Review: BIT.TRIP Presents… Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien (PS4/PSV/PSTV)

runner2-ps4-psv-review-banner-yr10

Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4
  • PlayStation 3
  • PlayStation Vita

Extras:

  • PlayStation TV Compatible Yes
  • Cross-Buy Yes*
  • Cross-Save No
  • Cross-Play No
  • Cross-Chat No

* PS4 & PSV only

Title: BIT.TRIP Presents… Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien
Format: PlayStation Network Download (PS4 983.5 MB) (PSV 525 MB)
Release Date: February 26, 2016 (PS4), December 17, 2013 (PSV)
Publisher: Choice Provisions / Gaijin Games
Developer: Choice Provisions
Original MSRP: $9.99 (US), €9.99 (EU), £7.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: T
PEGI: 7
BIT.TRIP Presents… Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien is also available on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii U, PC, Mac, Linux, and iOS.
The PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita download versions were used for this review.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

I seem to get all the games with the strange names and BIT.TRIP Presents… Runner2: Future Legend Rhythm Alien is no exception. I only hope Choice Provisions and Gaijin Games do not release a Remastered Definitive Edition later on down the line.

Gameplay:
Right from the off you will notice Runner2 is very unique, from its absurd and zany introductory advertisement that paves the way for the humor and oddities that you will encounter throughout the long adventure. With three difficulty levels accessible at any time from the stage select screen and an assortment of collectibles to find, you will have plenty to keep you going.

Having watched the trailer a week or so before getting the game for review I was initially put-off by the look and complexity of it. Once I had a few levels under my belt it was a completely different story.

You only have to worry about learning a new move every so often and never feel frustrated by the level layouts. The developers at Choice Provisions have found an almost perfect balance with guiding a novice or skilled played through the game and the learning curve is spot on.

… zany outfits and other characters …
Runner2 is all about those perfect runs: collecting every piece of gold, finding the secret treasure chests and classic 8-Bit levels hidden in devious areas that you usually only spot as your bizarre character has already run by.

If you are skilled enough to collect every item on a level, you get a chance to fire your hapless hero out of a cannon. Landing in the bullseye means a nice little plus sign on the exclamation point that signifies a perfect run.

runner2-ps4-scr-08 runner2-ps4-scr-02

Each difficulty has an exclamation point and acquiring all three for each level and the plus signs will take some doing. Then there are the keys and chests that unlock zany outfits and other characters. It baffles the mind that this mammoth game did not meet the requirements for a Platinum Trophy.

Playing on both the Vita and PlayStation 4 feels great, the controls are just right. I assumed the smaller screen on the Vita would be a hindrance but never noticed any issues.

The fact that Runner2 is Cross-Buy makes it even more appealing. However, there is no Cross-Save so your progress does not carry over. Not really an issue as I have enjoyed playing it all through on both systems.

CROSS-BUY NOTE:
There is a PlayStation 3 version of the game but it is not part of the Cross-Buy for the PlayStation 4 and Vita consoles, if you wish to own that version, you have to buy it separately.

I did get annoyed with one part of the game and it was partly my fault. A boss battle kept getting the better of me and I continually failed, so much that I had to turn the game off and walk away.

Eventually, I methodically went through each one of the moves my character had learned and I stumbled upon the right one. I later noticed that the game does inform you of the required move but it flashes up so fast, I struggled to notice it.

runner2-psv-scr-08 runner2-psv-scr-05

Infinite checkpoints help dissipate the feelings of anger and frustration that inevitably build when playing these kinds of games. Every mistake is of my own doing and I never get angry at the game for being unfair like a few others I have played in the past.

A small word of warning, in the retro 8-Bit hidden levels you only get three lives so it can be more stressful but it looks funky. Speaking of looks…

… unquestionably bonkers …
Visuals:
Runner2 on the Vita is just as smooth and fast as the PlayStation 4 version, minus a few flourishes here and there but the differences are negligible. In some ways the lack of a few minuscule particle effects helps to give the Vita version a greater sense of clarity and therefore it becomes slightly easier.

The graphical style is big, bold, and crazy. Your characters are unquestionably bonkers and quite different to anything you have encountered in a game, your dreams, or that one crazy night where went camping in the woodlands and ate those shrooms.

I will refrain from spoiling any of the oddball characters or outfits that you collect on your adventure but I can assure you they are hilarious.

runner2-ps4-scr-01 runner2-ps4-scr-05

It isn’t just the inhabitants that look absurd, it is also the Bizarro-Mario themed worlds too, complete with eccentric monocle-wearing oblong hills and bouncing trees that groove to the music, the backgrounds are completely loopy. Yet the gentle groovy goings-on in the scenery are subtle enough that it does not distract from the crazy frantic gameplay.

Audio:
The first thing you hear aside from the beginnings of a wonderfully charming musical score is the voice of Charles Martinet, an American actor and voice actor. You might not know his face from the films and TV series that he appeared in but you will recognize one of his legendary voices as it’s probably the most well-known video game character voice of all-time, Mario.

… addictive and utterly crazy …
A noticeable part of the game is the exciting and very fitting music. In addition, with most of the items, your dancing character collects a note that melds into the accompanying beat. It works very well and makes you feel more in tune with the level, pun intended.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is singleplayer only but does feature leaderboards for each and every level and your friends scores are displayed just before the level begins.

runner2-psv-scr-01 runner2-ps4-scr-11

Conclusion:
There is hardly anything wrong with this addictive and utterly crazy game. From the moment the utterly bizarre advertisement pops up and Charles Martinet’s voice flows through the speakers you know you are in for a crazy and delightful experience.

There is so much to keep you entertained with this Cross-Buy title and the desire to play it through twice is an easy choice to make. BIT.TRIP Presents… Runner2: Future Legend Rhythm Alien is mad fun for the whole family and I cannot recommend it enough.

Score:
9.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Vita’s built-in screen capture feature and the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

PS Vita Screenshots

PS4 Screenshots

Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook