Also On: PC, Wii U, Xbox 360, PS Vita
Developer: Gaijin Games
Note to self: don't play Bit.Trip Presents…Runner 2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien before bed again. It will not go well.
For one thing, you'll suck at it. Runner 2 is extremely hard, even on the easiest setting, and requires a whole lot of memorization, not to mention near-perfect reflexes. Mistime a jump, or block when you need to duck, or hesitate even for a moment, and it's right back to the last save point with you. Sub-note to self: this is not a game that hands out save points very frequently, which means that there'll be numerous times when you see your goal in sight…only for you to run into a ledge/wall/little robot guy, thereby sending you right back to the beginning. In other words, you need a clear head if you want to get through this game.
For another thing, Runner 2 is one of the most stimulating games I've ever played. And not just in terms of getting your brain working, either. It looks and sounds absolutely fantastic. Visually, the game pops off the screen, with a bright, shiny colour palette that's not matched by many other modern games. The music is similarly excellent; the best comparison I can think of is last year's Sound Shapes, both in terms of its high quality and in terms of how it uses the on-screen actions to gradually build up the melodies. Basically, if ever there was a game that deserved to be called a feast for the senses, Runner 2 is it.
Normally, this is where I'd say "But the game's not without its flaws." In Runner 2's case, though, I can't think of what those might be. Any complaints that I'd normally have seem inconsequential. In most other circumstances, I might be put off by the game's extreme difficulty, since I usually gravitate towards games that require the least amount of sustained effort…yet in this case, every death just spurred me to try again so that I might get a tiny bit further. Likewise, I'm not usually a fan of endless running games…yet, again, Runner 2 is a clear exception, with so much extra added in that it seems like comparing it to Canabalt or Temple Run does it a huge disservice.
So…don't play it if you're looking solely for games you can play while relaxing before bed, I guess? Because otherwise, there's absolutely no reason not to download Bit.Trip Presents…Runner 2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien immediately. It's just that great.