A WiiNintendo game review by hattrick.
Game – BIT.TRIP FATE
Version – WiiWare for 800 Points
Obtained – Review Copy from Aksys Games
Introduction and Story
BIT.TRIP FATE is the fifth WiiWare chapter of the popular BIT.TRIP series. This time, the developers at Gaijin Games take control of CommanderVideo in his space ship. At its core, FATE is an on-rails side-scrolling shooter. Along the way, however, ComanderVideo gets some help from several friends as he sets out to defeat Mingrawn Timbletot, who has mutated the world into a hi-tech nightmare. Following in the footsteps of BEAT, CORE, VOID, and RUNNER, FATE moves the style of gameplay along. However, the big question is: was it a good move?
Gameplay and Controls
FATE takes a step away from the rhythm-based gameplay that was crucial in previous installments. The 8-bit style music is still there, but it does not play an active role in the gameplay this time. Instead, you will move CommanderVideo along a visible line as you dodge enemy fire. Along the way, you will shoot down enemies, gathering ammo and increasing your firepower. If you get hit just once, you are knocked down an ammo level. Take damage too many times, and you will have to start the level over again.
There are 2 main control options. One can play with the Wii Remote and Nunchuk (with or without the Zapper attachment), or you could use the Classic Controller. With the first option, you will fire with either the A or B button on the Wii Remote, and steer with the Nunchuk’s analog stick. If you opt for the Classic Controller, you will use both analog sticks. The left one will control CommanderVideo, and the right one shoots. If one is familiar with games like Geometry Wars, he or she will feel comfortable utilizing this control style. I found my favorite to be the Wii Remote in the Zapper with Nunchuk in opposite hand. It allowed for the most precise and comfortable control.
Although FATE is simple to control, you will not find the game as easy. Due to the fact that you must stay on the line the entire time, you will find yourself in many tough situations where it is almost impossible to dodge incoming attacks. On top of that, you must do your best to keep shooting everything you see, as it is important to level up. Concentrating on both movement and shooting is a difficult skill to master, especially when on-rails.
Atmosphere (Visuals and Sound)
BIT.TRIP RUNNER took a large step ahead in visuals, but FATE seems to have stepped back again. It looks like a cross between RUNNER and the first 3 titles. The background is a simple black with some outlined objects, and the foreground is made up of block-like characters and ammo. This is not entirely a bad thing, but when compared to RUNNER, it does not look as good. Nonetheless, the simple visuals do a great job of portraying the feeling of outer space.
While previous games in the BIT.TRIP series relied on the sound and music, FATE does not. As stated earlier, the classic 8-bit tunes remain, but there is no need to keep a rhythm. Because of this change, I found myself paying attention to the music less and less. While it felt natural and fitting, the music of FATE did not stand out nearly as much as past installments.
Concluding Overall Impressions
The controls are simple, and there is no convoluted story that gets in the way. This is truly a side-scrolling shooter. On the other hand, the on-rails style and visual appeal of FATE will keep it from being the “just one more time” game, like RUNNER. While I had fun playing it, I often felt like I did not want to try again, as it was a bit too punishing.
When looking at a game like FATE, it becomes obvious that this will not be for everyone. In fact, it might only excite a niche group of gamers. The on-rail style will be tough for many, and the higher difficulty will keep many away. If only the levels were shorter (or contained checkpoints) and the difficulty was not as high, there would be more fans. As is stands, though, FATE seems destined to just be “okay.”
Final Score: 3 out of 5
If you are a fan of the previous BIT.TRIP games or any side-scrolling shooters, this might be for you. For the rest of you, though, the on-rail style and difficulty is enough to recommend trying it before you buy. Find a friend who owns it or download the free demo before committing to 800 Points for a game that might frustrate you enough that you may never go back for more.