BIT.TRIP RUN! by Gaijin Games icon

BIT.TRIP RUN! ($3.99) by Gaijin Games is a rhythm-music platforming game with a dash of endless runner. If you enjoy any of these genres, or played the original BIT.TRIP RUNNER, then this is right up your alley.

I played a bit of the original BIT.TRIP RUNNER on my Mac a while ago, and I loved it. The retro graphics were amazing, and the soundtrack was fantastic, and completely worth listening to. It was also one of the more challenging games I had, and I remember getting quite frustrated at myself for never being able to jump at just the exact right moment. But that’s what was so great about this game, and any other game that depends on your reflex skills. So when I heard that BIT.TRIP RUN! was a sequel to the first game and out in the App Store, I knew I had to check it out.

BIT.TRIP RUN! by Gaijin Games screenshot

While the original BIT.TRIP RUNNER had the vintage thing going on, BIT.TRIP RUN sports a much more modern look and feel to it. However, there are still some dashes of blocky pixels every now and then, so it’s not all gone. There are also some cinematic scenes that take place before you start playing, which explain what happens to Commandervideo and his friends, that are well-drawn and fluid, complete with captivating narration.

Since this is a rhythm-based platforming game, you will definitely want the sound on for this, or at least use a good pair of earbuds for the best experience. The soundtrack is whimsical, quirky, and very upbeat. As you play, you will hear the music change according to your actions, which is pretty cool. The music is part of the package here, and it definitely won’t be as enjoyable without it.

The controls are pretty easy, but they do have some quirks that I’ll get to in a minute. First, Commandervideo will run automatically, but you’ll have to help him navigate his way past the platforms and obstacles that are in front of him. Tap on the screen to jump, and hold that tap to glide for a longer jump. In addition, you can swipe to the right to kick, down to slide, and left to dance. You’ll want to collect the gold pieces to spend in the shop for more characters and costumes. Since the levels can be a bit long, there are checkpoints scattered throughout, so if you die, you will start again from the last checkpoint you reached.

BIT.TRIP RUN! by Gaijin Games screenshot

While the controls are easy enough, I seem to have been experiencing a bit of latency between when I actually tap the screen to jump and when Commandervideo does the action. This is really annoying, especially for a game that is about reflexes and timing. I’ve been repeatedly dying at the same exact spot multiple times because even though I tap on the screen to jump, it does not register right away. This lag is very irritating, and is making the game more frustrating than it should be. I’m also not the only one experiencing this issue (on an iPhone 5s for what it’s worth), as there are others who mention it in the iTunes reviews.

The game will be split into three beautiful worlds for players to explore, and there are a wide variety of levels. There are also different types of levels that are available, including 30 normal, 12 challenge, and 15 retro. In addition to these normal levels, there are three boss battles for you to face, if you can reach them.

While the game does say that there is Game Center, I don’t see any leaderboards or achievements at the moment. I really hope that they at least add achievements, because I can see a bunch being possible for this game. It’s just a bit confusing why they list it as having Game Center when it doesn’t really do much in this game right now.

Despite the control flaws and missing Game Center stuff, I am really enjoying the game. It’s beautiful to look at, the music is great, and the potential to have a great platformer runner is here. I just hope that Gaijin optimize the controls in the next update, because it’s the biggest issue I have with the game at the moment. But once that’s fixed, I have a feeling it will be fantastic.

I recommend checking out BIT.TRIP RUN! if you are a fan of the original BIT.TRIP RUNNER or just enjoy music, platformer, and runner games in general. You can grab BIT.TRIP RUN! in the App Store as a universal download for $3.99.