Review: Bit.Trip Saga

Review: Bit.Trip Saga

The Bit.Trip series of rhythm-based games were amazing fun on the Wii, and perhaps one of the only successful sellers in the WiiWare lineup. Developer Gaijin Games did an absolutely awesome job keeping the six games simple, increasingly difficult, and incredibly addictive, and although some of the games were better than others, none of them were even close to being mediocre.

Now, they’ve brought that collection of modern classics onto the 3DS with a 3D sheen, and I have to say, it’s most certainly a success.

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If you’re a fan of the series already, you know how great all of the games are, but for those new to these rhythm games, here’s a quick recap. Bit.Trip Beat is a paddle-based game similar to Pong; Bit.Trip Core is a rhythmic take on Asteroids; Bit.Trip Void is a very simplistic music-based Ikaruga, kind of; Bit.Trip Runner is Gaijin’s go at Canabalt; Bit.Trip Fate is an on-rails shmup; and Bit.Trip Flux is like a mirrored, much more difficult version of Beat.

There’s great variety in all the games, and none of them fail to entertain. I have favorites (Runner) and least favorites (Fate), but each and every one of them are solid, satisfyingly difficult games that rely on your own skill to complete.

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Commander Video’s adventures are expertly chronicled in this collection; each of the games have been impressively ported to the handheld hardware very well. Selecting the games from the main menu was painless, and switching games in the middle of sessions wasn’t a difficult process at all.

The 3D itself is absolutely magical for most of the games. Hitting Ultra in Beat or Flux is worth it just to take a look at the gorgeous Magic-Eyecandy popping up from the 3DS screen. Likewise, the pulsing of dots in Void and the show of amazing depth in Runner are absolutely effective in bolstering the appeal. If you wanted a game that could show off mindblowing 3D, Bit.Trip Saga is it so far.

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Unfortunately, in what looks to be the case for most every 3DS game, in exchange for three-dimensional eyegasms, you get crappy framerate. As a drawback to the hardware itself, when you enable the 3D, it’s very evident that the framerate dips from 60fps to 30fps, and it looks slightly jagged at first.

It wouldn’t be that big a deal, except some of the games themselves suffer framerate slowdown issues during particularly graphic-heavy moments. I’m a patient man, especially when it comes to framerate, and when I suffered some slowdown in the early stages of Runner, I overlooked it.

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However, when you get to the more intensive later levels where there’s fifty bajillion things going on at once, the game almost slows down to the point where it’ll ruin any rhythm you had established, and throw you off just enough to make you fail. Still, I only experienced this a few times, and although it was an annoyance, it wasn’t enough to truly mar my opinions of the games.

Overall, there’s not much to say about Bit.Trip Saga. The Bit.Trip games are already well-known for their quality; Saga only adds to that with the insertion of the best 3D on the system so far. Sure, there’s minor framerate issues, but it’s not going to stop you from enjoying the game immensely. If you have a 3DS, this is an absolute must-buy, even if you already own all six Bit.Trip games.