PN Review: Bit Boy!! ARCADE
With WiiWare origins, Bit Boy!! ARCADE has undoubtedly found an early audience with Nintendo fans already. Will it expand, reaching those who’ve yet to experience adventuring with Kubi? Having experienced the game I say with confidence yes, I think it will!
This action-adventure game has you controlling Kubi the pixel, as he interacts with his programmer (in Tronesque settings) while trying to rescue his friends. The story’s setup in detail through an opening introduction, and expounded upon regularly as you advance. With full vocals, I found myself even more involved in the tale! While Kubi’s deep voice doesn’t fit his cute looks, I enjoyed hearing the clever dialogue between him and the game’s creator, Bernd Geiblinger. It allows for very effective humor. For example, early on Kubi demands more colorful, stylized graphics, only to lament his request later when they’re programmed in pink color! The amusing relationship between the two is a key element to this game, and handled very well.
As you navigate the worlds you’ll grow to appreciate their design. There’s a mixture of action and puzzles, short and long phases, enemies, layouts, etc. These are thoughtful changes that have genuine impact on how you play, and ensure repetitiveness is limited. In fact you’ll likely want to replay for points (medals), destroying all enemies, and collecting every last pixel fly. Item blocks that transform Kubi into bombs and rockets are fun, as Kubi himself is quick to declare.
Visually this game’s a terrific success! It has some of the most effective 3D I’ve seen to date on 3DS, which greatly enhances the art design. With settings to adjust style and intensity, I suspect the vast majority will find it a joy playing with 3D activated. The graphics are crisp, vivid, and there’s always animated activity occurring in the backgrounds – screenshots don’t give enough credit! The refreshingly excellent camera (for which a slew of options are also provided) makes the visuals look even more impressive, providing ideal angles on the action while not making things too easy. It says something that, despite all the camera options, I kept the default one throughout. While you’ll die often, the camera’s never to blame – this game controls as well as it looks.
There’s potential frustration for those not up for a challenge (or who try to rush) but the challenge is fair. With great controls (d-pad or buttons) multitudes of settings, and even an easy mode, the game’s accessible. The enemy patterns are easily learned with patience and good observation – this game rewards your efforts and skills.
Every time I thought I found cause for complaint with this game, it turned out to be either my own lack of skill or understanding. Why can’t I resume from the last level played? Oh, I need to use play coins – clever! Why does the music drown out the speech? Oh, I can adjust all audio aspects! Why am I stuck in a dead-end? Oh, I just need to move the camera and/or pay better attention. There’s a few quirks – the understandable, but still disappointing, lack of a manual (although all info is available and explained in-game) – but these quirks have negligible effects and to nitpick on them is disingenuous.
Bit Boy!! ARCADE really caught me off guard, exceeding my expectations in a huge way. It’s clear a lot of time was put into this imaginative game – the fact that it’s a one man project selling for a budget price impresses even more. It can stand proud as an indie triumph. Reading over my review shows I could find very little to complain about. As my words are full of praise, my score must match. I could go on further (outstanding music!) but I’ve run out of space. Addictive, balanced, polished, and brilliantly executed, this game’s a must own!