Sometimes downloading games via Nintendo's WiiWare service feels a lot like gambling. Since there are no free demos, you pay for the price of admission and hope you are not disappointed. So on Monday I rolled the dice with a title called Bit Boy!! published and developed by Bplus and all I can say is that it is the best 6 bucks I have EVER spent, except for that one time in Mexico but I digress....
You control a Bit Boy pixel named Kubi as he traverses through a variety of worlds modeled after the numerous generations of gameplays past.
Now I know I have stated in past reviews that love in a game cannot be programmed but I am saying it again, so there. This is one of those very rare gems where you can tell the talented people who made this love their games and their history.
Your game worlds are divided into 6 categories: 4 bit (Bit Boy), 8 bit (Bit Boy II), 16 bit (Super Bit Boy), 32 bit (Bit Boy 3D), 64 bit(Bit Boy 64) and lastly 128 bit (Bit Boy Wii). The idea is that you must rescue your pixelated friends to end each level. Each bit world contains 5 maps that you must conquer to be admitted into the higher levels. Now I could rattle off a half dozen games that emulate the kind of game-play represented. But I won't. That's the real fun and magic behind the experience, especially if you're from the Pong generation. As the game unfolds you will re-experience the joy and frustrations of your gaming career. The hook is, that like all gamers, you want to see what's next and that gleefully pushes you to finish even the most frustrating levels. I have rarely smiled continuously for 6+ hours.
There is also a co-op mode and once a level is completed you can collect diamonds in warp mode. It's a faster version of the game as you race to collect points and outlast the digital demons that pursue you.
Plus you can employ 2 different control schemes. The Wii remote can either act as a virtual joystick or you can lay it on the side and play like an old nes controller.
I have seen my fair share of retro throw backs. Most simply emulate or re-create arcade greats but few get the subtle details right. From the choice of colors to the textures used every element of this game gets the era right. In my opinion this game should be studied at any university that offers courses in video game history.
While the primitive soundtrack and sound effects lends itself well to the game, I would have preferred to have seen a progression as the levels advanced. It's a small criticism and nothing that deters from the experience. Just a minor detail from a highly critical reviewer. You can all remain seated.
While most developers and publishers are pushing for the next big next generation console game, it's refreshing to see a game that prides itself so highly on gameplay and fun. That's the foundation of ANY game and remember you read it here first.
This is the kind of game that spawns Fanboys (the good kind) and I consider myself one of them. And for only 600 Wii Points (6 US Dollars) this is an insanely great value. Oh and if you don't buy this game, you are not my best friend and I won't invite you to my birthday party.
Fans of this should also check out Retro Game Challenge for the DS and Cubivore for the Gamecube.