Feature: BIT.TRIP SAGA vs. BIT.TRIP COMPLETE

We'll help you decide

When Gaijin Games released its first BIT.TRIP title BIT.TRIP BEAT back in 2009, the game took many players by surprise not only with its unique musical and visual presentation, but also with its extremely addictive gameplay. And as beloved as BEAT would become, the series would only get more interesting as each new release took gamers further along into CommanderVideo's bizarre journey.

Now here we are, two and a half years later and the series of six games is finally complete. But Gaijin Games wasn't satisfied with its collection of WiiWare hits and decided to up the ante a bit with not one, but two new BIT.TRIP retail collections: BIT.TRIP COMPLETE for Wii and BIT.TRIP SAGA for 3DS. Now fans can not only have all six BIT.TRIP games on one Wii disc, but they also have a collection of the titles that they can take with them on the go.

So what exactly do these two new titles have to offer and is there enough new content to make them worth the money, even for gamers who already own the WiiWare originals? And for those of you trying to decide which of the two to get, could there be enough incentive to warrant ponying up for both releases?

Thankfully the guys at Gaijin Games were kind enough to send over preview builds of both titles and allow us the opportunity to take them for a spin recently so we can give you a rundown of what both collections have to offer to help you make up your mind.

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The first question most people are likely to ask about BIT.TRIP COMPLETE is whether or not the game is worth the $40 price tag for those who already own some or all of the WiiWare originals. While the basic games are the same as those available to download, that's where the brand new batch of challenges comes into play.

Not only will you be able to play through all six of these great BIT.TRIP releases on the COMPLETE disc, but you're also getting 20 brand new challenges to tackle as well. And let it be known that these challenges are not for the faint of heart, as they basically pick up where the regular games leave off and only get more difficult as you progress through them. You also have to perfect the challenge from top to bottom in order to successfully complete it, something that will take many tries and a level of profanity that would likely make Chris Rock blush.

To add even more bulk to the package, Gaijin Games has also tossed in a wealth of conceptual artwork, videos, audio tracks and a letter for each game written specifically for the collection by series creator Alex Neuse. You're also getting worldwide online leaderboards so you can shoot for the top score on individual levels from all six games. So there's certainly no shortage of content on the COMPLETE disc and it provides the ultimate BIT.TRIP experience for fans of the series to enjoy.

PROS

  • All six BIT.TRIP games on one disc
  • 120 brand new challenges (20 per game)
  • Unlockable artwork, videos, and music tracks
  • Letters from series director Alex Neuse for each game
  • Bonus 18-song soundtrack included
  • New difficulty settings - Easy, Normal (Original difficulty), and Hard
  • Online leaderboards

CONS

  • Challenges might frustrate less-seasoned players
  • Most new content must be unlocked

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While BIT.TRIP SAGA doesn't come with all of the brand new challenges seen in COMPLETE, there's still a lot to be said for the collection. Not only are you getting all of the BIT.TRIP titles in one package, but you're getting them in a full 3D presentation and can now take them with you wherever you go. And you'll be surprised at just how much the 3D depth adds to the experience: not only does it really bring the games to life, it also makes it much easier on the eyes when it comes to differentiating between what's off in the background and what elements are actually in the field of play.

As if all of this weren't enough to get excited about, several of the game's also offer brand new play control schemes to liven things up a bit. While there are no tilt controls, the touchscreen controls of BIT.TRIP BEAT, BIT.TRIP FLUX, and BIT.TRIP FATE all add a nice new layer of playability to the experience that really does a great job of providing the precision needed for the challenges they offer. Of course if you're really feeling brave, you can also try using the Circle Pad for BEAT and FLUX, although we certainly don't recommend it.

The look and sounds of the games have all remained intact from their WiiWare brethren, but these games look absolutely fantastic on the smaller screen of the 3DS. Even turning the 3D effect completely off does little to detract from the vivid visual display you'll witness from each title. And this is definitely a game you'll want to plug in the headphones for if you're looking to experience all the package has to offer from an audio standpoint. (If you pre-order BIT.TRIP SAGA from gamestop.com, you get a free bonus 18-song soundtrack with special slip cover)

PROS

  • All six BIT.TRIP games on one cartridge
  • Full 3D visual presentation
  • Portability
  • New control schemes for several games

CONS

  • No additional challenges or content
  • Basically the same games as available on WiiWare
  • No online leader boards

And the winner is...

In the end, it's going to be a tough call if you're someone who's planning to pick up only one of these brilliant packages. Both have a lot to offer, even to those who've already experienced the games via WiiWare. The new challenges of COMPLETE are almost like getting sequels to each of the games and will challenge even the most seasoned gamers. Of course, being able to experience the games in 3D and take them with you on your 3DS is a fairly enticing prospect as well.

The bottom line is that if you're looking for sheer bang for your buck, the 120 new challenges, which include a wealth of brand new levels, add so much value to an already solid line-up of games that it would be impossible not to choose BIT.TRIP COMPLETE over the 3D presentation and portability BIT.TRIP SAGA has to offer. In the end it will most likely come down to personal preference as to which features are more important to you individually. Luckily you really can't go wrong with either release and if you have the means to get both, don't hesitate to do so.

We'd like to thank the folks at Gaijin Games and Aksys Games for allowing us the opportunity to take both of these games for a spin.