Otaku USA Magazine
Bit.Trip Beat

Here is a game that taunts you by giving you a high score even though you didn’t actually beat the level: We know you’re trying really hard, and look how far up the board you managed to get! Maybe next time you’ll actually manage to pull it off. Pity from a computer? That is just the end, right there. Bit.Trip Beat, you have shattered my self esteem, and yet I love you still.

The abuse moves beyond the “mere” psychological into the physical — would you quit throwing so many things? Yellow straightforward dots, blue curveball dots, pink skipping dots, green blinking dots — all I have is my little Pong paddle, skittering back and forth with frantic twists of the horizontal Wiimote, to shelter me from your constant volleying of “beats.” Never mind the score multiplier or the beautiful chip tune rhythms we rock together; I’m at wit’s end.

Not content with stopping there, you toy with me by unleashing special dots that, without warning, transform my sole defense into either a super-powered beat defeater (with, for instance, a dual-wielding effect) or, in a monumental betrayal, a “challenge” sized nib of nothing that is barely long enough to strike back one beat (an act requiring super-human precision at the best of times). A bonus is a bonus, but the cold, silent, monochrome field of the Nether mode, activated just shy of death, is a sad state indeed, and, often, a risk too horrible for me to take.

Your 8-bit aesthetic seduced my eyes, your bleeps and bloops enticed my ears — for what? So that I could squander untold hours memorizing the psychotic patterns, which frequently dash physics’ brains out into the hypnotic background asteroids or lava rivers? (Yes.) Why should orange dots rebound in varying parabolas, though they all approach at the same speed? How do green dots manage to halt alarmingly in mid flight and then carry on a few bars later as if nothing had every happened? How does each level seem to stretch onwards into infinity until that boss battle greets you, not with fangs or guns, but with more beats!

Dare I invite my friends to play co-op? Dare I expose them to this debilitating affair? The highs of hyper mode with no-doubt-seizure-inducing explosions of color and light, the lows of the aforementioned Nether HELL? Yes, yes, I say. Join me, compatriots, and we’ll battle the beats together or perish in an orgy of pixels. Bit.Trip Beat, you damned bloody game, I will best you yet.

Publisher: Aksys Games
Developer: Gaijin Games
System: Wii
Available: Now
Rating: E