Have you ever wondered what it would be like to learn instrument while also having fun? BIT TRIP Presents Runner 2 Future Legend of Rhythm Alien, released by Choice Provisions on PS4 (cross-buy with Vita) on Feb 24th, captures this essence phenomenally while also being one of the most fun Rhythm games I’ve ever played.
Right off the bat, it;s easy to tell what sets this game apart from most. Right when the game starts up, you are greeted with an animated scene narrated by none other than Charles Martinet, the voice actor of Mario. These scenes are scattered throughout the game, and follow the main character, Commander Video, as he goes between worlds. But, the charm doesn’t end there by a long shot. It spreads to the music of each world, the art of each level, and the crazy character designs, too.
Runner 2 is separated into worlds, each with at least 10 levels, some quite a few more, especially when including secret levels. Runner 2’s structure is familiar, especially to anyone who has played a sidescroller before. However, it’s pacing is something few other games, even games like Super Mario Bros., have done this well.
In Runner 2, you don’t begin with every skill you have. Instead, you start with simply jumping. Over time, the game will throw you into levels that teach you about new abilities you can use, while consistently combining them with the ones you already know. The introductions to these new abilities are spot on, too. I never felt like a level was doing too much of the same, to make sure I learned a certain skill. And it never felt that a level was being unfair, either. Because of this superb pacing, the game feels like it’s teaching you how to play an instrument. You start off with the basics, but gradually get better and better. By the end, you will have grown so much, that you won’t believe the levels that gave you trouble at the start. It’s this pacing and learning that makes Runner 2 so immensely satisfying and enjoyable. Before you know it, you’ll be not only jumping, but dancing, ducking, reflecting, bouncing, and combining these skills all to the beat of fantastic music.
Speaking of music, the game’s soundtrack is fantastic. Each world features catchy electronic 8-bit inspired songs with layered elements that respond to how you are playing in the game. Each collect-able you collect adds a note to the song. Collecting one of the red variety will add a new, additional layer to the overall song. Collecting all 3 will have you listening to the full song. The music brings this game to life.
The game’s graphics were initially a point of contention for many people. The original BIT TRIP games were all in a old-school pixel art style. However, Runner 2 ditched this style for a more cartoony 3D style. While people may have initially been worried by this change, it honestly was unwarranted. The game looks stunning, and still manages to capture the same essence and charm that the earlier games did. Runner 2 has backgrounds teeming with life and variety, which makes it fun to look at, not just to play. And the art style is silly in the best way. Much of the background objects have eyes and faces, and give you particularly strange looks as you play. It’s details like these that make the game feel so darn charming.
In the end, BIT TRIP Presents Runner 2 Future Legend of Rhythm Alien is a game that is superbly crafted to teach you how to play. With difficulty that makes you truly feel like you are learning how to play on your own. You’ll gain skills as you play this game, and you’ll have an absolute blast while you do it. Content is plentiful, art is full of style, and the soundtrack is beyond catchy. This is a game for both newcomers to Rhythm games (like me) and veterans alike. You’ll be hard-pressed not to thoroughly enjoy yourself here. Runner 2 Future Legend of Rhythm Alien is an absolutely wonderful game.
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