Bit-Trip Flux is the sixth and final release in Gaijin Games’ Bit.Trip franchise, a series of retro-inspired rhythm-based games set to funky chiptune music. Players control a paddle by rolling the Wiimote to tag incoming blocks to the beat of the music. Imagine if Atari had released Guitar Hero back in 1980. Now imagine they set it up with Pong on a blind date, they got married, and subsequently had a baby.
That baby is roughly what playing Bit.Trip Flux is like. A lot of games can successfully simulate a retro arcade tone for players, but this game truly feels like a long lost Atari 2600 cartridge, and I mean that in the best possible sense.
Flux takes some of the best elements of a bygone era – simple yet addictive gameplay, 8-bit graphics, and powerful sound effects – and seamlessly blends in contemporary twists like a funky soundtrack and rhythm-based controls that demand precise timing. Most games that attempt to tip a hat to the classics are simply modernised versions of familiar ideas, but to Gaijin's credit, Flux does the reverse: it inspires a modern vibe in what feels like an old school game.
And the difficulty is decidedly old-school, too. Indeed, calling Bit.Trip Flux “a challenge" is like saying Mt. Everest is "a bit of a hike". This game will put your skills to the test from the very first moment. There is a lot of trial and error, and you will need to replay sections numerous times until you figure out just where the paddle needs to go. Bit.Trip vets will embrace this approach, but newcomers might be turned off by it, so be warned: Flux is not for the faint of heart.
Unfortunately, like the rest of the games in the series, Flux is also short. Gamers only get three tracks to play, and while each is substantial and can be replayed with new power-ups, beat types and even another player, it still feels like you should be getting a little bit more for your money.
However, if you're one of those gamers who thrives on beating Mega Man because you just refuse to be defeated, you'll love Bit.Trip Flux. Gaijin Games has perfectly captured the old-school vibe and balanced the difficulty with similar skill. If you're up to the challenge and are looking for a downloadable title with a true retro feel and stellar music, you will have a blast with Bit.Trip Flux.
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