BIT.TRIP RUNNER (yes, all caps) brings back fond memories of the WiiWare days. This was CommanderVideo’s (yes, no space) best game of the original six. But how does it fare 10 years later?

Trying to put nostalgia aside, not bad at all. Gaijin Games (now known as Choice Provisions) prioritized difficulty, something it reminds you of at the start; “it is an incredibly difficult ENDURANCE game.” Such an approach is often doomed to failure, but RUNNER succeeds in making you want to try time and again. You won’t mind so much memorizing each colorful retro level, learning through trial and error where to jump, kick, slide, and more.

One misstep is zero checkpoints. Some of these levels are, frankly, too long to not include them. The sequels fixed this, but this original entry misses out. One of the thrills of checkpoints in later Runner games was the option to jump over them. It had a risk/reward element that this game lacks, which is a bummer.

Thankfully, in other ways, this original is arguably better than the series’ latest entry. There are no camera angles that prioritize visuals over gameplay, and the chiptune soundtrack is catchier with its timeless sounds.

Sadly, leaderboards are local only. You cannot try to top your friends, like in the sequels. This original takes us back, for better or worse. But it does have updates from later BIT.TRIP compilations such as extra challenges and three difficulty modes.

BIT.TRIP RUNNER holds up pretty well for an indie game from 2010. True, its sequels have spoiled us with checkpoints and leaderboards. But this more modest entry comes at the more modest price of $4.99, making it a worthwhile purchase for fans asking for a challenge.

I hope the best entry, BIT.TRIP Presents… Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien, finds its way to the Nintendo Switch soon.