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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