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Bit Boy!! Review

A trip through the history of gaming... if it was rubbish

Austrian developer Bplus has had some bad luck with WiiWare so far. Its first game, Plattchen: Twist N Paint, was hideously overpriced at 1500 Points (not to mention immensely confusing and frustrating). Then came its second attempt, Niki: Rock N Ball, which was cheaper but still annoying to play. Is Bit Boy!! a case of third time lucky? Not even close.

The concept is a genuinely clever one: as Bit Boy, you have to make your way from the early 4-bit days of the Atari and Coleco consoles, all the way through 8-bit (NES), 16-bit (SNES), 32-bit (PlayStation), 64-bit (N64) and 128-bit (Wii) generations to save your friends. As you progress through the game's various levels, the graphics and gameplay evolve to show how gaming has changed over the years. At least, that's the idea. The reality is far from enjoyable.

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The simple fact is that, graphics and controls aside, there really isn't much difference between the 4-bit levels (run around a maze collecting red blocks and avoiding enemies) and the 128-bit levels (run around a maze collecting red blocks and avoiding enemies). Yes, as you get to each new "generation" there are some differences to the gameplay, but the simple fact is that by the time you get to the 8-bit stages and gain the ability to attack the gameplay doesn't really evolve until the final 128-bit stages, where you can jump (poorly) by flicking the Remote.

A Bit Rubbish

Every time you start a new generation of levels, you're presented with a list which literally spells out the changes in the graphics, sound and gameplay that you can expect. This only goes to show that Bit Boy!! doesn't really do its job, because despite us being blatantly told "look! This is what gaming used to be like! Do you see the difference?!", the fact is that the differences are actually negligible.

How come the sound effects when we collect objects or die in the "128-bit" levels are exactly the same as the ones in every other generation, all the way down to "4-bit"? How come the 32-bit, 64-bit and 128-bit levels all have the same terrible 3D camera: didn't that evolve too? How come the music in the 128-bit levels isn't CD-quality stuff but just the same retro-sounding stuff we've been hearing throughout the whole game? And if the final set of 128-bit levels is what Bplus really thinks a Wii game should look like, then it needs to take another look: this makes Ninjabread Man look like Gears Of War.

While this might all seem like nit-picking, the most important point to note is that, "clever" retro gimmick aside, Bit Boy!! is simply a bad game. It has terrible level design (the mazes have all sorts of dead ends, which leave you no choice but to end up trapping yourself in with an enemy and using up one of your attacks), atrocious AI (the enemies don't seem to be interested in where you are at all), an embarrassingly low lifespan (we completed all the levels in 40 minutes) and a complete lack of replay value. Yes, there's a "Warp mode" (whatever that means), which is effectively a high score mode, but there are countless WiiWare and Virtual Console games which are infinitely more enjoyable for anyone who's into high score-beating.

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It's a sad day when a developer goes for style over substance, and then proceeds to get the style completely wrong too. Perhaps had Bit Boy!! been based on platform games then there would have been more scope for variation (4-bit: still screens, 8-bit: scrolling, 16-bit: map screens etc, 32-bit: 2.5D side-scrolling, 64-bit: 3D free-roaming, 128-bit: Wii pointer controls), but by choosing to go for the maze game genre, which has effectively been all but dead since the 16-bit days, Bplus has drastically stifled its own potential for creativity. Bit Boy!! is like a comedian telling a long joke, realising half-way through telling it that nobody's finding it funny, then losing interest and not really telling it properly. It sounded like a great idea when it was first announced, but the result is a poorly-executed game with a poorly-executed gimmick attached to it. If you want a maze game, even the badly-ported NES version of Pac-Man is better than this and it's 100 Points cheaper.

Comments

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  1. sahoskins1 Sunday 5th Jul 2009 at 13:43

    what a wasted opportunity

  2. thecoop Monday 6th Jul 2009 at 01:17

    Wow. I am SO glad I read that! I can only suppose also that the 128-bit graphics are meant to be like Dreamcast ones. Surely the Wii isn't 128? But then I'm not technically minded, so I probably wouldn't get it even if it was explained!

  3. NOM is NOM Monday 6th Jul 2009 at 12:58

    Great idea, if they did this in Mario Galaxy 2 on a stage wandering through past graphics it would be an amazing stage. But shame this game sucks

  4. Andy88 Tuesday 7th Jul 2009 at 12:22

    Wow. I am SO glad I read that! I can only suppose also that the 128-bit graphics are meant to be like Dreamcast ones.

    but Dreamcast graphics are good... :x

  5. Heroofhyrule Tuesday 7th Jul 2009 at 13:18

    Wow. I am SO glad I read that! I can only suppose also that the 128-bit graphics are meant to be like Dreamcast ones.

    but Dreamcast graphics are good... :x

    He's not saying they are bad, he's saying that the 124 bit graphics is only double the N64, and he thinks that it should be higher, so he's suggesting that perhaps instead of being wii graphics on the 128 bit stages, which don't look as good as a typical wii game, and look a bit lower, that they look more like a dreamcast game's graphics, which, as everyone knows, are lower than the wii's graphics. At least, I think thats what he means. (my explination is pretty bad, sorry)

  6. ChrisONM Tuesday 7th Jul 2009 at 14:31

    Wow. I am SO glad I read that! I can only suppose also that the 128-bit graphics are meant to be like Dreamcast ones.

    but Dreamcast graphics are good... :x

    He's not saying they are bad, he's saying that the 124 bit graphics is only double the N64, and he thinks that it should be higher, so he's suggesting that perhaps instead of being wii graphics on the 128 bit stages, which don't look as good as a typical wii game, and look a bit lower, that they look more like a dreamcast game's graphics, which, as everyone knows, are lower than the wii's graphics. At least, I think thats what he means. (my explination is pretty bad, sorry)


    Either way, they definitely mean "Wii game" for 128-bit. Each section has its own "name":

    4-bit - Bit Boy
    8-bit - Bit Boy 2
    16-bit - Super Bit Boy
    32-bit - Bit Boy CD
    64-bit - Bit Boy 64
    128-bit - Bit Boy Wii

  7. Violet Tuesday 7th Jul 2009 at 14:47

    I'm more shocked by the 16-bit graphics. Not even Mega Drive games looked that bad. Super Bit Boy? Honestly, it's like Super Metroid never happened.

  8. Deanio Tuesday 7th Jul 2009 at 15:53

    :x Argh I went and bought this one cos the pics on this site had robotboy on.
    Oh yeah robotboy wasnt in but this really is a terrible game and it makes proper retarded noises

    I got so bored of this i went and bought the mario alarm clock and thats real fun :mrgreen:

  9. 13th Nightmare Tuesday 7th Jul 2009 at 22:30

    I downloaded this out of sheer curiousity more than anything. This was before I read the review, and in the space of about 20 minutes, I was already halfway through the game.
    It was a good idea in theory, but it in the end a bit of a wasted oppurtunity. Shame really, because it could have been pretty good if they had spent more time on the game

  10. ploiper Wednesday 8th Jul 2009 at 12:07

    im so glad i didnt end up geting this, what a whaste.

  11. mantisboy1 Thursday 9th Jul 2009 at 19:19

    Ouch?
    Shovel ware season xD

  12. TEKris Tuesday 14th Jul 2009 at 23:52

    Ouch,31%.

    i downloaded this and thought it was going to be an okay game.Then i realised it was over so quickly.

    i want my 600 points back. :evil:

  13. rayquazagirl Tuesday 21st Jul 2009 at 10:47

    they should reprice it 1/2 point! :roll:

  14. wgungfu Thursday 31st Dec 2009 at 08:54

    What are you talking about? The 2600 and Colecovision are 8-bit consoles. There was no 4-bit era.

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