Game Review


USA USA Version

Posted by Corbie Dillard

You can't fight fate

If we've learned anything from the BIT.TRIP series, it's that you don't need a lot of flashy visuals or complicated mechanics to make a great game. The unique combination of old school arcade elements blended together with a host of musical rhythm overtones have given the series a look and feel all its own and made the titles some of the best on WiiWare. Now with the release of their fifth instalment, BIT.TRIP FATE, they've pulled their rectangular protagonist out of his previous platforming adventure and shot him straight into a good old-fashioned arcade shoot 'em up.

For the most part, BIT.TRIP FATE plays out like a standard horizontal arcade shooter. Your goal is to navigate CommanderVideo through each of the levels, taking out enemies and collecting power-ups to ultimately defeat the boss at the end of each stage. And while you'll be able to fire off your cannon in any direction, you'll find yourself attached to a rail that limits your range of motion and forces you to plan out your movements a bit more carefully. You'll only be able to move him forward or backward along the rail by pressing left or right on the analogue stick. Much like a bullet hell shooter, he'll move faster when he's not currently firing his weapon, but will manoeuvre 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.

There are several ways you can choose to control the action that include utilising the Wii Remote/ Nunchuk combination or the Classic Controller. Using the former scheme will place a targeting reticule on the screen that determines which direction CommanderVideo will fire his cannon; you'll then use the Nunchuk to move him along the rail. You can even pop the Remote into the Zapper accessory for a more authentic shooting experience. If you're looking for a more traditional method, you'll also be able to use the Classic Controller. This will allow you to move CommanderVideo along the rail using the left analogue stick and to control the direction of your cannon fire using the right analogue stick. Both methods have their own pros and cons, so it will mainly come down to personal preference as to which you'll prefer to use.

As you make your way through each level, you'll face an almost endless barrage of enemies and their bullets coming your way. You'll have to carefully balance your cannon fire with laying off the button to move along the rails more quickly and avoid the many enemies and bullets coming your way. For times when you find yourself getting a bit overwhelmed, the game will sometimes toss you a little help in the form of a character power-up. Each of the four of these offers a different type of powerful cannon fire upgrade that will last for a short period of time and can be rather helpful against some of the more menacing enemies you'll encounter.

The extremely long levels of the earlier BIT.TRIP releases make a return in FATE, and you'll soon find that you're going to have to keep your wits about you to make it through some of the later levels. The boss fights at the end of them can be rather challenging with their tricky patterns of curtain fire, especially considering your limited range of movements on the rail. And, to make matters worse, if you're not able to defeat the boss, you'll find yourself starting the entire level over again due to the game's lack of checkpoints. You'll certainly have to put in some serious time if you're going to have any hope of actually beating the game.

The controls themselves are plenty responsive, but given the occasional vertical movements of the rail, it can sometimes be a bit difficult to remember to press LEFT or RIGHT rather than UP or DOWN to move vertically. It doesn't take away from the experience, rather it just takes some getting used to as you become more familiar with the game. All the tools you need are there, you'll just have to put in the practise to figure out how to get the most out of them.

FATE doesn't stray too far from the BIT.TRIP visual formula, and it borrows heavily from past releases going back as far as the original BEAT. It's not nearly as visually flashy as RUNNER, but it shows some really subtle background elements that blend in beautifully with the spacious feel of which the game makes use. The enemies themselves remain quite simple in design, but you'll be treated to some rather enormous and oddly-constructed bosses to keep things interesting. As with earlier releases in the series, the quality of visual splash you'll see depends heavily on what level to which you're currently ramped up.

Since music and sound effects play such an integral role in the BIT.TRIP series, you can't help but have high expectations when it comes to the game's audio presentation, and FATE doesn't disappoint. There are some extremely catchy tracks, and while some of them are a bit more subtle than we've come to expect from the series, they're every bit as integral to the overall mood of the levels. The usual assortment of old-school sound effects abounds throughout the game and does its usual stand-up job of blending in perfectly with the various musical pieces playing in the background of each level.


There's absolutely no denying that BIT.TRIP FATE is a radical departure from the platforming romp of the previous release, BIT.TRIP RUNNER, but gamers who put in the time to come to grips with the slightly more in-depth controls will likely find it every bit as engaging. BIT.TRIP FATE is a perfect example of how Gaijin Games continues to find unique ways to inject new life into the series without losing that simple yet wildly playable charm for which the series has become so famous. It might not be quite as difficult to put down as RUNNER was, but it's close. Of course, it's also another step closer to the end of an absolutely outstanding series of games.

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User Comments (87)



MrB4 said:

No hesitation here, definitely going to pick this one up.



Odnetnin said:

Corbie how many blocks does this take up can you tell me pretty please before 9 A.M. PST?



CrazyOtto said:

Shame there's only one left after this one. I hope this series goes out with a bang!



Odnetnin said:

I would plan on it, Clinker. Gaijin picked the best six ideas they had before even starting the series, and I'm guessing they would save the best for last.



wanderlustwarrior said:

@8: As the review and previous comments say, there is one more game left.

That was a really quick review. How'd you do it so fast?



wanderlustwarrior said:

@13: I'm glad I wasn't the only one who though that.

in my mind, the frontrunners are either BIT.TRIP BANG or BIT.TRIP DEATH or BIT.TRIP END



Odnetnin said:

Someone on Facebook said BIT.TRIP LOVE. Personally that would be awesome, especially if it came out near Valentine's Day.



invmat said:

How many levels/tracks does this game have?
(Not that it matters that much, this is an instant download on Friday)



Odnetnin said:

I don't want to spoil it, personally. But looking at the soundtrack here might help a bit if you're familiar with this trippy series.



imapterodactyl said:

Great review, but:

"If we've learned anything from the BIT.TRIP series, it's that you don't need a lot of flashy visuals or complicated mechanics to make a great game."

.... the Bit.Trip games are LOADED with flashy visuals.

Also, the control options sound almost exactly like those of Geometry Wars Galaxies, except for the limited control of Commander Video.

I think I'll pick this up later today.



irken004 said:

Idk... I know that it's a quality game, but they're always TOO TOUGH! I'll have to try beating Beat and Runner before I add to the Bit Trip collection I have.



bro2dragons said:

i can't wait to get this game. but first, i can't wait to buy a points card so i can get this game. but first, i can't wait to get some cash so i can buy a points card so i can get this game.



wanderlustwarrior said:

to be honest, I haven't finished any of the games yet. I've gotten halfway through the third part of BEAT and RUNNER, but I'm still deep in the second levels of CORE and VOID.



theblackdragon said:

@Oddy: okay, okay, we get it, you're excited lol. plz to take your excitement to chat and let people who are actually going to talk about the review leave their comments in peace. :3



Odnetnin said:

BUT...BUT...okay. Anyway nice review Corbie and I agree that it's not as good as RUNNER so far.



worrybomb said:

Downloading this sucka right now. I've been a fan of CommanderVideo ever since BEAT hit the scene. Man, it's great to see Gaijin Games tackling the shmup genre and to have Minusbaby provide the soundtrack is just icing on the cake.

Also, has anyone gotten the loading screen when d/ling a game with Mario and Luigi swimming, collecting coins and jumping under the coin blocks? It's the first I have ever seen it. Then again, haven't downloaded a game from Wii Shop in a long while.



invmat said:

@worrybomb: That loading screen is very rare! There are 6 different loading screens and that one is ultra rare. I downloaded games about 100 times (including re-downloads) and I only got it once.



ukiby3000 said:

Totally downloading this when I have the time (and my Internet isn't CRAP). Even though... I'm totally running out of space in my Wii and my Memory Stick haha

Also, man, I've never seen that loading screen, ever! Now I want to D=



ukiby3000 said:

@Odnetin : You have all of them too??? Sweet! I still didn't finish any (no time >.<) but I'm working on finishing Runner first, which is my favorite. I also like Void a lot <3



JebbyDeringer said:

I find the Bit Trip series slightly overrated. They are solid, they are original, I like the retro feel, the sound is quite good, I'm just not blown away. I have yet to play Runner & this one but they both look quite good and they look more interesting to me. I'll probably pick up both.



invmat said:

I have them all except for Core (I hate constantly using the Wii remote's D-pad) and I also didn't finish any of them yet xD.



worrybomb said:

@invmat: That's pretty cool. I didn't know there were 4 other loading screens I haven't seen. I was d/ling FATE and I just noticed Mario and Luigi swimming around. It makes me want to d/l more games but with 1300 Points left, I'll just wait and see if there are any more games down the pipeline I would want.



WaveGhoul said:

I've only Played Runner and actually managed to beat it without tossing my Wii remote into the TV screen.lol And again the first 2 worlds were fantastic, while the 3rd totaly lost my interest..The setting and music were the main reason for that.

Anyhoo! I'll definitly be getting Fate! Not to mention Sonic 4.



Odnetnin said:

Zone 3: Triumph, was my favorite of them all, WaveBoy.

FATE gets my vote for hardest BIT.TRIP game yet! Did you beat it Corbie.



allikami said:

ive bought every previous bit. trip game and beat all of them...so im def. getting this one today



wanderlustwarrior said:

so I've beaten the first level of fate, and it seems...

It seems so far to be a lot freer and a lot less rhythmic. It's nice and great and all, but it doesn't seem to fit as much as 1,2 and 4 did. Void had a similar problem to me. But maybe I just haven't gotten far enough in either.

BEAT and RUNNER are my favorite in the series so far. I've gotten farthest in them, I prefer their mechanics, and I think they have the best music.



EdEN said:

Still stuck on the last level on Bit.Trip.Bit so until I finish that I won't be getting the next game in the series and so on.



SuperMarioFan96 said:

Just finished downloading, came here to check out DSiWare releases and find a review of this up already? Sweet.

But waaaaaaaaat? No 10?!
Yes I know I haven't played it yet....
Regardless, great review, and I need to play this noooooow!



Sneaker13 said:

I don't get it. Do you control CommanderVideo or the crosshair? And do you control the character or the crosshair on rail? I don't get it.

Never got into the Bit serie and Runner was a letdown for me. So I'm a little wary for this game.



CanisWolfred said:


This game Should've been called Bit.Trip BANG considering the shooter aspects, but whatever.

Anyways, I'm still good with Runner. I'll pick it and the final game up when I've actually finished all the other Bit.Trip games I own.



Odnetnin said:

Liking it better now that I beat level 1. It's way better than VOID now for me. Maybe even CORE too. Anyway, usually the farther I get the more I like BIT.TRIPs.



Odnetnin said:

@ukiby3000 RUNNER is my favorite too but VOID is actually my least right now. FATE has proved itself to be somewhere in the middle of the series so far.



Odnetnin said:

@Machu Hey, you're a RUNNER hater, so us fans deserve it first.

Also, Corbie, you're right: I can't fight fate, but I can sure as heck try!



TheBaconator said:

I suck at Bit.Trip games and shmups, so this game will probably cause me to smash my head through my wall.



CanisWolfred said:

I just finished watching it it on the Backloggery Stream. I won't be buying. I like shooters, but that looked awful.



Paperclip said:

Fate is amazing so far. Giga mode makes you feel so awesome.

But it bugs me how you don't talk about the story in the review :C



Corbs said:

I don't like to talk about storyline much as it's there for the player to discover and experience. I never liked it when reviewers gave away story elements so I make it a point to try not to.



moosa said:

Corbie, what exactly do you have to do in order to secure all the best reviews for yourself here?



DSiHoney said:

I want it NAO

I kinda wished it wouldn't be that good, so I don't miss CommanderVideo...



HipsterDashie said:

@ Corbie

Not to mention us poor souls in the EU don't get to discover CV's FATE for a while yet. No spoilers ftw.



LuWiiGi said:

I'll get this when I get a Wii, but the lack of checkpoints is a bit of a turn-off. I like difficult games but surely it must be really frustrating to have to go back to the beginning of a level after dying right at the end.



BlueBandanaJake said:


Im betting the last one will be FINAL!
...if that doesnt turn out to be the name of the game, Bit.Trip FINAL.
FATE has been really great so far, just like the rest have been (all of which are unbeaten, but not unloved, on my SD Card Menu). Great review!



Crazygamerfreak said:

I want it... I want it... I WANT IT NOW!!!
Good review Corbie, now all that I need is points to get Fate and I will have the current four out of the six that are supposed to come. Based on how these Bit Trip games came only excites me more about what might happen next that will make the next game even better.



Odnetnin said:

@Corbie Thanks for not spoiling the game's messages. That's the transcendental thing about the BIT.TRIP games for me. If you don't discover those on your own, you're missing out.



RantingThespian said:

I prefer this one to Runner, actually. I adore good scrolling shooters, and this is just perfect! 10/10 for me!



Paperclip said:

I understand not wanting to spoil the story, but mentioning that there is one for newcomers would be nice. People might think that this is just some retro game with a story as deep as a platforming Mario game.

(no offense to Mario, but story telling isn't his strong point)



Corbs said:

Almost every game in existence has some type of story playing out to some extent. And while there are a few interesting story elements taking place throughout the game, I've wouldn't say that they go beyond most of the plotlines found in the various Mario titles.



MikeyMikeMike said:


10. MikeyMikeMike United States 27 Oct 2010, 04:40 BST

Great game! If you took Geometry Wars Galaxies, turned it into a forced scrolling shooter & then added a rail, this is roughly what you'd get. The rail is the unique element and a clever one at that. Beautiful graphics, music which I like better than any of the previous releases (not that those were bad), and the layering based on how your doing is still a wonderful idea. The only criticism I can lay on this game is that it's short, with length based on difficulty and replay-ability (it has taken me a day to beat more than half the game). On the other hand I'd rather replay these six than have them so hard I'd wonder if I'd ever see the last level (Bit Trip. Core please stand up).

Either way big thumbs up...it's nice to see there's a reviewer on here who's recommendations I can almost always rely on.

A difficulty option would be nice...I can handle a tough game, but that fact that whether your playing Beat, Void or Core with 1 or 4 players offers you exactly the same level of challenge makes even the second of only three levels in each of these feel frustratingly hard for a single player. Fate is notably easier than any of these though...



Paperclip said:

Pff, the plot is stronger than any Mario title. Any story that has me really feel for the main character has definitely accomplished something.



SuperMarioFan96 said:

Agree with Starcross. If you check the forums, this game is pretty much being dissected by everyone. Including me. So yeah.



Gamebits said:

How does the music integrate into the gameplay, other than being "integral to the overall mood of the levels"?



theblackdragon said:

@Kenji: enemies will stop in their tracks as you defeat them, but will not turn into cores for you to collect until the beat hits.



MikeyMikeMike said:

Killing enemies even the same enemies at different parts of the level makes sounds of different notes to fit the spot on the track where you are (same sound different octave).



GamerforGod said:

@WorryBomb: Yeah, I got the Mario and Luigi swimming screen ONE time. It was right after my Wii got back from being repaired by Nintendo, and I had to re-download all of my Wii Shop Channel games (which is about 60 games)!!!! Fun times!!!! lol

@invmat: What exactly are the six loading screens? I know there's little Mario, big Mario, Fire Mario, and I think there may be a Luigi version of those too. Is that right, or am I forgetting something?



Nintenzo said:

I downloaded this, then sat down to play it, and I found out the right Analog Stick on my Classic Controller Pro is broken.



MrB4 said:

Just played the demo of Fate, and it will definitely be one of my next Wiiware games to play, as soon as I can get enough points to do so.



niggyt2004 said:

i find this the weakest link in the series, am i missing something here? its the worst one

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