BiT Evolution Review
What? BiT Is Evolving!?
Have you ever wanted to play a game that encompasses retro stylings that span the timeline of multiple console generations? Well, BiT Evolution does just that. From the monochromatic visual appeal of original Game Boy games, to the more advanced graphics capabilities of the Super Nintendo, BiT Evolution bleeds retro. This isn’t just in appearances, either. The game will remind you about days of old, sitting in front of the television in your pajamas, to hit you with the nostalgia.
Players take control of BiT, starting out as a mere 8-bit hockey puck. The game starts out as a very simplistic Platformer, but later draws in new areas of difficulty with each transformation. As each player evolution occurs, the world around BiT changes and players must adapt to the newfound transformation. BiT will turn from a limbless, bouncing circle to a full-bodied hero with a morph-ball ability that would make Samus Aran proud.
Throughout BiT’s journey, you may notice various homages to some of the greatest games of past generations. Some of these tributes stand out more than others, but there is something for everyone to find. For example, one of the more obscure realizations I found was buried in the title of a level. I noticed a level named “Webbed Woods” and was instantly reminded of “Web Woods” from Donkey Kong Country 2. At first, I dismissed this as sheer coincidence, but there are later levels that take a page right out of Donkey Kong Country 2, specifically involving scouring a bee hive and hopping up honey walls. As the game progresses, players may notice even more obvious appreciations for games like Donkey Kong Country or Pokémon. It shows that the folks at Major Games have a real passion for video gaming as a whole.
From the moment that you meet your first defeat in BiT Evolution, you find out what sets the game apart from just a very simplistic love letter to old games. Upon each death, BiT is transported to the realm of Code. The realm of Code acts as a Matrix-esque purgatory that you will also utilize to make progress in each level. In some instances, BiT will need to meet an intentional death in the game’s real world in order to enter the realm of Code.
The Code world has essentially the same layout as the level you are playing, with a few minor differences. There are different enemies and level hazards have also changed. BiT will have to use the realm of Code to pass obstacles that can’t normally be passed in the real world. However, if players misstep in the realm of Code, they are sent back to the beginning of the level or the halfway checkpoint if they make it that far.
The idea of transferring the character between two different worlds in each level makes players think outside of the box and adds challenge. After a while, however, some players may feel that it is more of a nuisance than simply a way to progress. One point in particular, the third boss fight, really tried my patience. If you die during this fight, you are sent to the realm of Code per usual, just to die again to get sent back to the beginning of the fight. It makes sense in the context of the game, which is understandable, but on the other hand, it is extremely annoying to have to sit through this extra step just to restart a level.
Speaking of boss fights, BiT Evolution does a great job of keeping things in tune with the limitations of each “platform.” Each fight offers more depth than simply bopping a boss on the head three times to win, as many Platformers do (looking at you Mario). Since the mechanics change with each iteration of BiT’s transformations, the boss designs will keep up and offer players a fun experience.
As BiT evolves in BiT Evolution, so do controls and the overall game feeling. In the beginning phase of the game when BiT is nothing more than a bouncy ball, you can’t do much in the ways of control. Players can move and jump and that’s about it. In the later SNES-inspired parts of the game, you have control of your jump height and in some instances your speed. It’s this attention to detail that BiT Evolution does an awesome job with.
Throughout each level, there are 20 collectible pixels scattered around that players can seek out. These are used to unlock challenge versions of each level. Those up for some added difficulty are in for a treat, as even collecting the pixels is tough enough. Luckily, if you are a brave player who chooses to go on this collect-a-thon, you don’t have to do it all in one go. Every pixel you collect will forever be collected. This makes revisiting old levels for a clean-up job much easier.
The challenge levels are essentially remixed versions of the corresponding level in which you did your collecting. However, this time around, there are more enemies and more hazards in both the normal world and the realm of Code. Players who enjoy getting the most out of their games should be quite content with this extra incentive to keep playing. Think of the challenge levels as a New Game + of sorts, one that players really have to earn.
BiT Evolution is a fun little indie Platformer that will remind you of the good ol’ days of gaming on your SNES or long car rides with your Game Boy. You may find yourself intrigued with what comes next in BiT’s story, as you hop your way through each game world. It’s fun in its own right to try and spy as many tributes to the old great’s as possible. However, the game almost relies too heavily on the nostalgia factor, but it never really gets in the way. If you take away all of the throwbacks and homages to classics, you are left with an interesting Platformer on its own. If you have an extra $9.99 to spend and want a decent Platformer on your Mac or PC, BiT Evolution will give you several hours of enjoyment.