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Bit.Trip Saga

For: 3DS
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Time to take a trip

Product: Bit.Trip Saga | Publisher: Rising Star Games Limited | Developer: Gaijin Games | Format: 3DS | Genre: Music/ Rhythm | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
Bit.Trip Saga 3DS, thumbnail 1
Apart from a few notable releases, WiiWare is a bit of a disaster, with numerous developers claiming that they wouldn't touch it with a 40-foot barge pole attached to a keyboard.

That's not to say there hasn't been the occasional success story. The Bit.Trip rhythm series was lauded by all who played it, and no doubt dragged plenty of Wii users into the online store for the first time.

Now even more Nintendo gamers have the chance to bounce along to the beat, with a 3DS version that contains all six games in one tidy package.

Bit.Trip Saga faithfully recreates the Wii action, with brand new control schemes and psychedelic 3D visuals.

We be trippin'

Over six different mini-games you're asked to tap, move, and wiggle to a variety of gorgeous chiptune beats.

Each game is most definitely its own experience, with some great ideas on show along with some more average and easily forgettable toe-tappers.

Beat plays out like a game of Pong, with you batting blocks of sound back. Runner is what you'd get if you injected rhythm play into Canabalt. Void sees you collecting flying blocks and popping yourself to fit through tight gaps.

Flux rounds out the package, going back to the beginning with some more Pong action, but from a reverse angle. Core and Fate are less impressive, offering rather frustrating gameplay that's less entertaining than the rest of the titles.

A bit good

These mini-games on their own would be all well and good, but much of Bit.Trip Saga's appeal is in the way it's presented.

As you either successfully complete tasks or fail miserably in each game, the music and visuals change accordingly.

Do well and more layers are added to the music, offering stunning chiptune tracks as an incentive to keep it up. Meanwhile the visuals explode all over the screen.

On the flipside, do badly and the music will wind down and the visuals will thin out. For example, fail constantly during a game of Beat and the screen will go black and white with Atari-style sound effects, turning the game into an actual version of Pong.

The original Wii motion controls were spot-on, and the 3DS controls achieve the improbable task of bettering them with a combination of touchscreen and button inputs. It's the perfect transition from motion control to handheld.

One point to note, however, is that a couple of the games haven't been designed for left-handed people. There's no option to switch the D-pad over to the letter buttons, which is a shame and makes it awkward for people like, for example, Mike Rose.

Bit from column A, bit from column B

The Bit.Trip series is known for its extreme difficulty. The games are all rather tricky, and it will take you over a dozen hours to see them all through to the end.

There are also rather harsh checkpoints, adding to the difficulty. Some people won't mind these, but others will become rather frustrated.

Of course, the big addition to the handheld version of the series is the stereoscopic 3D. It looks fantastic, with some gorgeous depth to the flat, 2D sprites.

But there are problems. We found that in certain games - for example the Pong-like Beat - the visuals were a bit too much. After 15 mins of staring hard at flying blocks we needed to rest our eyes.

There's also some horrible slowdown during certain games. Turning off the 3D resolves this issue, but obviously this isn't the greatest compromise.

Even with these issues, Bit.Trip Saga's personality and addictive qualities shine through. If you haven't tried the Bit.Trip series before, now's a good time.
Bit.Trip Saga
Reviewer photo
Mike Rose | 22 September 2011
Bit.Trip Saga is a game you could crawl into and live inside of comfortably for a good few weeks
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