Forgot password?  |  Register  |    
User Name:     Password:    

Bit.Trip Flux Review

See PixlBit's Review Policies

On 03/19/2011 at 12:00 PM by Nick DiMola

The Bit.Trip conclusion takes the series back to its roots.

For hardcore, leaderboard-topping fanatics.

Most gamers out there have a much larger appreciation for the Bit.Trip series than I do. Something about the constant repetition and unbending difficulty has very little appeal to me at this point in my life, and I just don't care to sit and do a simple singular task over and over again in order to complete the goals at hand. That being said, Bit.Trip Flux stands out for me because, while hard, offers many checkpoints in a level and unlimited continues. I know I'll never be the guy to max out what the game has to offer by scoring ridiculously high in a given level, so I'm sure some of the magic of Flux is lost on me. Regardless, the game seems to be a fitting end to this unique series, and a great return to the game that started it all, Bit.Trip Beat.

Like Beat, players will have to knock back pellets that fly at them with a paddle that moves along the side of the screen (like Pong). This time however, players are stationed on the right side of the screen rather than the left, and in addition to knocking back square pellets, players will need to avoid circular ones. As with all of the games in the series, interacting with these pellets produces sound that coincides with the background chiptune track. This auditory feedback is often crucial in performing well because the patterns on the screen can get completely insane.

Given these simple gameplay elements, it's surprisingly impressive what Gaijin Games is able to do. Avoiding pellets often makes for a completely new type of gameplay wherein players are navigating a tight, curvy tunnel trying to avoid the edges at the cost of losing the precious multiplier. In many ways, this is reminiscent of the racing games of yore on the trusty Atari 2600.

Boss battles also add an interesting flair to the standard gameplay. The first one, for instance, sets up a Pong-like battle with an opposing paddle and incorporates elements of Breakout by adding breakable blocks behind each paddle with a vulnerable goal in the middle of that. Winning the battle is done by breaking the blocks and scoring the ball into the goal marker.

While each level takes a different riff on this very basic design element, most of the game will only see players deflecting the incoming pellets in sync with the beat of the music. The level design (if you can call it that) is the real star of the game. Pellets often have extremely complex patterns and are intentionally designed to play tricks on your mind.

Players may see a variety of them twirling around, seemingly randomly coming at them and hitting arbitrary parts of the screen. In reality, the pellets are landing in the exact same location, or closely together in a back and forth pattern. Because your eyes are trying to follow the pellets' elaborate courses, your paddle often ends up in the wrong spot, making you miss. As you play the game more, you start to recognize these tricks and act accordingly.

My biggest gripe with Flux is the same I had with Beat: the controls do not feel responsive or accurate enough for the high level of precision required by the game. I've found that the interface for controlling the paddle feels intuitive at first, but is very disorienting once the speed picks up. Unfortunately, I'm not sure any control mechanism provided by the Wii would be adequate for the game. Certainly some sort of touch screen would make for solid control, but twisting the Wii Remote on its axis doesn't feel like the optimal way to play the game.

Because the game offers checkpoints, it's hard to criticize its difficulty too much, but needless to say, it's extremely challenging. I've found it to be so challenging, whether by design or the less-than-perfect controls, that I don't truly enjoy playing it. I'm just not that great at the game and it makes it really hard to have fun with. Furthermore, I never can seem to do well enough to see all the game has to offer.

As you reflect pellets back without fail, a gauge begins to fill, and at a certain point will completely fill and change the visuals and sound effects. No matter how many times I've tried, I can only fill the gauge once before missing enough pellets to be dropped back down to the standard view.

I'm sure there are others out there who lack my general enthusiasm for the game, but when push comes to shove, I honestly think the game is well made, given its purpose. The level designs are stellar and the game constantly stretches the boundaries of its design. The pellet patterns are equally impressive, melting players' minds as they try and reflect back as many as possible without missing. These elements combine to make something that is both challenging and redeeming, assuming you have the patience to replay the various challenging portions of the game to really see what it has to offer.

If you desire to be challenged to the point of frustration, Bit.Trip Flux is for you. Those who don't see themselves replaying levels constantly to avoid dying are better off passing this title up.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:

All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.

These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.

This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.

Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.

Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.

A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.



Log in to your PixlBit account in the bar above or join the site to leave a comment.