BIT.TRIP BEAT
Gameplay 8
Graphics 7
Sound 7

Bit.Trip.Beat is a great game for when you simply want to test your Arcade skills and put up some highscores. It takes the basic idea of classic titles like Pong and Arkenoid, but puts a fresh modern spin on them. Depending on how much you enjoy Arcade titles you will either love this game or find it way too limited and frustrating.

Gameplay: Pretty challenging but fun once you get into the “zone” while playing.

Graphics: An appreciation of retro visuals is definitely required.

Sound: Nice 8bit sounding and chiptune songs

Summary 7.3 Great
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BIT.TRIP BEAT

Developer: Gaijin Games | Publisher: Gaijin Games | Release Date: 2010 | Genre: Action / Casual / Indie | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

Bit.Trip.Beat is a simple arcade style game that draws its inspiration from Pong believe it or not. You control a paddle on the left side of the screen and have to prevent waves of incoming blocks from getting past it. This is all done in sync with the chiptune soundtrack for a nice retro experience. While the idea is very simple you’ll definitely not want to underestimate the gameplay.

The three songs/levels on offer, Transition, Descent and Growth will test your reflexes as you build up combos and multipliers while fending off cascades of blocks. The different colored blocks all have their own movement patters but you’ll still need cat-like reflexes to block them all. You start the game in “Hyper” state and each successful block will fill a bar at the top of the screen until you enter the “Mega” state. The payoff is much more points and more musical layers, but the difficulty is ramped up as well. The visuals also become more cluttered and if you miss too many blocks you’ll drop back down to the “Hyper” state. If you do really poor you will drop down to “Nether” state which has monochrome visuals and no music only simple sound effects. You’ll have to quickly fill up the bar again or it is game over. There are three boss levels that each serve as an homage to a classic Arcade game like Arkenoid and Pong.

Bit.Trip.Beat is not a very long game, but online leaderboards will keep you coming back for more. The game is fun in short bursts and I would have liked to see the three songs split into smaller segments for some “quickplay.” If you are a fan of flashy visuals the game will also probably not appeal to you as it looks like something from the 80s Arcade era. If you pay attention you’ll notice that the background images are actually 3D, but it can add to the visual clutter to create a very disorienting experience, especially if you are in the “Mega” state. The audio and visuals syncs up nicely, but don’t expect it to be a relaxing experience like some other rhythm games. The mouse controls are responsive enough and for once using a controller is not really recommended.

On its own the game is loads of fun, albeit a bit basic, so if you have yet to pick it up it might be wiser to wait for the Bit.Trip complete collection which contains all the games in the saga. It has already been released for the 3DS and Nintendo WII so hopefully a PC version is not too far off. The game requires the kind of patience and reflexes that were the hallmarks of classic Arcade titles, but once you have spent some time with it you will get the hang of things.

*Review originally published 2010.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows XP SP3
  • Processor: 2.0+ GHz
  • Memory: 512 MB
  • DirectX®: DirectX® 9.0c and shader model 3 with 128 MB of memory
  • Hard Drive: 100 MB
  • Sound: Any sound card capable of stereo output
  • OS: OS X version Snow Leopard 10.6.3, or later.
  • Processor: 2.0+ GHz
  • Memory: 512 MB
  • Graphics: OpenGL 2.1 and shader model 3 with 128 MB of memory
  • Hard Drive: 100 MB
  • Sound: Any sound card capable of stereo output

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