BIT.TRIP CORE is the second game in the BIT.TRIP saga, and actually the last one that I played when going through the series. I simply didn’t think that the concept of zapping blocks to a beat was very note-worthy, but if there’s one thing I should have learned about this series by now it’s that you can never judge it based on concept. CORE is easily one of the best of the series, and is an absolute blast to play.
As was the case with BIT.TRIP BEAT, CORE’s story is something that isn’t really explicitly said and something that you only get from paying attention to the cutscenes and level names. Until I really paid attention to the level names I didn’t really get it, but just think of it as Commander Video’s first steps into the world after coming to life in BEAT. Like with BEAT, it’s definitely not important to enjoy the game, but it’s still cool to see an evolving narrative.
CORE has you in control of the titular core, and you have to shoot lasers in four different directions to hit beats and advance through the different scoring levels. It starts off simple by having simple beats come at the player, but soon enough you’ll have beats that split into smaller pieces and patterns designed to mess with your sense of rhythm.
Like every other BIT.TRIP game, it’s a simplistic concept that’s taken to really interesting levels and made to be really fun with some awesome music and visuals. Due to the difficulty, I don’t think I’d call it relaxing but it’s definitely a fun experience to have. The music in CORE is particularly fantastic, and something I enjoyed much more than BEAT before it, although it again strikes that balance of not really being something I’d listen to on my own time.
There’s a lot of elements that carry over from BEAT, but they’re also iterated on. The best example of this is the addition of a new score with super now being achieved by scoring enough beats. It’s a nice touch, and makes things slightly easier on players by giving them one more level before dropping down to the nether.
Another thing that carries over is the boss battles. At the end of each of the three levels you’ll encounter a boss segment, although I would say that they’re pretty uninteresting here. Rather than making use of the mechanics, you’re essentially just doing the same thing as before but with the framing of it apparently being a boss battle. Luckily it’s much more interesting in the rest of the series.
One element of CORE I wish was a little bit more developed is the bomb system. If you’ve built up enough points, you can press a button and instantly wipe out all of the beats on screen. The problem here is that you never really even notice that you’ve got it, and I ended up using it twice in the whole game. There’s simply not much need for it due to how fast the beats come and go.
BIT.TRIP CORE is one of the titles in the series that I’d love to get the FLUX treatment. I’d love to see an advancement of the mechanics here and have them taken even further, even if what we have here is great already.
Version Tested: Nintendo Switch
Review copy provided by QubicGames