Bit.Trip Presents... Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien

Gaijin games drops the explicitly retro look for a smart combination of auto-runner and music game that still has an 8-bit heart.

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Gaijin Games is porting its charming retro auto-runner, Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien, to Vita on 18th December in Europe and the 17th December in North America.

Bit.Trip Presents... Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien review

There's gold in them there clichés - at least for a game-maker with a talent for subversion and quirky embellishment. This belief has underpinned San Franciscan developer Gaijin Games' past titles, all of which have employed the prefix 'Bit.Trip' and all of which have adopted the fat pixel aesthetic of late 1970s Atari games. Partly responsible for the renaissance in vintage art styling in the independent game scene, Bit.Trip took pixels once viewed as crude and outmoded and made them stylish again, along with the sine-wail soundtracks that gave way to Hollywood orchestras in the 1990s (now an artistic choice rather than a technological constraint).

But Gaijin's talent isn't only for trendsetting. The developer's more laudable quality is in taking the medium's first principles (as laid down by Pong, Pac-Man and others) and spinning them into fresh, vivid shapes. Time and again the company has found gold in these clichés. That keen interest in tired or outmoded game styles continues with Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien, a game that slots into the so-called auto-runner genre, which is now - quite understandably - a bit weary. As in Canabalt, Jetpack Joyride et al, your character automatically runs from the left of the screen to the right, and you must dodge various obstacles in order to progress as far as possible.

Future Legend of Rhythm Alien tweaks the formula in some consequence-rich ways. For one, each level has a start, a middle and an end and, if you crash into a ledge or fail to leap clear over the head of a spike-helmed Goomba, you are simply returned to the start of the stage to seamlessly try again: there is no death in this game. Protagonist CommanderVideo's red sneakers never wear out and no matter how many times you throw him from a ledge into oblivion he'll make another attempt without complaint or penalty, and with all the tenacity of one of Trials' bike-riders.

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Runner2 out this week on Steam, XBLA and Wii U

Next week on PSN. iOS and Vita versions due this summer.

Bit.Trip series creator Gaijin Games is releasing its sequel to its retro auto-running sidescroller Bit.Trip Runner this week with the splendidly titled Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien.

Bit.Trip sequel Runner 2 sprints onto XBLA, PSN and eShop in late February

Runner 2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien, the follow-up to Gaijin Games' Bit.Trip series, is due on XBLA, PSN and the WiiU eShop in late February. The Steam page lists a release date of 26th February.

The developer announced that it just submitted all the console versions of the colourful auto-running sequel to Sontendosoft. "It was a grueling journey here at the end, and none of us slept much, ate much, or stayed sane much as we finished off the console builds," said Gaijin founder Alex Neuse.

"In the end, this is by far the most ambitious submission process Gaijin has ever done, and we're not even finished yet (PC, Mac, Linux, you're next!)," he added.

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Runner 2 trailer says f*** your 8-bit nostalgia

Gaijin Games Atari-inspired Bit.Trip series' follow-up Runner 2 has revealed its art style to be a decidedly different aesthetic from its predecessors.

"Imagine a world where everything is 8-bit, where your greatest retro dream come true," said the trailer.

"Well f*** that place!"

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Bit.Trip spin-off Runner 2 announced

Bit.Trip spin-off Runner 2 announced

Future Legend of Rhythm Alien.

Gaijin Games has announced Runner 2, its sequel spin-off of Bit.Trip Runner.

The game's title in full: Bit.Trip Presents: Runner 2, Future Legend of Rhythm Alien.

Runner 2, which stars Bit.Trip's CommanderVideo, is due out on PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade next year.

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