Review – Bit.Trip Beat for Mac
Imagine taking the classic video game Pong, combining it with elements from rhythm music games like Guitar Hero and Tap Tap Revenge, and then adding buckets of style. Although it doesn’t do the game justice, that’s the best description of Bit.Trip Beat I can come up with.
Created by Gaijin Games, the idea for Bit.Trip Beat came from one of the developer’s love of retro gaming, and that’s evident in both the look and sound of the game. As with the original Pong you have a rectangular paddle that can be moved up and down the screen with the aim of deflecting all of the beats (blocks) that come towards you, but it’s not as easy or as dull as that might sound. While some beats behave like a traditional ball, others bounce along the bottom, rotate in formation or pause in mid air.
Keep hitting the beats and both the music and the graphics crank up a notch – the developers describe the visuals as brain-melting and that’s a pretty accurate description! At times there is so much happening on the screen it’s a challenge to keep concentrating. Miss the beats too often and the gameplay literally becomes more retro, to the extreme where it feels like you might be playing the original black & white Pong!
The music in Bit.Trip Beat is a mixture between electronica & chiptune – synthesized music produced with the sound chips of old computer and video consoles. Not my preferred kind of music but it really draws you into the game and adds to the nostalgic vibe.
The first time I played Bit.Trip Beat I used the Apple Magic Trackpad, and although it worked really well at first I found that as the gameplay got more frantic it became harder to use, to the point where the trackpad was physically moving on the desk! So make sure you play it with a mouse – don’t even try to play it with a keyboard, you won’t be able to react quickly enough.
Bit.Trip Beat can be downloaded from the Mac App Store for £2.99 ($4.99). I think that’s a fair price when you take into account the amount of work that’s obviously gone into creating the game.
I’d definitely recommend Bit.Trip Beat to anyone with a fondness for retro gaming, or anyone who likes playing casual but challenging games.