I gave Bit.Trip Runner a try a few years ago, but I recently played through most of its sequel, Bit.Trip Presents... Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien, on Steam. There were things I liked about the sequel, including more elaborate graphics, checkpoints, more stages and bosses, and more varied music, and branching paths within stages and some unlockable character skins and costumes. But there were a few major things that annoyed me. The main one is that, as with the original, the backgrounds are so busy and distracting that they make it difficult to see the hazards of the stage itself, which seems like very poor design. A related issue is that in this game the camera zooms in and out at various points within the stages, which really throws off the rhythm of the game; I didn't get used to the camera even after hours of playing. The last big issue I had, and which I'm sure many other players would agree with, is that each stage ends with you having to shoot your character out of a cannon to a target, and the game records a perfect for a stage only if you collect every gold bar and hit the bullseye. It's completely pointless to have have to replay an entire stage multiple times just in order to get back to the end and try to hit the bullseye. Ugh!
The "try and die" gameplay of the original wasn't as big an issue for me in this game, mostly because levels have an optional checkpoint (you can jump past it if you want to go for a higher score). The game also offers three levels of difficulty, so if you get stuck you can always drop the difficulty down if you need to. For me this sequel was a mix of pluses and minuses, but overall the gameplay wore out its welcome. Even with additional mechanics all the stages just ended up feeling too same-y, and I got bored well before the end of the game. I really don't see myself playing the third game (released this past May), but I might go back to the first one at some point, after I've gotten through some of the other Bit.Trip games.