Bit.Trip Saga Review

Bit.Trip Saga Review

Back in 2009, developer Gaijin Games and publisher Aksys Games released BIT.TRIP BEAT on the Nintendo Wii's WiiWare service. Featuring the iconic character named "Commander Video," the series hearkened back to the ‘80s and ‘90s where simplistic and brutally difficult but rewarding gameplay triumphed over flashy graphics. Earlier this year Gaijin Games released the final game in the series, BIT.TRIP FLUX. A few months following that game's release the developer announced two new Bit.Trip compilation collections: COMPLETE for the Wii and SAGA for the Nintendo 3DS. This review focuses on the Nintendo 3DS version which forgoes the extra challenges found in COMPLETE for a portable version and 3D effects. Does it add an extra angle to what is already an excellent series or is it aa instance of adding too much and ruining the overall experience?

As stated earlier, BIT.TRIP SAGA for the Nintendo 3DS does not include the 100+ challenges, extra developer insight material or online leaderboards found in COMPLETE, instead only including the original levels found in the six WiiWare releases with all six games unlocked from the get-go. However, SAGA features two new additions: 3D graphical effects and modified touch and physical controls due to the hardware change.

As fans of the series already know, the BIT.TRIP series is known for its simplistic control schemes and this carries over to SAGA, albeit in a slightly changed format due to the different button configuration found on the Nintendo 3DS when compared to the Nintendo Wii's Wii Remote and nun-chuk. BEAT and FLUX, both of which have players control a paddle ala Pong, can be controlled using the analog stick or via stylus motions. The latter controls exceptionally well and feels extremely natural but the former feels extremely touch as any upward or downward motion moves the paddle from one extreme to the other and there's no way to control the speed via way of a configuration.

CORE and RUNNER feel most at home with the control changes since both used button presses and the directional pad instead of motion controls. Nothing was really wrong with either game control-wise so it's a great move by Gaijin Games to leave alone what worked originally. And finally VOID and FATE fall somewhat in the middle as both games used a mix of conventional and motion controls in their original outings. VOID uses the slide pad to move Commander Video and the A button to "pop" him. FATE uses the slide pad to move Commander Video across the wave he travels on while the stylus is used to control where his bullets fire. VOID's control scheme feels pretty natural but FATE's is pretty weird until you get used to the controls, especially if you spent countless hours playing the original WiiWare release as I did.


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