I first stumbled across Coin Flip Games, developers behind Bitmite Blitz on Twitter (@CoinFlipGames). I was sold on the concept from a few screenshots, showing a pixelated termite chomping it’s way through busy side and top scrolling levels. Being busy, as we all are these days, I lazily tapped the “+GET” link, downloaded my free copy from the Apple App store on my iPhone (like I do with many games) and thought nothing more about it.
A few hours later, I was idly swiping through my phone for something to do and found the icon of the Bitmite’s face staring back at me through pixelated eyes. Why not, I thought, I’ll give it 5 minutes then review it tomorrow properly. Except it wasn’t 5 minutes at all. Only bed time (including about 12 minutes of brushing my teeth awkwardly whilst playing) was enough to stop me! Pending a lab test, I can at least publish my hypothesis that Bitmite Blitz is one of the most addictive entities known to man! Never since the glory days of Super Monkey Ball have I stayed awake at night trying to beat my last score and rank highly on the leaderboards!
So what is it? Well, Bitmite Blitz is an endless runner in a similar vein to Flappy Bird, Temple Run or Jetpack Joyride. However, instead of timing jumps or hits, you either drag or tilt your way around a slalom of enemies and collect yummy termite treats. The objective being to beat the high score of each level and open more levels by unlocking well thought-out achievements.
When first starting the game, the player chooses whether they want to use touch or tilt controls, then the level of difficulty. The only level available initially is the vertically-scrolling “Tree” level. I was immediately impressed by the impact of the pixel art visuals, coupled with the bright, chirping chiptune that accompanied the level. I grinned to myself as I swiped the Bitmite around the fast-moving level, collecting chunks of wood and avoiding tree sap, woodpeckers and spiders that tracked the movement of the player.
The two control styles that the game offers could arguably just be down to a matter of personal taste, much like the latter Mario Kart home console releases where the player can choose between motion control and a classic push-button control style. However, just like in Mario Kart there was only one feasible option for me. In this case it was touch. I found the tilt control to be far less precise and the constant moving of the screen was a huge distractions whilst trying to avoid enemies in the later levels.
Points are gained through pick-ups, the value of which are increased temporarily by collecting energy drinks. Bombs temporarily remove enemies from the scene and poison blocks create negative points value from everything picked up. Obstacles to avoid are thematically tied to the level, demonstrating the thought that’s gone into this title. More depth and replayability is found by trying out different difficulty levels across the game levels – each area across each level of difficulty even has a separate soundtrack to enjoy.
The other areas in the game can be unlocked by paying a small fee or unlocking a certain number of achievements. It’s important that the player is given the choice in this market. Whilst appreciating how difficult it is for the indie dev to make some money, it’s also difficult to know as a customer whether a game is free for now or just free, full stop. This model makes it very clear: if you try hard enough it’s free, if you can’t wait then pay some money for it to be unlocked early. If you go down the free route, some achievements can only be unlocked on certain levels, which adds a little bit of variety and means picking and choosing achievements to sometimes tactically unlock the next portion of the game.
Gameplay is fast, furious and points-based. It’s a one-hit kill so don’t expect to sail through and unlock all the levels in one hit, however, the catchy chiptunes will keep you pumped as you become more and more enveloped by the addictive call of the leaderboard and that “one achievement more” draw. This title is great as a time-killing tool for the commute or lunch hour, but the achievements, level variety and soundtracks will keep you coming back for more over other similar titles. Bitmite Blitz is a great quality original IP, do yourself a favour and get it now on iOS App Store or Google Play, free of charge.