Let's cut to the chase here real quick. BIT.TRIP presents Runner 2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien is the first to actually have a title long enough to force it into two lines of the title block of text. And as is par for the course, the longer and goofier the name, the more interesting, unusual, unique and awesome the game usually is. I say "usually" to prevent any angry emails about games with ridiculously long titles that simply had more letters in it than it did good parts of the game.
Anyway, now that we got that out of the way...
I wasn't originally planning on playing this game. To be totally honest, this game wasn't even on my radar until today. It got some amazing reviews, and while I haven't gotten into the BIT.TRIP series before, I figured this game was going to be an awesome starting point. When I say "figured," what I really mean is "really, really hope." Either way, however, I was not dissapointed in the least. Runner 2 is slated to come out on PS3 next week, my console of choice because of trophies, but I saw it on the Wii U today, and since there isn't any actual retail games on the Wii U anywhere in sight, I feel like I'm pulling the trigger more care-free on these eShop games. I haven't made a regrettable decision yet, so that's a plus.
I was playing another game tonight, which I originally planned on writing about, buy because of the depth of it and how much I was enjoying it, I want to soak a little more in before I give my impressions on it. So be ready for that! That's what we in the industry call a "teaser" my friends.
Anyway, Runner 2 ... where to even begin? Well, for starters, this might be one of the only games I've played for this stupid blog thus far that my beautiful, yet non-gaming better half, has actually watched me play for an extended period of time. Granted, she was waiting for a cake to finish baking for her work tomorrow, but still. I'll take any time I can get with her while playing games. And surprisingly, she was actually getting into it.
When I started it up, she gave me the "What in the hell are you playing?" look, that I normally get, especially with these little quirky downloadable titles. Once I started playing the first level, she made some remark about how "all I was doing was running and jumping." Yes, it was that simple. I knew the game got harder, but they at least gave me a couple levels right off the bat to get used to the idea of running without controlling the character, and jumping effectively over anything in my way and collecting piles of gold and red plus signs along the way. On the second level, when I completed it, I realized I had missed one measly pile of gold, thus prompting me to go back and play the level all over again. She questions why I was doing it, only realizing shortly thereafter that I have an OCD collecting problem in gaming. No way could I go on to the next level while leaving the previous level technically unfinished to the fullest extent.
By the fourth level, the difficulty started increasing. Sure, the levels got faster, more cluttered with bad guys and required more precise movements, but that's not the main factor for the game getting substantially harder. No, that happened because the game started to make you use more buttons and movements, like sliding, kicking walls and jumping off jump pads. It sounds stupid, and quite frankly, it is. Two buttons and two different joystick movements, and I was freaking out like I was trying to solve a calculus equation with an abacus. I can play a game like Halo and use every single button on the controller, then turn around and play a combo-heavy game like DmC on a different system with a different controller and obviously a totally different button scheme with no problems at all. But then I play a game where I don't even move the character forward, with four buttons to worry about, and it's a disaster.
Sure, the game is whizzing by at lightning speeds. Sure, absolutely exactly precise moves are the the key to victory, and the slightest mistake sends you crashing. Sure, the background, while gorgeous, is flat out distracting. But that's no excuse. I've been gaming for 25 years. I am better than this game makes me feel, damn it. At least, I think I am.
I guess I can also chalk it up to being extremely tired. But I kept playing and playing, despite having a hard time keeping my eyes open, as it was that addictive to obtain perfect runs through each level. Oh, and the sound. THE SOUND, PEOPLE! Every time you jump over an enemy or collect an item, another note to the soundtrack plays, giving you a full, amazing soundtrack for each perfect run you have. I even gave it shot with headphones, and the sound was breathtaking.
I just wish I could have enjoyed it more, as the frustration was growing with every crash.
Another conversation I had with my lady was about the fireballs, and how I needed to slide under the first one I came across instead of trying to jump over it. She recalled Bowser's fireballs and the bullet bills in the original Mario Bros. game being the same way, where there were always those ones that you couldn't quite tell to jump or duck, and usually, you got it wrong anyway. For someone not interested in gaming to pull that reference out ... wow, my heart was sent aflutter all over again.
Anyway, I have a long way to go in this game, and while I plan on making it, I'm just glad I have a protective shield on my Wii U GamePad, as I can only presume the game is going to get a lot, lot harder. But the harder it is, the more rewarding those perfect runs will be, I figure.
Again, when I say "I figure," what I'm really saying is "God I really hope so, for my own sanity's sake."
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Games played for project : 365