Running games are an essential part of your iOS game diet. But, there are so many out there that you can easily get confounded as to which you should play. This one has simple and moody graphics, this other one monkeys chasing after you and a golden idol. The choices are endless. The only way to stand out as a balanced gaming meal is to be the whole package wrapped up in an insane amount of colorful charm. Bit. Trip. Run! looks pretty delicious, but let's see if it delivers on the promise of a well balanced game.

Bit. Trip. Runner 2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien was a spectacular looking running game that made it out onto consoles to great fanfare. Bit. Trip. Run! is not so much a port of the original game, but more of an optimized version. The graphics have been stripped down a little bit. Some functionality and levels are missing, but at its heart, Bit. Trip. Run! is still the same crazy game.

For those of you who haven't gotten a chance to play the original, then you're in for a tasty treat. You once again take control of Commander Video (or one of his friends), and have to make your way through dozens of side scrolling levels filled with some of the most dreamy visuals you'll be able to find. Everything about this game oozes enjoyable charm, from the voice over narrator, to the level design and incredible soundtrack.

The gameplay itself is quite simple where you have to swipe in a particular direction in order to control your character. You can jump, slide, and attack depending on where you flick your finger. This type of control scheme works impeccably well for running games and Bit. Trip. Run! is no different. They're tight, crisp, and easy to use. That is a good thing, because this game can become incredibly difficult since it isn't your average runner.

The level design and enemy placement compliment the soundtrack perfectly. As you're tearing along through a level snatching all the bonuses and leaping enemies, the soundtrack morphs and changes depending on your route, or if you smash into a wall and have to restart at a checkpoint. It gives you an aural sense of progress as well as a visual one. The more complex and triumphant the song becomes, the closer you are to the end of the level. This type of gameplay also allows you to develop a sense of rhythm and timing for each level with repeated play. And with its difficulty, you will be repeating levels a lot.

Bit. Trip. Run! offers you a challenge that endless running games don't. It forces you to start over at the beginning every time and you have to slog through the easy bits before you can make it back to your old checkpoint and longest run. Bit. Trip. Run!'s decision to keep things as tightly packaged levels allows you to choose which one you want to play. It also allows them to throw you curve balls right from the start. They aren't so long that you'll quickly become bored, but they are by no means too short. You'll usually make it to the end quite breathless even though you're sitting down on the bus on your way to work.

Bit. Trip. Run! is a fantastic addition to your diet of digital goodies, but this comes with a health warning. If you're rocking a device that is a little bit long in the tooth, you may want to reconsider. Bit. Trip. Run! is a fast game with some great graphics that will definitely strain some of the older iPhones. They say it has been optimized for the iPhone 5 and that is the truth. If you play it on anything older, you'll probably be seeing some slowdowns and laggy controls. So skip it until it is time to upgrade your phone again.

But when you do, make sure to grab this because it is one of the finest running games you'll find.


App Store Link: Bit. Trip. Run! for iPhone & iPad | By Gaijin Studios | Price: $3.99 | Version: 1.1 | 329 MB | Rating 4+

9.0 out of 10 arcade sushi rating