Weekly Game Music: Blackout City (Bit.Trip Runner)

Introducing the chiptune music introduced in Bit.Trip Runner, Blackout City, composed by Anamanaguchi. Granted, I’m cheating a bit this time around: the music was composed and performed by the indie rock band long before Bit.Trip Runner was released, but it’s still one of the finest composition that combines NES and Gameboy sounds, with a real guitar. Plus, both the game and the band needs better attention.

Bit.Trip Runner — winner of the Excellence in Visual Arts award in Independent Games Festival, 2011 — is the fourth game in the Bit.Trip series. It stars Video Commander, who escapes from Void (the previous game), joyfully running for freedom. During his victory strides, however, he encounters the first boss, Core, which seems rather displeased about meeting him. Seemingly unable to compromise with him, Commander tries to teach Core a lesson, making new friends along the way.

Bit.Trip Runner is best described as Guitar Hero, if it were a 2D platformer. Like the flash game, Canabult, Video Commander runs towards the right at a consistent speed. For any barriers and traps that the Commander encounters, he needs to either kick, block, spring, slide, or jump over the hazards. When you execute the right action at the right time, the game plays a musical note that blends in with the background music. Conversely, failure to avoid the danger returns the character back to the beginning of the course. Essentially, each stage in Bit.Trip Runner is like a series of note freights in Guitar Hero, represented as platforms, pits, destructible walls, and power-ups.

Bit.Trip Runner innovates at merging music with gameplay and graphics. It’s a bit difficult to describe, but the way the way the game congratulates you for playing well is extremely satisfying, while the penalty for making mistakes feels heavy, but not disheartening. The game makes you feel like you’re composing its music, and it’s quite impressive how it does this. In addition, the notes generated by each successful move are dynamic, meaning you can play compose a different music in the same stages.

Bit.Trip Runner was originally released for the Wii console via WiiWare. It’s also downloadable on PCs and Macs via Steam. Additionally, a physical copy for the entire series (including this game) is available for both the Wii and the 3DS, titled Bit.Trip Complete and Bit.Trip Saga respectively.


Title: Galaxy Tonite (DMG Version)
Game: Bit.Trip Void
Composer: Nullsleep

Title: Epiphany
Game: Bit.Trip Flux
Composer: Bit.Shifter


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