Review – BitMaster – The Fourth Wall Awaits
As someone who grew up on movies such as the Last Starfighter and Tron. My interest was more than a little piqued when I came across BitMaster in the Steam store. The game actually takes place in a virtual world. That looks like it was inspired by the Grid from the Tron series. In fact given the game’s music and sound effects, I wouldn’t be surprised in the least to learn that the developer was a fan of Tron. Don’t let that fool you however, as BitMaster will provide you with a challenge worthy of the Grid.
BitMaster a game of movement, action, and shapes.
The premise of the game is rather simple. You live in a virtual world; you actually live in a place known as Factor City. A civil war is brewing; you and your compatriots plan to escape to the fourth wall via rocket. Naturally the situation is dire and not all your compatriots may make it to the fourth wall. Of course there will be enemies standing in your way and challenges to overcome.
The stages in BitMaster are set up in ways that emphasize moving. Once the stage begins you’ll be moving constantly to avoid or engage enemies, or to collect bonuses. While other times you’re just trying to chart the right path and avoid obstacles that are in the way. This mechanic actually works in the games favor, by keeping players moving in pursuit of various goals. It greatly reduces periods of downtime in the game.
You can play as one of five different heroes; the catch is that you have to unlock four of them. Without spoiling any of the game I will say that each hero has a unique set of stats. One Hero will have superior health stats, while another hero will excel at speed. This provides players with numerous options in which they can play the game. Of course the real trick is actually unlocking the other heroes. All the other characters can be unlocked simply by playing the game; no micro-transactions are involved.
Speaking of playing the game, actual gameplay in BitMaster involves some rather unique elements. For starters there is how you navigate each stage. This is done with a hoverboard like from the Back to the Future franchise. Aside from the hoverboard you will start a stage off with one type of gun. The gun can be upgraded as the stage progresses; you can also pick up new guns throughout the stage as well.
Getting the upgrades are essential, if you’re to keep up with the number of enemies that spawn. You won’t have any trouble identifying an upgrade as they will show up as a bright yellow icon on your mini-map. You must be quick once you see a new bonus appear as they don’t stay on the map forever. Of course getting to the bonuses is another matter altogether. Bonuses spawn in designated areas only and you will not always be near them when they spawn. Which means at times you will have to fight your way to them.
This brings us to the main obstacle between you and victory, the enemies. The enemies in BitMaster come in all shapes; they also come at you in waves. With the exceptions of bosses the enemies aren’t much of a challenge on their own. It’s the sheer number of them that actually becomes a problem. The more enemy waves that you clear the number of enemies in the subsequent waves increases. So by the time you have cleared 15 waves, there are a lot of enemies on the stage at any given time.
As I stated earlier the enemies are rather simplistic, that’s not to say they pose you no threat. Some enemies will attempt to swarm you and deal you damage by touching you. Others will actually try to swarm you while firing off projectiles at you. While another group is nothing more than landmines blocking your path. The more waves you clear the closer you get to the end of the stage.
All these things work to make BitMaster an enjoyable game. There is also more to the game if one takes the time to look. Shapes seem to be a recurring theme in the game. From the enemies that you encounter to the types of guns that you get. Different shapes behave in different ways. After playing the game I am left wondering if the developer has a love for geometry.
It’s not all about the shapes though the game is full of vibrant colors. That help sell the look and feel of the virtual world that the developer is trying to create. The game also features keyboard /mouse and full controller support. I will say that I preferred to play the game with a controller instead of the keyboard/mouse.
BitMaster is a game that I could’ve easily seen myself playing as a kid in the arcades. It has a straight forward story, engaging gameplay and solid mechanics. It also has great replay value, which is hard to find in today’s game market. I can easily say that I got my money’s worth when it comes to this game.