Game Review: Bit.Trip Flux (WiiWare)

The downloadable Bit.Trip series on WiiWare has always been about a combination of old-school gameplay and visuals, steep challenge, and chiptune music. With Bit.Trip Flux, the series returns to its roots with a new take on the classic paddle and ball style gameplay.

Your job is to move the paddle and volley as many balls as you can without missing too many. To move the paddle, just hold the Wii remote sideways and rotate it around like a knob. This way of controlling works very well and provides some much needed precision for such a challenging game.

The balls come at you in various speeds and formations. Some come straight on, some change speed or bounce and spin around first. And sometimes you’ll have to juggle multiple balls at once. It would be nice if there was a way to indicate how the balls will come at you, but I guess that’s just part of the challenge. There are also larger objects that you must avoid, but sometimes they look too much like the balls you’re supposed to be hitting. When you hit a ball, a musical tone is emitted to the time of the beat in the background chiptune song.

Luckily there are a few power-ups you’ll come across to make your life easier. Some will extend your paddle or give you double bars. But watch out because one item can make your paddle narrower! Also on your side are checkpoints so you don’t have to start the whole level over if you miss too many times.

The more balls you hit in a row without missing, the higher your point multiplier will go. This’ll also help you out when things get tough and you might start missing more balls than normal. One neat effect is when the game warns you that you’re about to lose. The screen will turn all black and white and show lots of static, like a TV about to go out.

At the end of each world is a boss battle, which makes references to other ball and paddle style games like Breakout and Pong. Even though there are only three worlds, each one is very long and challenging, plus you can always go back and try to nab the high score. Anyone who enjoys retro paddle games and the Bit.Trip titles will want to check out the finale (?) to this WiiWare series.

Kid Factor:

Kids will instantly get into the easy to grasp gameplay, and reading skill isn’t always necessary to play. But younger players and less experienced gamers may get frustrated at the high challenge level. Bit.Trip Flux is rated E for Everyone.

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