4cr Plays – Bit Boy!! Arcade
Bit Boy!! Arcade is a sequel to the WiiWare release from Austrian developer Bplus (aka Bernd Geiblinger) and this time around you once again control Kubi in a world where it’s good to be square. What is new this time around? Well let’s take a look!
The game starts with the death of our hero. Kubi is no more, but Bernd really can’t see his creation disappear, so he breaks the fourth wall and programs Kubi back to life, updating him to face a new challenge. It turns out that the Shadow Plattchen are out to no good, and have kidnapped all of Kubi’s friends. It’s up to you as The Player to control Kubi to help him save his friends and defeat the Shadow Plattchen in order to fulfill his destiny.
Bit Boy!! Arcade goes with the “something old, something new” approach in which once again every world you play constantly evolves, going from pixelated graphics and quirky sounds, through shaded polygons, all the way to properly textured and lighted models.
Each level has 20 different phases, and the first set of levels starts thing easy by sharing the same space and theme, but with slight variations and a bump in difficulty. To carry on with how “the graphics evolve” as you go deeper and deeper into the game, the levels expand, adding new areas at different heights or changing where things are located, in order to keep everything feeling fresh. The first 10 phases of a level are more puzzle oriented, while the second set of 10 phases features more enemies, more danger, and more action. As for a story, you’ll get to learn a lot about Kubi and Bernd as you play since the two will interact in cut scenes where they both talk (yes, with actual voice overs!) and comment on the current level’s pros and cons, on what it is like to be THE PROGRAMMER, and on how Kubi likes a challenge when he plays each level.
To add some variety, you will eventually find special blocks that give Kubi the ability to jump to a point, turn into a bomb, or turn into a rocket. These special abilities open up some additional game mechanics and allow you to manipulate the environment and defeat enemies.
On top of having to rescue all of Kubi’s friends in order to open the portal to the next phase, there are also another couple of things to keep you busy. You will also find Pixel Flies that are stuck on the floor and can only be liberated after Kubi walks over them. Finding all of them in each level will unlock special Parchments that provide you with tips, instructions, information, or a chance to play the music of a particular level. The other objective is to aim for scoring a least 300,000 points on each phase to unlock the ZeLeLi gearwheel which is also part of the BPlus universe created for all of Bernd’s games.
Moving faster through levels makes sense, because the faster you are at rescuing Kubi’s friends, the higher the bonus points you’ll receive. You also get bonus points for destroying enemies and hazards, so don’t you forget it in case you’re struggling to get over 300,000 points in a phase.
An interesting element is introduced when Kubi’s last life is gone and the game over screen is shown; to continue you have to insert 2 coins into the arcade machine. Where, oh where could we find two coins for this? How about we use they Play Coins that we keep getting for keeping the 3DS in sleep mode as we walk around town? It’s great to see a game use the Play Coins since 99% of the time we can only use them for the Mii Plaza games.
Another welcome feature is that the game autosaves after every phase. This is important as the Quickstart feature takes you straight to the last spot you left off with no loading or menus whenever you close the game or turn-off the 3DS. Without any movement through menus I imagine that it would be easy to forget to save regularly.
Additionally, in every world, you will find several information buttons that will trigger a voice over from Bernd explaining how a particular element for the game was created, giving valuable insight on things such as texture mapping and scaling, character model animation or collision detection, to name a few. In my opinion, this behind the scenes content alone is worth the price of admission.
The game offers around 12 to 15 hours of content (depending on skill) which is definitely way more than what you’d expect from a game with such heavy arcade elements, but it was the arcade nature of the game that kept me coming back for more. The fact that you can play a handful of phases and easily come back later without delay meant that I practically played the game every single day over the last 6 weeks.
Bit Boy Arcade is a game that truly improves on the formula set by its Wiiware predecessor, and it does so in style. The 3D effect is solid, the tutorials on how a game is made are excellent, and the great amount of content provides great value for your buck. The evolution of in-game graphics and solid music and sound effect round-up an excellent 3DS eshop release that you have to try.
Want to win a copy of the game? Then follow @4colorrebellion and @BplusGames and leave a comment below with your Twitter handle. US codes only!