An old-school arcade experience without sticky joysticks or screaming kids.
Bips! wants us to relive the good old days of dropping coins in closet-sized gaming machines until all that’s left in our pockets is lint. It does a great job emulating that style with simple one-button, reflex-based gameplay that gets more complex the longer you play. Ready to fight for your spot at the top of the high score board?
In Bips! you control a small comet-like character that flies through space at a 90-degree angle. Contained by yellow safety walls and insta-death red walls, the comet only goes in one direction. By holding the spacebar you can change that direction, allowing you to move around the screen in a zig-zag pattern to collect shining blips scattered around the stage. Nab every blip and you’ll move on to the next level where even greater dangers (and point multipliers) await!
Making the task of staying alive much more challenging are a small collection of enemies with strictly defined behavior. Blockers, for example, stay in one place and cluster in groups hoping to cause a crash. Graze their perimeter and you might lose any point multipliers you’ve earned. Stalkers remain still until you come near, then dash out for a quick pursuit. You can dip into special speed altering circles to change how fast you move, but be warned that the slower you go, the fewer points you’ll rack up.
A token system functions almost exactly like tokens at a real arcade. You start with a handful of coins in the bank and earn more by winning tournaments, challenging and beating your friends, or by waiting for automatic time-based refills. To play a game you need to spend a token, but you can also save your progress and restore games with tokens. Beyond that, there are no micro-transactions to worry about or funky items you should feel guilty about not buying. It’s just coins, achievements, and friendly competition.
It’s hard to find fault with a game that’s sole purpose is to treat you to a bit of nostalgia. Bips! isn’t overly difficult, nor is it impossible to master. In fact, you’ll notice your skills improve significantly after just a few levels, marveling at how you zig-zag between blockers and smartly snag whole groups of blips without missing a single one. The more efficient you are, the higher your score multipliers will be, which is the key to earning a respectable amount of points. Even if you aren’t the type that swoons at the thought of putting your initials on a leaderboard, Bips! is still a lot of fun to play.
One small point of contention is the brief pause Bips! inserts each time you complete a wave. An overlay pops up to inform you of your progress and to add new elements to the screen. This can lead to the occasional tense moment when the game freezes just when you were about to make a life-saving course change, leaving you nervously watching the screen so you can hit the spacebar as soon as you can.
Bips! is a nostalgic gamer’s dream. Not only does it replicate classic arcade gameplay in a browser setting, but it employs Facebook sharing and a game-limiting token system that is neither intrusive nor annoying. It’s skill-based high score gaming at its finest!