Basically, it’s a game where you run.

You play as CommanderVideo, the rectangular dude with the rainbows flying out of him. Not much in the way of a strotyline, other than he lands in a meteorite and is running.

He will run forwards automatically, and it is your job to make him dodge the various things in his way. These include holes, targets, signs, walls, lanterns, boxes, etc. You have 5 keys (on PC, it originally came from WiiWare): Up, Down, Left, Right and Space.

First off, space jumps. Down ducks. Left kicks through various obstacles (crystals, targets). Right blocks things flying straight at you. Up jumps off springboards. The controls are highly responsive and effective. Whenever you hit an obstacle, you die and restart the level. While the starting levels are slow, easy and somewhat tedious, the game gets completely MANIC later on. Apart from the fun (and highly addictive) gameplay, one of my favourite things about this game is the music and sounds. They all fit with the gameplay, and layer up as you collect the glowing pluses. You go through different stages, HYPER, SUPER, MEGA, ULTRA and finally EXTRA. With every plus you collect, you level up, the music gets more epic, and the particle effects flying out behind you get more awesome.

There are three worlds, Impetus, Tenacity and Triumph. They are all very, very frustrating. At the end of each world, you have a VERY long level, usually named something like Odyssey, and then a boss. The boss fights usually involve dodging their attacks, and then waiting for them to come near you so you can kick them in the face. I’ve got to set myself a limit on the number of times I’ll retry the levels and bosses, or I end up playing indefinitely!


The game has nice art, almost entirely consisted of Voxel Art, i.e. 3D pixels, as you can see from the screenshots. One problem with the graphics is that the backgrounds are 3D, animated and often extremely visually confusing and distracting. Other than that and the difficulty and frustration, those are my only issues!

BIT.TRIP RUNNER is developed by Gaijin Games, and is on Wii (via WiiWare) and Windows, Mac and Linux. It is also on Steam.

Rating: 9.5/10

I recently learned of a sequel to the game. It is not a part of the BIT.TRIP series, and so is named Runner2. From what I can see, it seems to be an improved version of the original, with more levels and better art.

Here’s a pre-alpha peek:

Runner2 Pre-Alpha Sneaky Peek from CommanderVideo on Vimeo.

I can’t wait!


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