Any game that has the word “runner” in its title better have propulsive music to match, and much to the delight of gamers the world over, quirky retro platformer Bit.Trip Runner delivers on this in spades. Exciting, energetic and fun are just a few words to describe the sounds one encounters when playing this title from Gaijin Games.
It may be the most popular and recognizable of the games matching its namesake, but it’s actually the FOURTH installment in the Bit. Trip series. Bit.Trip Beat, Bit.Trip Core, and Bit.Trip Void were all great games, but this game’s rhythm-based platform action solidified this indie game developer’s status as innovative and quality, taking a simple concept and character design and continuing to find fresh and fun things to do with it. This was the first Bit.Trip game to feature CommanderVideo as a playable character. Plus, the music is just incredible, featuring chiptune-rock band hybrid Anamanguchi. Listen to the entire captivating soundtrack right here, courtesy of Band Camp.
For those unfamiliar, Anamanaguchi is a rock band in the traditional sense because they have a drummer, keyboardist, guitar player and bassist, yet a huge component of their music is chiptune music reminiscent of the kind you’d hear in 8bit video games. It is the foundation their music is based on, with the live instruments adding flourishes and fleshing out the sound of the digital music. It’s a musical harmony so fun and infectious, it makes you wonder why more bands haven’t tried it in the past. One of their more notable works was composing songs for the Scott Pilgrim game, which also had a fantastic soundtrack.
Here they contribute two tracks, the incredibly frenzied and delightful “Blackout City” and the epic gaming/prog odyssey “Mermaid.” To say odyssey I mean the song is over seven minutes long with several different movements, from a sound typical to the rest of the music on the soundtrack to quieter moments, to a grinding intensity that ends the track with a healthy dose of Tron-flavored tension. It’s something you have to hear to believe.
The rest of the soundtrack is produced in-house by the game studio, with very little details divulged other than that. However, the music varies in tone from more reflective moments to sounds that are straight-up EDM that one might hear in a club. The combination of retro and modern electronic music sounds come together in the most satisfying of ways, particularly on tracks like “Strength” and “Conviction.” It’s great to know that the old, limited sound capabilities of 8bit processors are still finding interesting ways to create new music in the 21st century.
If you enjoy the music as much as we do, the soundtrack can be bought digitally through Amazon and iTunes.
What’s your favorite song on the Bit.Trip Runner soundtrack? Do you think one of the other Bit. Trip games has a better soundtrack? Is there another game with music so brilliant you think we should discuss it here in our Music Monday segment? Tell us in the comments!