Bit.Trip Beat is succinctly describable as a rhythm game in the form of Pong, but on steroids. Immediately after launching the game, players are treated to a retro art style not unlike older Atari games. The game boasts bright, solid colors and blocky sprites, even with the fonts and most of the background decorations. There are some 3d objects in the game world, but they aren't as detailed and also sport a voxel look to keep in theme with the retro style sprites. Since this is partly a rhythm game, the music plays a big role and is also outstanding while fitting the retro theme. Beeps are heard when hitting back balls in time to the music. The music for each level is more or less fits the electronic genre and acts as a backing track. When the game is played well, the beeping sounds combine with the level music to sound like a cross between chiptune and general electronic music. In addition, the menu music and credits are handled by a guest artist known for making purely chiptune tracks, and they are also very catchy when put into this game.
The gameplay is really just Pong with some extra difficulty thrown in. At first you are just hitting blocks back with a simple pattern. However, the game starts throwing in blocks that move differently. Then, it starts putting in so many blocks at once that players have to hit without missing. Hitting each block makes a note, which helps in trying to deduce the pattern of blocks headed your way along with making this a rhythm game that plays like Pong. Bosses are at the end of each level, which tend to throw blocks to hit back like in the majority of the level or also imitate other old Atari games. Part of the difficulty lies in the background and graphical effects being somewhat distracting at times, making it easy to miss when something bright or flashy suddenly appears.
Yes, there is a story in this game and series. It is really confusing but it's told throughout the Bit.Trip series. Let's just say there's a person called Commander Video and he's in this one. The cutscenes are a breather from the game action, but don't make as much sense as the trippy backgrounds when playing each level.
The game may feel pretty easy at first with the first level being a decent but doable challenge. Once the second level is reached, most players will have trouble with one of the ball patterns and end up losing the level. The game is a whole is short with times of less than 5 hours for the entire game being not uncommon, but each of the three levels take anywhere from 10-15 minutes and each level must be done all at once. Losing a level forces you to do the whole level all over. This game is definitely difficult, but rewarding once players get the pattern for each level down and know the level by heart. Thus, it may take some time replaying levels to memorize what to do in each level.
Bit.Trip Beat brings some retro styled but modern video game action with great chiptune music. The gameplay is essentially like Pong, with blocks that move in different ways and sometimes en masse. The game can get very difficult, which can be a deterrent. By playing levels over and over to know the pattern for each level, the game gets fun with the graphics and music looking great and sounding fantastic.