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First Impressions: BIT.TRIP FATE

Posted by Corbie Dillard

We take the game for a spin in space

The folks at Gaijin Games have already brought us four amazing BIT.TRIP releases that take many of the classic arcade elements from days gone by and somehow make them relevant again with their unique music/rhythm gameplay twists. We've seen classic influences ranging from the original Pong all the way up to David Crane's legendary Pitfall. Now with their newest title BIT.TRIP FATE, they've once again ventured out into a new genre, but still somehow been able to keep the magic of the past releases in the series perfectly intact.

Leaving behind the platforming of BIT.TRIP RUNNER, BIT.TRIP FATE vaults our favorite hero CommanderVideo into an all out classic arcade shoot 'em up. Not only does he have a wide range of firepower at his disposal, but his enemies are packing some pretty impressive ammunition as well. You'll have to guide CommanderVideo along a rail, taking out enemies and collecting the plus sign hearts that they drop in order to ramp up your level and make it through to the boss fight at the end.

Since CommanderVideo is attached to the rail as he moves through each of the game's levels, you'll only be able to move him forward or backward along the rail by pressing left or right on the analog stick. Much like a bullet hell shooter, he'll move faster when he's not currently firing his weapon, but will move much more slowly and deliberately when you're holding down the fire button. This slower movement can make weaving in and out of heavy sprays of curtain fire much easier and more precise.

CommanderVideo also has plenty of firepower at his disposal. Using the Wii Remote places a targeting reticle on the screen that controls the direction CommanderVideo will fire his cannons. You can then use the Nunchuk to move him along the rail while using the Wii Remote to aim your cannon fire. Players looking for a more traditional control method can also use the Classic Controller. This allows you to move CommanderVideo along the rail using the left analog stick and fire his cannon in all directions by using the right analog stick. Both methods work equally well, so it will likely come down to personal preference as to which control method you choose.

As you move through each level, you'll face an almost endless barrage of enemies and their bullets coming at you. You'll have to carefully balance your cannon fire with those times when you'll need to lay off of the fire button in order to move along the rails more quickly to avoid the many bullets coming your way. For times when you find yourself getting a bit overwhelmed, the game will sometimes even toss you a little help in the form of a character power-up.

There are four types of power-ups in the game and the power-up icons constantly cycle through the four character types so you can generally choose which one you pick up if you time it correctly. Meat Boy will give your cannon fire a big upgrade and turns your bullets into huge beams that will take out any enemies and the firepower that gets in its path. Junior Melchkin adds four laser beams that are fairly powerful, but can be a bit difficult to hit targets with in a pinch. CommandgirlVideo basically makes your cannon fire in all directions and can be very useful for those times when the screen is blanketed with enemies. And last, but certainly not least, is Mr. Robotube. He gives your cannon a swirling type of firepower that covers a wide area and is fairly potent, something that comes in quite handy in taking out some of the stronger enemies in the game, especially if they're bunched together in close proximity to one another.

The levels are extremely long, so you'll have your hands full navigating your way through them. Even the early levels feature the trademark BIT.TRIP difficulty, so you're going to have to put some time in if you're going to beat them. If you're able to make it to the end of the level, a boss fight awaits you and this is where the challenge gets even more difficult. The bosses range from large stationary targets, to bosses that will move around the screen and must be avoided at all costs. You'll have to be quick on the rail, not to mention deadly accurate with your firepower if you're going to beat these bad boys and that's if you can find their weakness in time.

Gaijin Games have once again crafted an exotic visual and musical experience to wrap around yet another fantastic gameplay design. As solid and engaging as the platforming aspects were in RUNNER, the shooter mechanics of FATE are equally challenging and addictive. It's clear that the guys at Gaijin Games are in perfect tune with how to keep coming up with unique and interesting gameplay ideas to inject CommanderVideo into, and FATE carries on the tradition of simple, yet maddeningly enjoyable gaming experiences the BIT.TRIP series has become so famous for. If you love the BIT.TRIP series, this one should now be sitting atop your must-have list and if you're not a fan, this one might just change your mind.

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User Comments (50)

CorbsAdmin

#5

Corbs said:

There will be six games in all. So one more after FATE. :)

Philip_J_ReedStaff

#6

Philip_J_Reed said:

It's amazing how far this series has come.

It's even more amazing that there is not a single weak link in the entire chain. (Alright, I haven't played Fate yet, obviously, but come on! There's no way this one isn't going to be fantastic.) A solid run of five games (hopefully six) is more than almost any other series has to its credit.

Rock on, Gaijin Games. Seriously.

Kaeobais

#8

Kaeobais said:

So, how exactly does the music play into this game? Does the rail go along with the music, or do the enemies or the bullets or what?

Adam

#9

Adam said:

1) The levels are extremely long? By this do you mean like a Void-sized level (and if so, does that mean there are only three levels again?), or long like some of the longer Runner levels?

2) Do you die instantly like in Runner, or is it more like previous games with a Nether meter? Looks like there's a meter, but just want to be sure.

3) What's the music like? Is it more like Void in how you interact with it?

4) Is there multiplayer?

5) How long did you play before you realized it was your favorite?

6) Can I borrow your Wii? I... uhh, want to see something.

CorbsAdmin

#10

Corbs said:

1 & 2. Very long levels like the earlier BIT.TRIP games, but you're life is once again controlled with the meter that changes depending on your performance.

3. Music is like all the other BIT.TRIP games. Funky.

4. No

5. I played it for about 9 hours and RUNNER is still my favorite, but just barely. :D

6. See Answer #4

SilverBaretta

#12

SilverBaretta said:

Alright, sounds great! Tis series just keeps throwing quality releases out for us to etat up! I wonder if we'll see a BIT.TRIP Collection on a retail disc so the public that can't connect their Wii's to the internet can play this great series!

Odnetnin

#13

Odnetnin said:

Excellent preview, Corbie. Quick and to-the-point yet still detailed enough to give a good idea of how ridiculously awesome FATE's going to be.

1 & 2. Long levels are killer (in a good and bad way) in BEAT, but I thought the length of RUNNER's levels with a few glaring exceptions (1-11, 3-9, 3-10) was balanced perfectly. Time will tell if going back to the old way will bode well for my enjoyment of FATE. Glad the meter's there again fo' sho' though; it does wonders for level pacing.

3. Well duh. :P Loving the soundtrack so far, but I doubt it's gonna top Mermaid from the RUNNER credits.

4. Too soon to tell if that's good or bad.

5. RUNNER is my favorite game of all time, so it would be very hard to top. Anywhere close to it would be one of my top 5 games ever, which is more than enough.

6. You lucky BIT.TRIPPER. :D

Adam

#14

Adam said:

How many levels are there? From the trailer, we know at least four, and if they're the same length as Beat levels... that's awesome!

CorbsAdmin

#15

Corbs said:

I'm on #4 at the boss now. I'll let you know, but there seems to be more after this.

SuperMarioFan96

#16

SuperMarioFan96 said:

Great impressions Corbie! Now, you say the levels are as long as they were the earlier Bit.Trip games, but you commented somewhere else (don't remember where......) that "the difficulty really ramps up at level 4." The earlier Bit.Trips only had 3 levels..... how long is this game?

EDIT: Never mind, those last 2 comments weren't there yet when I started typing.

Now, I know the game isn't even out yet, but, where are they going to go after this? They only have 1 game left after this, but where are they going to take it?

thaantman

#18

thaantman said:

Games like this is why nintendo needs a demo service so we can get a taste before the game come out. We know it's possible, nintendo said it was successful in increasing sells so "Nintendo what is the problem"

moosa

#19

moosa said:

@Shadx I want to know as well. Can you answer this Corbie? Does the music tie into the gameplay somehow, or did they (oddly) decide to ditch that this time around?

CorbsAdmin

#20

Corbs said:

The music does tie in a bit, but it's not as clockwork as it was in past releases, mainly because destroying enemies isn't on a set tempo. Don't worry, it all works out in the overall audio package. :)

JackMack

#21

JackMack said:

I think I recall Gaijin saying the story would make a lot more sense in this one and we might get more of an idea of what ComanderVideo is doing. Without spoiling anything, is anything explained or expanded upon in this one?

BL_Donth

#22

BL_Donth said:

Awesome. Back for another round with CommanderVideo. This should be interesting.

skywake

#23

skywake said:

I have spent hours playing Geometry Wars on Wii so this is a definite must. If this controls anything like that then I'll have to get the classic-controller out again. Horray!

Comparisons with Geometry Wars end there though. This looks all sorts of harder and the bullet hell on rails will definitely make it interesting. By interesting I mean hard. :)

LuWiiGi

#26

LuWiiGi said:

Looks like they took 'on-rails' shooter quite literally. This looks awesome, but I hope there are plenty of checkpoints in the levels.

LuWiiGi

#28

LuWiiGi said:

So if you're 20 minutes into a level and you die, you go right back to the beginning of the level? Harsh. Thanks for the info Corbie.

Odnetnin

#31

Odnetnin said:

@SoulSilver+IV Well, no, not unless it was like VOID. :P

Also, CommanderVideo being more aggressive in this game and being even less in touch with the music than in RUNNER was already hinted at in an interview.

Adam

#32

Adam said:

LaWuigi, no Bit Trip level has ever been close to 20 minutes long. I've never timed them, but I think the levels are all (except for Runner's) 10-13 minutes, which isn't bad to restart, though it's perhaps pushing it. However, if you've enjoyed past Bit Trip games, then this should not be alarming. I enjoy replaying the levels, so it has never been a problem for me, and it's not like it's instant "death" as in Runner.

SuperMarioFan96

#34

SuperMarioFan96 said:

Have you made it past level 4 yet Corbie? If the levels are as long as Beat's (or any Bit.Trip before Runner) and there's more than 5 levels that would be awesome!

So, here's another question to speculate..... what was that original screenshot that they gave us supposed to be of..... it clearly has nothing to do with the gameplay...... OR DOES IT!??!?!?!!?!?!?!? SPECULATE!!!

Radbot42

#35

Radbot42 said:

that was a piece of art to help us think of what the game will be about not a screen shot. And it actually has a lot to do with the game. It has the rail and 2 worlds we will be playing

SuperMarioFan96

#36

SuperMarioFan96 said:

Well, yeah, screenshot wasn't the right word, I just didn't know what to call it. But not that I look at it more, I see that now. It even has the rail that Commander Video travels along (at least I think that's what that is).

Sneaker13

#38

Sneaker13 said:

Might be interesting. I like rail shooters and my Wii Zapper. But Runner was a bit of a disappointment (good, but I expected more).

pikku

#40

pikku said:

with this and Sin and Punishment, my interest in Rail shooters has spiked this year.

HipsterDashie

#42

HipsterDashie said:

Oh yeah, seems the soundtrack is now for sale! I'll wait until after buying the game first, though.

Odnetnin

#43

Odnetnin said:

@Adam Well some of them sure felt like at least 20 minutes. :D

@odd69 Good for you. If you like this, then be sure to try RUNNER and BEAT.

LittleIrves

#48

LittleIrves said:

@LuWiiGi: You beat me to the "on-rails" shooter reference. More game concepts should come from puns, especially if FATE turns out as freak-tastic awesome as it looks. Oh Gaijin....

WaveWarlock

#49

WaveWarlock said:

Won't be using the 'horrible' Wii Zapper..Yet I have a Nyko Perfect Shot, but using just the Wii Remote and Nunchuck seperately just seems so much more fitting.

jbrodack

#50

jbrodack said:

With the hit box that small its looking like this should be fairly manageable. Then again I've thought that about each new bit.trip game before they crushed my soul and laughed at me for attempting to beat them.

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