, different notes are played. The game is all about nailing the flow of the level to hear the great soundtrack that develops as you go. Your character runs automatically, so you simply focus on jump, slide, kick, block, and glide accessible through touch controls.
BIT.TRIP RUN! includes a lot of content as well with three intricate worlds complete with 30 normal levels, 12 challenge levels, 15 retro level, and three boss battles. It’s great to have a level set-up for a runner game, as they could have easily gone with a redundant endless set-up, but instead you have very specific challenges, with nicely designed level layouts. Each level also has three different collectibles to shoot for as you try to perfect runs. The levels play out relatively similarly with the arrangement of obstacles, and collectibles, and then it’s all about quick reaction to tap to jump, swipe down to slide, and swipe right to kick/block. The controls are definitely intuitive, but the problem is that the game isn’t as responsive as it could be. There are multiple problems with the jump mechanic because there’s no standard, and instead your jump is dependent upon how long you tap on the screen. There are multiple times that the runner jumped short, or too far leading to crashes. There are also times where the game misses a tap entirely, or confuses a tap with a swipe gesture (or vice versa).
The game is inherently challenging with the speed, and flow, but frustration ensues not because of the difficulty, but because of the controls. It can be discouraging to think that you tapped at the right time only for the game to not recognize a jump in time. It seems the game engine doesn’t provide a flow between your movements, and has a tough time catching up to what you’re trying to do in tightly packed situations. You have to be more deliberate with your actions, but when things get tough, it’s hard to do so. After you lose numerous times in the same stretches, the entertainment drawn from split second reactions is gone, and you’re left with memorizing the patterns of the levels to finally make it through. It’s a game you want to like because of the rhythm based platformer with actual levels presented with ornate visuals. The controls get in the way too often, as honestly you should never be interrupted by the controls in any game. With that said, there’s still a lot to enjoy once you figure out that you have to be deliberate, and patient.
BIT.TRIP RUN! ($3.99, Universal) is worth picking up for a neat audio visual experience that delivers a lot of challenge to run through.