What if someone told you Tetris is a Cold War allegory; that the pieces represent chunks of the Berlin Wall and as they trickle down the screen they symbolise the economic policy of then US president Ronald Reagan?
What if someone told you Angry Birds was Rovio's comment on the impotence of 21st Century adulthood? What if someone told you the urban setting of the third and final stage of Bit.Trip Runner was intended to symbolise the world being full of ugliness and decay, the root of which the main character must discover in order to triumph?
You'd facepalm yourself into a coma is what you'd do. No point remaining conscious in a world where such pretentious psychobabble gets attached to silly, otherwise light-hearted games.
We wish we could say we fabricated all three examples, but the Bit.Trip one comes from an unlockable text document in the new Bit.Trip Complete compilation, which pulls together all six WiiWare games. Try not to hold the artsyfartsyness against Gaijin Games. They can't help it. They hang out in cafés near their Santa Cruz offices and wear berets and smoke hand-rolled cigarettes. Maybe. Probably.
The Bit.Trip games offer a glimpse into an alternative universe in which console production ceased with the Atari 2600 and developers continued figuring out ways to squeeze more performance out of its hardware. The book-ending modes in Complete - Beat and Flux - mix Pong and Guitar Hero, adding psychedelic Rez-style background animations that look like screensavers from the '80s.
As dots and bars shoot across the screen, you hold the remote flat and rock it to move the paddle up and down along the side of the screen to deflect them, in time with the stellar chiptune soundtrack. The pulsing of the remote in your hand feels as gently reassuring as a heartbeat.
Core is still the weak link here. Pixels float across the screen and you must zap them by using the D-pad to extend a straight line from the middle of the screen. The harsh right angles of Core's flow come off as stiff and uninspiring, while reflex endurance test Runner requires maddening precision, but the infectiously morphing soundtrack softens the blow of the game's 'fail and rewind to start' cycle.
Bit.Trip Complete even has adjustable difficulty tiers in case your gaming skills prove to be more fartsy than artsy.
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This charmingly retro-stylish compilation offers a glimpse into what a rhythm game might've looked like on the Atari 2600. A stern memory and reflex test
- Lots of visual personality
- Insanely catchy music
- Can be repetitive at times due to gradually morphing gameplay