Bit.Trip Presents Runner 2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien Review (PC)
key review info
- Game: Bit.Trip Presents Runner 2: Future Legend of Rhythm Warrior
- Platform: PC
- Gamepad support: Yes
- Reviewed on:
- Show system requirements
Gaijin Games impressed quite a lot of people with its high-quality Bit.Trip series, culminating with Runner, an endless running title that saw players take on the role of Commander Video and help him run through all sorts of crazy levels filled with many different dangers.
While the title may seem like a departure from the original title, considering its new visual style, Gaijin promises the same classic gameplay with many improvements and much more variety.
Did the small studio deliver on its promises or does Commander Video fail to cross the finish line? Let's find out.
Long story short, the good Commander is stuck on a new world and must once again do what he does best: run like there's no tomorrow.
Players will guide the character through more than 120 levels across five different worlds, slowly uncovering new moves, from jumping over obstacles to sliding beneath them, kicking them, or using special props like launch platforms.
The goal, like in the first Runner, is to get to the finish line and collect as many gold bars as possible. This is easier said than done, as getting all of them requires a lot of skill and plenty of retries, in case you fail.
Fortunately, Runner 2 introduces a great checkpoint system, as once you get over the halfway mark, you pass a barrier that will act as your respawn point if you die. For those who feel adventurous and want a bigger score, you can jump over the checkpoint, but this means that once you die, you'll be taken way back to the beginning of the level.
While Runner 2 is a pretty challenging experience, you have three difficulty settings which should make going through the game easy for players who aren't so familiar with the series. Unfortunately, while the difficulty is mentioned in the level select screen, you don't really figure out what it means from the beginning and I actually went through the first area on Hard before I figured out I had set the difficulty higher than the default one.
In terms of gameplay, Runner 2 manages to keep the core mechanics, such as running, jumping, sliding, or kicking, and even the basic enemies, which are mostly the same as the ones from the first Runner. At the end of a level, if you collect all the gold and health, you get to be shot out of a canon for bonus points.
Besides the regular levels, there are plenty of bonus ones, which are unlocked after reaching a certain amount of gold, and retro ones, which can be played once you pick up a golden cartridge during certain levels. These are brutally hard, however, and will require a lot of retries before you complete them.
Each area also has different bosses that mix things up and require a lot of practice and split-second reactions. They're also very exciting and make Commander Video's adventures that much more interesting.
Completing bonus objectives and scouring each level for hidden collectibles also unlocks new characters and skins for them.
While it's recommended to use a controller, Runner 2 handles pretty well with a keyboard, even if once the protagonist unlocks his array of moves, you need quite a lot of practice in order to easily hit all the right keys.
In terms of visuals, everything has been revamped, so the whole game looks much better than its pixelated predecessor. Props should also go to the artists who created the backgrounds for each level, as many contain various outrageous scenarios, such as a Big Foot jogging through the forest.
In terms of sound, Runner 2 rises to the benchmark set by previous Bit.Trip games, delivering all sorts of great chiptune songs that are perfectly in sync with the jumps, slides, and other actions of the player. Charles Martinet's narration is also really good and will make you laugh every time.
Bit.Trip Presents Runner 2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien may have a weird name, but it's an extremely impressive game. While it doesn't bring that many improvements over its predecessor, it's still a great experience and can easily be played by different types of players, although few will be able to unlock every single piece of bonus content.
Sure, you'll get annoyed in some cases and once Commander Video picks up speed, it's a bit hard to focus on him, but, in the end, you'll have quite a lot of fun guiding him in his journey. Loading screens are a bit too frequent but, thankfully, these don't appear during the races.