Game Review


USA USA Version

Posted by Corbie Dillard

Gaijin Games are back with the second game in the BIT.TRIP saga

The original BIT.TRIP BEAT took the old-school play control of Pong and created a unique and more modern spin on it. It was a bit like the original Pong games, but with far more charm and visual flair. Now Gaijin Games has taken that successful formula and bumped it up a level to give the game a more in-depth control system and a higher degree of challenge. But have they captured lightning in a bottle twice, and does this sequel live up to the lofty standards set by the first BIT.TRIP release?

Gaijin Games didn't try to re-invent the wheel with their sequel to BIT.TRIP BEAT, but what they did do was mix the core gameplay up enough to give the game a feel all its own. Instead of manning a paddle, this time around you're given control of a Core in the middle of the screen. From this core you can fire off a beam of light in one of four directions. With the press a direction on the Wii Remote D-pad, you'll fire off a beam that shows you which direction your laser beam will fire. Pressing the 2 button on the Wii Remote will then activate your beam in the direction you're holding down on the D-pad, and it's these beams that you'll use to destroy the beats flying around the screen. The only catch is, you have to fire the beam off at the exact moment the beats are in the line of fire, otherwise you'll miss the beat and lose your current chain count.

As you take out the individual beats, your bonus multiplier will begin to climb by one each time you destroy a beat in a chain-like fashion. The more beats you destroy in a row, the more points each beat will be worth. You can even ramp up to the Mega and Super Modes, where you can rack up huge points, not to mention enjoy some rather trippy visual effects floating around in the background. If you find the barrage of beats too much, you can even make use of your Bomb by pressing the 1 button on the Wii Remote, although it's generally a good idea to save this for those times when you're in Mega or Super Mode so you can rack up some big points.

Like the previous release, you'll play through levels that are broken down into several sections on the Map. Your ultimate goal is to last through the various sections, at which time you'll face off against the boss of the level. There are even certain challenges that will force you to flip your Wii Remote around to realign the D-pad, unless of course you can change directions in your mind without getting confused. These aspects of the game don't change things up too much, but they do offer a nice little diversion from the standard style of gameplay.

While the first level is tough enough, once you reach the later two stages, Exploration and Control, you're going to have to really be on your toes if you expect to play through them. Not only are the beats coming from every direction imaginable, but they're coming in bunches and at a high rate of speed. It's in these stages that you're going to have to really keep a rapid fire mentality in order to blast all of the beats in each wave. But with this barrage of beats comes plenty of opportunities to rack up an enormous amount of points if you can manage to Mode Up to the Mega or Super Modes.

If you find yourself a bit overwhelmed by it all, you can even bring in another player for a little multiplayer cooperative play. This can certainly make bashing the beats a little easier, at least if you can formulate a plan of action as to which directions each of you will cover. You both share the same Core, score and meters onscreen - the only difference is that you have an extra beam to work with. Of course you'll be surprised how helpful it can be when you find a player that knows what they're doing.

BIT.TRIP BEAT's simple paddle-style control method made controlling the game a breeze, despite the rampant challenge the game presented. BIT.TRIP CORE basically takes that simple control scheme and adds a bit of variety to the mix which in turn allows the developers to add even more challenge to the experience. Now with four different directions to keep an eye on, you'll really have to use your peripheral vision a lot if you're to have any chance of beating the later levels. So while the game might be a bit high in difficulty, you're certainly given all the tools you'll need in order to succeed. The control method itself works like a charm, and having the ability to shine the beam out can make it easier to know which direction you're going to have to activate your beam in order to take out the approaching beats. It's clear that quite a bit of time went into the design of this play control system and it shows in the finished product.

It would be easy to dismiss BIT.TRIP CORE's archaic visual stylings, especially considering some of the flashy visual presentations we've seen from some of the other WiiWare releases, but there's just something about the unique combination of Atari 2600-style pixel art with the more modern 3-D psychedelic artwork flowing around in the background that makes CORE so appealing. Maybe it's the retro gamer in all of us, but it just somehow works perfectly with the style of action that's taking place onscreen. Granted, it's certainly not much fun to drop down into the black & white Nether Mode when your performance level drops off, but it's all the more fun when you manage to climb your way out of the funk and make it back to the more modern visuals. The contrasting styles make for an extremely varied visual experience and also play a useful role in letting you know just how well you're currently performing in the game.

If you've played BIT.TRIP BEAT, you already have a fairly good idea what the musical offerings are all about in BIT.TRIP CORE: the same type of pulsing musical beats are back and they're still quite catchy and, given how the musical rhythms play an even bigger role this time around, it won't take you long to get that foot tapping to the beat. This can also help you know when you need to be firing your laser as the bits tend to fly past your laser beams as the current beat pulses. The tracks that play during each of the three levels are quite fitting for the action taking place onscreen, and there's enough variety between them to keep the musical performance from becoming too stale during long periods of play, which since the levels are once again quite long, you'll be thankful for. About the only real complaint you could possibly level with the audio presentation is that the sound effects are a bit bland at times, but of course this is likely the way they were intended to be in keeping with the retro stylings of the game itself.


While some of the new has obviously worn off the BIT.TRIP experience and the high level of difficulty will likely turn some gamers off right from the start, it's still difficult to fault BIT.TRIP CORE's unique and engaging gaming experience. Sure, in some ways the game feels like more of a continuation of BEAT than an entirely new game, but there's still enough new features added to the mix to set it apart from the original, and at least enough to warrant a play. It's safe to say that if you enjoyed the original BIT.TRIP BEAT release, you're going to find a lot to love about this enjoyable sequel. But if you thought BEAT was tough, you'd better buckle up for this one.

From the web

Game Trailer

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User Comments (42)



Edwin said:

This game is awesome. I've gotten to the boss of level 2 twice but couldn't beat it yet.



WolfRamHeart said:

Wow, great review Corbie! A very well deserved 8! Congratulations Gaijin on another excellent game! Truly hardCORE!



Corbs said:

This one is a lot of fun. Just be sure you stick with it. Once you get the hang of it, it really gets fun. But it is brutally difficult.



SwerdMurd said:

Scoring gets unbelievably ridiculous....21 mil on first stage and I can see tons of room for improvement!

This game...seriously...wow. Swerd is in electrolove.



arcnas said:

I love the fact that the game is really hard , to many games these days are just to easy, and over to quickly for my 600 points this will be real value, i love it to bits



Omega said:

I like the retro style of the game. It reminds me of the times when I was young and agile. But why must they always create games that are hard as rock and impossible to beat? When even Corbie says that the game is brutally difficult then it must be merciless and shattering, indeed.

Since I always want to play through the games that I buy, I better leave this out. Tell me when they are ever making a game, which is also playable for average people. Then I will certainly give it a try.



Virus said:

I agree with Corbie on this one. In addition to my complaints on the game page, my only other complaint about Core is there is no online leaderboard. Since this game allows for higher ridiculous scores than Beat, it is a wonder why they didn't include such a feature.



maka said:

This seems to be a rhythm game at heart, and a very good one btw... I'm getting this as soon as it's released in Europe



Philip_J_Reed said:

Very nice review, Corbs. That's more or less exactly how I'd rate it, too. Maybe a 7. Still high enough to warrant a recommendation, but not quite the mind-blower that Beat managed to be.

Still, great game, and great review.



ejamer said:

Purchased Bit.Trip Core last night, and have to say that (from early impressions) I prefer Bit.Trip Beat because of the control scheme... but Bit.Trip Core is good too! Core is still fun, and bumps the trippy visuals up a notch. It was odd to see how low the preset high scores were compared to Bit.Trip Beat... at least for the first level.



Kawaiipikachu said:

corbie wrote:

But if you thought BEAT was tough, you'd better buckle up for this one.

Bites fingure nails
Looks fun & it be another game on my list.



boomface123 said:

i dont like this cause its difficult and beat i never played so should i get this beat or bit boy



BrickleBrack said:

I think some people are better at beat and others are better at core. I find this very interesting.



Vertigo said:

8? Wow. Might have to rethink this one, my Interestometer was at zero when I saw how it worked, but you lot don't tend to give out 8s for games that are meh.



Objection said:

"But if you thought BEAT was tough, you'd better buckle up for this one." Pass, then.
Did they do a better job at dividing levels in CORE?



theblackdragon said:

@Objection_Blaster: there's a meter in the bottom left of the screen (that row of squares) that shows you what part of the level you're on, but you still start all the way back at the beginning of the level if you die (there's no restarting from the section you were in).



Syr said:

This is a masterpiece of a game! Honestly, this is up there with World of Goo, Beat, and Mega Man 9 for me.

It is a tad harder than Beat was, but that's what I should hope from a sequel. Wouldn't we all be a little disappointed if this were easier than Beat? I really couldn't rate one higher than the other (maybe that's just cause I would give them both 10's though.. ). I thought the series would take a step away from the style of Beat with this iteration in the BIT.TRIP series, but was pleasantly surprised to see them sticking to what worked but tweaking it even better. The level progress meter really helps you pace yourself and not get too frustrated -- just one more block!

Another great game Gaijin, keep 'em coming! Commander Video, I solute you.. wherever you are.



Twilight_Crow said:

Great review Corbie; and Congratulations, for creating another cool game ComanderVideo.
I'm not getting the game right away, I think I am not ready for it , but I'll get it for sure.



stratocastx said:

@CommanderVideo: CORE, along with BEAT, has already made the Bit.Trip series into one of my favorites of all time. I haven't made it through Exploration yet, but the song is SO AWESOME that I don't mind replaying it over and over. I especially love how the interface now pulsates along with the beat.

I hope you guys will continue evolving the series in the way you went from BEAT to CORE while still maintaining the connection between the gameplay and the music. You mentioned in an interview about possibly doing a "frantic collection-type game". I'm not sure how much I like that idea, but if it happens, I know you all will make it work! I too salute you, Commander



the_shpydar said:

Wow, this game is hard. I'm among those who still can't get past the first stage! Granted, i've so far only played a little bit after D/L'ing on Tuesday night, and that was after a few Amstels. =) It's "good-hard" though, and for a gamer raised originally on the 2600 and arcades, exactly the type of "hardcore" game that scratches that old itch.

BTW, anyone else reminded of Vanguard by this? It's nothing like that game at all, just has the 4-direction shooting in common. And i loved that game. =)



JoeDiddley said:

Bit Trip Beat is the only good rhythm action game on the wii so far.
But I can't even complete the 1st level on that game so I am scared of Core



Steviis_Father said:

I downloaded it last night, and... it's hard. It's really hard. But a blast to play with friends! Passing the controller around to see who can edge the furthest in the first stage is so old-school! It's a mind screw, but a screw well worth it!



Mega_Wolf said:

Personally, I don't find this game to be that much more difficult that BEAT. The first time I played this game was with a friend who had never played it before also and we got up to the 2nd level boss and nearly beat him. With 1 player this game can drive you nuts with the difficulty; however, if you bring another player into the mix the game gets significantly easier and a bit more fun. While the game is still relatively hard with 2 players, it's one of those games that the more you play the farther you progress. If you put an hour or two into it you should be able to at least come close to beating the game.



BleachFan said:

Just downloaded it today and I gotta say, the first stage is...
I beat it on my second try!
However, I'm glad to say that the second stage offers a bit more of a challenge!



rhythmheavenfan said:

I like this game just as much as BEAT. Very innovative, simple, fun, and DIFFICULT. As hard as it is though, it's not that much harder than BEAT in my opinion.

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