Bit Pilot – Review

A review of Bit Pilot I wrote for the website www.square-go.com

Bit Pilot is a throwback. It is a game that would be at home in the dingy, smoke filled arcades of the mid eighties. It is also the kind of game that would have sucked 20p coins out of your pocket like a nuclear powered magnet.

We will get this out of the way now: Bit Pilot owes a massive debt to Asteroids. You can tell this just by looking at the game; you are a small spaceship that has to avoid, well, asteroids. From this basic beginning the games diverge. Your ship in Bit Pilot cannot shoot back so you can only avoid the rocks rather than shooting away at them until they vanish. There is also a walled off area in which your ship can move. Asteroids pass in and out but you bounce off the sides. A shield adds protection and can be powered up to eight levels by collecting pills that drift between the rocks.

So it’s taking a classic at it’s starting point and building on that with it’s own ideas. This is good. Bit Pilot also bases it’s graphics on those early arcade games; everything is blocks of colours with chunky pixels and it moves as smooth as silk.

Luckily, the game also has a decent control method; swipe in the direction your ship is facing and you move quickly, do that with two fingers or thumbs and you move even quicker. You can also move your ship by touching the screen and moving your thumb like an analogue stick and whilst doing this you can also move the ship around more accurately. As there is no shoot, your only goal is to survive.

And you will die, you will die lots of times at the hands of your faceless rocky foes. But you will come back, because Bit Pilot is a great little game. There is a nice curve to the difficulty of each level; the rocks start small giving you plenty of room to fly around and generally show off. But as the game goes on the rocks get bigger and bigger causing you to run out of space. Throw into this lasers that fire across the levels and mean rocks that grow bigger and smaller as they fly across the level and you have a great little game. It captures the feeling of constantly being on the edge of death and keeps bringing you back for more. And this is before you talk about the much more intense Super Massive and Tunnel modes.

The music is also spectacular as it comes from Chiptune legend Sabre Pulse. For those not in the know, chiptunes is a genre of music that utilises old video game hardware to create the songs. And each song in Bit Pilot is a treat, perfectly capturing the mood of the game.

So, you have a retro style game with great music, good controls and great graphics. Chuck in Game Centre support for high score competitions with your friends and its the complete package.

Bit Pilot may very well be a throwback to an age that is long gone but it proves what worked then still works in the 21st Century.

Four stars out of five

Originally published August 18th 2011

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