The spirit of techno rhythm games will never die. Gaijin Games, the team responsible for Bit.Trip Core has returned with another WiiWare title featuring plenty of aesthetic charm and lots of ‘uhn-tiss, uhn-tiss’. Bit.Trip Beat is the latest in psychedelic dot-blasting warfare for Nintendo’s download service. Unlike the previous entry this outing strips the motion controls for a more standard scheme, but the upgraded visuals and addictive nature make it more than worthy of a double dip. If you are even remotely interested in the genre, there is no reason to miss out on this eclectic mix of techno bliss.
The concept is just simple enough to entice any player, but challenging enough to keep you on your toes throughout the game’s three distinct levels. Each segment lasts roughly fifteen minutes, and I can honestly say that making your way through the Discovery mode (that is the name of the main mode) will take some serious skills. I started of doing fairly well, amassing a nice combo and feeling pretty confident. Then all of a sudden I was bombarded by off-screen pixels that quickly grounded me into the reality that, I suck at these types of games. Never once did I feel like the game was unfair or too hard, it just made me want to practice harder so I could nail each and every beat in time with the music.
Controlling your core is as simple as pointing your beam in the direction you desire and tapping the 2 button. The game uses just the Wii remote in a horizontal position much like the glory days of the NES. When you aim your beam in any direction you will see the light of your trajectory, and when you tap the button it sends a shock that causes the pixel beat to add to the song. Simple really, the confusion sets in when you have multiple beats coming from all directions, you really have to pay attention to what you are doing as things can get hectic fairly quickly.
Like with most any game of this type the more combos you nail, the higher your multiplier count gets. Blast it high enough and you will earn various levels of success. These levels are accompanied by some visual flair that really sets the mood of the game, as well as making it harder to keep track of your progress onscreen. There is something addictive about amassing a gigantic combo though, and the high score leaderboards always have you coming back over and over trying to improve your best runs. You also receive one bomb per level that can clear the entire area, but there is incentive for saving it. You can net some serious bonus points at the end of each level by not using your bomb, though I never found myself getting good enough at the core game to go without using my instant screen clearer.
Training your brain to handle all of what is going on is a challenge in and of itself, which makes some of the later stages all the more intriguing. There are times where the game will throw curve balls at you, such as forcing you to flip the Wii remote vertically, or even the quintessential boss fight at the end of each stage. These diversions do a nice job of changing the tempo of the game, but they also make it strictly for the hardcore, dedicated player. If you are wanting a simple rhythm game that requires little effort, then Bit.Trip Core is certainly not for you. You can also plug in a second Wii remote to let another player join in on the action. It is not as easy as it sounds as you will have to collaborate on which sides to take unless you want some serious onscreen confusion to ensue.
Visually the game is a trip, and no I am not trying to create a clever pun here. The throwback style reminds me of classic arcade games from the 80s, and this is not a complaint. I especially love when you start to fail out of a song how the game goes to a black and white template, almost devoid of music, and you have to slowly work your way back into the action. The simplistic design lends itself well to the game, and the music is truly in a league of its own. Combining modern techno beats with the classic sounds of “bleeps” and “bloops” is an interesting mechanic to appeal to just about everyone. If there is one area the game seriously stands out, it is presentation.
Bit.Trip Core is an excellent addition to the WiiWare library, and a great addition to the rhythm genre. If you are a hardcore fan of games like Rez and Vib Ribbon, and have the patience for repetition to better your scores, this game is perfect for you. The addictive nature and simplistic design will definitely please the old-school crowd, not to mention the classic visual style. For the low price there is no reason to give this addictive game a whirl.