Part of the appeal of classic video games is how they convey the wonderment of discovery: a hidden treasure here, an alternate route there, a humorous Easter egg buried in the background.
"BIT.TRIP Presents Runner 2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien," the latest game from Santa Cruz-based studio Gaijin Games, captures this essence of games while also putting a musical spin on the tried-and-true platforming genre.
In the game, you navigate a constantly running character over, under and through a series of obstacles -- all
There will come a point while playing where you're not really listening to the "chiptune" music, or soaking in the game's 3-D, high-def graphics, or worrying about what move you have to make next. Instead, all of these elements blend together in a unified, singular experience.
The game's clever design also makes you want to keep playing. The initial levels teach the fundamentals of the game's mechanics, while later stages
Gaijin's signature humor shines through in the faux commercials -- spoken by Charles Martinet, who's best known as the voice of Mario -- interlaced between levels, and in the subtle backgrounds that populate the game's five worlds. Hidden warp zones take you to retro-inspired levels, replete with 8-bit graphics, three hearts representing your lives, and a running scoreboard.
While many modern games strive to emulate reality (and its violent underbelly), "Runner 2" is a relaxing, peaceful diversion and a refreshing reminder of the whimsy and magic possible in the medium.
Three and a half stars out of four.
Brian Pifer is the Sentinel's copy desk chief. Follow him on Twitter at Twitter.com/brian_pifer
At a glance
'BIT.TRIP Presents Runner 2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien'
WHAT: Rhythm-music platforming game
SYSTEMS: Steam for PC/Mac/Linux, PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade, Nintendo WiiU eShop
DEVELOPER: Santa Cruz-based Gaijin Games
PUBLISHER: Aksys Games