BIT.TRIP BEAT HD

from BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment America Inc., originally released 30th September, 2010

Won TouchGen's Editor's Choice Awards 2010 in the Best Music Game Category!

"Featured in Apple's Rewind 2010!"

25 Best iPad Games - C-NET
Editor’s Choice Award (4.5/5) – TouchGen
Bronze Award – Pocket Gamer

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Bit.Trip Beat HD iPad Review

Bit.Trip Beat could just as easily have been named Super Chiptune Pong. The concept is simple: Hit block-shaped notes with your paddle as they come at you from the right side of the screen. However, add in beats that bounce back and forth, move sporadically, and multiply, and you’ve got your hands full with an onslaught of challenge. Are you fast enough to keep up with the beat?

Bit.Trip Beat has two meters, one for beats hit and the other for beats missed. If you fill up the ‘hit’ meter first, both meters reset and the visuals get kicked up a notch. Filling up the ‘miss’ meter (which takes considerably fewer misses) sends you into the black and white nether realm, a musical limbo where the music almost completely cuts out. Filling up the hit meter in this mode brings you back into the track, while missing more notes ends the game.

As you progress through each song, the beats vary in slight ways that make the gameplay a little more complex. New note types are constantly thrown in, but they don’t have a formal introduction, so you’ll need to figure them out for yourself. Things can get tricky, especially since the difficulty curve is a little too steep for its own good.

Insane in the membrane.

Co-op multiplayer is available over Bluetooth and local Wi-Fi. Here you can pair up with a friend to play levels cooperatively. This eases up the difficulty a little. As they say, two is better than one. Unfortunately, only the iPhone version of the game has online multiplayer (via Game Center). Hopefully the iPad version will get the same treatment when Game Center becomes available for it.

For your initial purchase, Bit.Trip Beat offers up three trippy and well-produced, pre-scripted songs, two of which must be unlocked. However, for the $7.99 launch price, this isn’t much, and you may lose interest once you master each song’s pattern. Three more songs can be bought in a $1.99 bundle, but in our opinion they should have been included in the first place.

Bit.Trip Beat has some great little touches, including increasingly crazy lighting effects for performing well and cool cross-fading in the music. As you move through the galaxy with your trusty paddle, space stations and pulsing planets will float by. Plus, the neon colors really pop off the screen.

Songs deemed too intense for the Wii finds a new home.

On the iPad, Bit.Trip Beat has excellent drag-based touch controls. There is also an option to tilt the device to move the paddle, but this isn’t precise enough, and we wouldn’t pick it over the touch controls.

We should note that the iPad version has much better controls than the iPhone version. Because it’s been squeezed on the smaller screen, the iPhone touch controls cause you to block too much of the screen, while the tilt controls are imprecise.

Bit.Trip Beat is certainly among the more unique takes on Pong we’ve played (and there have been a lot). iPad owners who fancy a challenge and some beautiful bleep-bloop chiptunes will love the game, but we would approach the iPhone version with caution due to the sloppy controls. And if you’re prone to seizures, better stay far away.

Bit.Trip Beat Hands-On Preview and Video

Between Rock Band, Guitar Hero, and new Tap Tap Revenge games every other week, the music/rhythm game genre is starting to feel a bit crowded. That’s why we were relieved that Namco sent us a playable preview build of Bit.Trip Beat, which uses original chiptunes instead of Katy Perry or Linkin Park, and an interesting Pong-like gameplay mechanic instead of tap-tapping.

In Bit.Trip Beat, you play as a little line who is heroically soaring through the universe to find some chill tunes. When it’s time to boogie down, your line will turn into a Pong paddle on the left side of the screen. Beats (blocks) will come zooming in from the right side of the screen, and you’ll have to bounce them back to score a point and play a note.

Later in the game, these blocks start to act strangely. They’ll stop and change direction, or come at you in a wavy line. Pretty soon, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by their erratic behavior. Meanwhile, the chiptunes trance music gains intensity, and if you are playing well, the level will start pulsing and changing colors. This game earn the ‘trip’ in its title.

On the flipside, if you do poorly, the game will revert to a black and white retro look that mimics the original Pong, with no music, and no fun. Since the game is all about enjoying the music and colors, you’ll want to hit enough notes in limbo mode to bring you back up to normal.

Bit.Trip Beat is also a WiiWare and PC game, but this iPhone and iPad version will contain three new levels. Two-player co-op mode via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi will be supported in an update after launch, and Bit.Trip Beat will also support Apple’s Game Center. You can find it on the App Store September 24.

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