SEATTLE — Seeing as this is a Bit.Trip friendly zone, I jumped at the opportunity to check out the latest in the series, Bit.Trip VOID, at the Penny Arcade Expo this past weekend. This one is very different from the other two titles in the series, yet retains the same cohesive feeling and look that those exhibited
In VOID, you are collecting black beats as they fly across the screen from the left, and avoiding the white beats that come along with it. As you collect more and more of the black bits, the black circle that you control will grow and grow. It becomes harder to navigate away from the white beats as it grows though, and here’s where the game gets interesting. You have to press the A button to shrink your circle back down to starting level before you can be hit by the white pieces — if you’re hit by the white, you shrink as well, but you don’t get to keep the points you have acquired. You basically use shrinking as a way to deposit your points, but you will earn more points by being larger — there’s a lot of strategy involved in this, and in a way, it reminds me of Blast Works: Build, Trade and Destroy, in the sense that you’re trying to collect things to grow larger while balancing the need for more points with the need to avoid being hit by objects in the level.
It wouldn’t be a Bit.Trip game without a high difficulty level, and even in this demo build of the game you could see where this will be hard to play. Sometimes there are tons of bits on the screen to collect and avoid all at once, and they move fast, so you’ll need to react faster. Luckily the game supports both WiiMote/Nunchuk and Classic Controller play styles, so you won’t have to navigate with the D-pad at high speeds or around corners, and in a first for the series, there are mid-level checkpoints, which should make completing this game a bit easier than it was with the other two, though you still have to reach the checkpoints before you can use them.
There are a few other things that make this title intriguing, the most interesting of which is four-player local co-op. Multiplayer improved the experience of Bit.Trip BEAT substantially, so I’m excited to give this game a shot in multiplayer, especially when the object of the game is collection. The game also sports a chip tunes soundtrack, which makes a retro nut like myself happy. The music in the two previous titles was wonderful, catchy and fit the games perfectly, and from what I heard of VOID, that holds true once again.
Bit.Trip VOID will be out this fall for WiiWare, as the third game in a six title series. We’ll have more info for you on the game as it nears release, but check out the trailer and these screens now as an appetizer for later retro goodness.