BIT.TRIP Fate is the next installment of the wonderful BIT.TRIP series of games by Gaijin Games. I don’t recall just when the series began, however, our own Peter Eykemans reviewed BIT.TRIP Runner not too long ago. The reason why I bring that up is because, despite having the same series name, the two games aren’t entirely similar. Each has it’s own “story” and gameplay type. For example, BIT.TRIP Runner was a game about running through various levels, BIT.TRIP Fate however, is something else entirely… a shmup.
So, sit back and relax while you take in the newest BIT.TRIP game and all its glory as you read this review.
Commander Video can't deviate from the line.
As mentioned above, BIT.TRIP Fate is a shmup. However, while at first glance it may seem like a fairly standard sidescrolling shmup with Wiimote-pointing controls, the whole genre gets turned on it’s head by a unique “on-rails” sort of gameplay. What I mean by this is that, despite it being a sidescrolling game, you’re stuck to a line that Commander Video can’t deviate from. If the line goes up, you have to go up as well. This method brings about a whole level of strategy to the game that otherwise wouldn’t be there. Suddenly you have to tactically use the line to avoid various enemies and bullets that are coming at you.
Of course, the flip side of this is that, sometimes you’re just screwed. While the method is certainly unique and brings some fun gameplay, it can be frustrating to know that no matter what you’re about the get a face full of bullets and there’s nothing you can do about it. Removing the control from the player is often an aggravating experience.
Now, as with most shmups, BIT.TRIP Fate allows you to upgrade your weapon in order for it to become bigger, badder, and even more “killy.” It’s a simply process: everything you kill in the level will drop an item that you can pick up. No matter where you kill them the item will float down or float up to your line so that you’re able to collect. After attaining a certain amount of them Commander Video will be “upgraded” to various levels termed “Ultra,” “Mega,” “Giga,” and so on in that manner. With each new mega or ultra rating you’re weapon will get bigger and more powerful.
Additionally, and this is quite unique amongst side scrolling shmups, with each new ranking Commander Video will be able to take another hit of damage. of course, getting hit will instantly downgrade you to the next lowest rank. So, for example, if you’re at the “Giga” rank and you take a bullet, you’ll be downgraded to “Extra.” The method works for what it is, but, as I mentioned previously, it can be quite frustrating to lose an entire rank when you get to one of those places where there’s no way you’re dodging a bullet.
One more thing that really bugged me about BIT.TRIP Fate was that the game had no set “check points” within each level. So, while getting through the level was fairly easy enough, figuring out the boss patterns could be quite challenging. Unfortunately, should you die you’ll have to start all over again from the beginning of the level, which is exactly the same as the first time you played it and moves along at a slow pace. After dying a couple times on a boss you’ll definitely have reservations about beginning the process over again.
Finally, yes both Super Meat Boy and Mr. Robotube make an appearance in the game as special weapons that last only a limited amount of time. I won’t spoil what exactly they do, but they come with three other BIT.TRIP robots each of which enhance your weapons for a limited time.
As with other BIT.TRIP Games, BIT.TRIP Fate proves retro still looks good.
BIT.TRIP Fate’s artistic style is decidedly retro, as with all the series’ games. It’s colorful, blocky, and overall looks really good. I don’t believe anybody expected anything more or less than that. Gaijin Games proves, once again, that the retro style fits in perfectly with modern consoles such as the Wii.
The music, however, is where BIT.TRIP Fate really shines. With each successive rank the techno music gets better and better. Additionally, whenever you kill something the song works in a little “bing” to add even more flavor to the already great music. Of course, the flip side is that with each successive hit you take the music will get flatter and flatter to the point where, just before you die, you’ll hear no music at all. It’s a nice affect and one that really brings BIT.TRIP Fate to life.
I don’t recall any sort of story line and I honestly don’t know if there is an overarching storyline across all the various games.
The game comes with support for the either the nunchuck attachment or the classic controller attachment. My suggestion? Go with the latter. It makes the entire game far more enjoyable. To expand on that even further however, I recently received a Nyko gun attachment that really made the game all the more enjoyable. So if you have one I strongly suggest playing with that.
Bottomline, BIT.TRIP Fate is another solid entry into the BIT.TRIP series of games by Gaijin Games. If you’re a fan of the series and, more importantly, a fan of shmups then I’d suggest giving this most recent addition a look-through. It has enough content to last for a while, offers a unique take on a tired genre, and is generally more fun than not.
BIT.TRIP Fate is available on the WiiWare channel for the Nintendo Wii for 800 Nintendo points ($8).