Also available on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, iOS, OSX, Linux, and Windows
Bit.Trip Runner 2 took everything that was great about Runner - which I had already considered to be a nearly perfect game - and made it even better. Literally everything has been improved over Runner. The presentation is leagues better, the levels are more varied in style, there are multiple playable characters, the music is even better, and freaking Charles Martinet narrates the game. They even fixed the one complaint I had about the original - checkpoints. They added checkpoints, and best yet, they're optional for folks wanting a challenge - jumping over the checkpoint skips it but adds 50,000 points to your score.
Runner 2 takes the foundation set by Runner and stretches it, filling in the gaps with awesome features you never knew you wanted. The game is broken into five worlds each with fourteen regular levels and five bonus levels for a whopping total of 96 levels to run, jump, and slide through. Each of the worlds has a drastically different theme, and while the gameplay remains pretty consistent throughout, the visual style gives each one a VERY different feel. The game's core mechanics remain the same from Runner, though; you have to jump, duck, kick, leap from springs, and raise your shield at the right times to traverse the game's obstacles. The biggest differences in the actual gameplay are the introduction of checkpoints and the overall refinement. Runner 2 feels a lot more responsive and fluid than Runner did, and I didn't even think there was much that really needed improvement in that regard.
There was always a storyline in the still images and storyboards of the first six Bit.Trip games, but it's made a little easier to follow for those of us with short attention spans in Runner 2 with Charles Martinet's truly fantastic narration. It was weird hearing him sound SO different from the voice we're all most used to from him - Mario - but the knowledge that it was him doing the narration gave it a special feel. I don't really know how to describe it, but there's something special about having Mario's voice actor do the narration for such a purely fun game.
Bit.Trip Runner 2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien is the perfect game for short bursts of play. It's broken up enough and easy enough to understand that it's got the positive aspects of casual games, but it's got enough challenge and clever level design to hold the attention of core gamers, too. The story if goofy, but the presentation and delivery coupled with Charles Martinet's narration make it an overall product that it's impossible not to love. As good as Bit.Trip Runner and Bit.Trip Fate were, Runner 2 is absolutely the pinnacle of the series. With Runner 3 set to release this year as a Switch console exclusive (also coming to Windows), the bar is set pretty high. Here's to hoping that Runner 3 does what Runner 2 did for Runner - improve things that I didn't think could be improved.
My Rating - 5 Neps
I'm a teacher.
And I like to play video games. I like to collect video games. I like to talk about video games, and I like to write about video games. During the day, I teach high school history; during the night, I spend my spare time gaming. Then I write about it.