The above picture is of three guys. It may look as though it’s just 3 zany guys rocking some xbox having a grand old time. My friends, this is not true. If you look really close, gaze deep into the windows to their very souls, you will find that this is a picture of three sadists, bent on my destruction. Their new game, Bit.Trip Core is delicious, and yet, it will be my undoing. More just a click away…
I was on vacation when Bit.Trip Core was released. As such, I didn’t actually get my hands (my….digital hands?) on it until the following Monday. I was in a bit of a hurry when I downloaded it and only got one quick game in before I had to turn it off. That game, put a taste in my mouth. “What did it taste like?” you might ask. Insanity. I’m not sure what insanity actually tastes like, but this is what I would have described it as.
I, like many of you, watched preview videos of B.TC in action, like this one:
and I was thinking “wow, great new control scheme. Similar enough to Bit.Trip Beat to feel like I am in the same vibe, but different enough not to feel like I’ve paid again for the same game.”. This is a common problem with games today, in a recent conversation with Jason, I remarked that Super Mario Galaxy 2 doesn’t really need to be made. As rabid a Nintendo fan as I am, SMG 2 is paying again for what effectively is SMG 1. There, I said it. Anyway, I digress. Watching the video I thought “oh that’s pretty cool, looks like we’ll be using the D-pad this time to control that gray bar, and, as long as the bar is pointing in the right direction when the beat (are they called “cores” in this game, as “beats” were in ‘beat?) crosses it’s path, we win!”. Sorry, not so much the case, in fact the reality made me want to….no, not quite yet.
You see, dear readers, what I didn’t know about the game, the harsh truth that I discovered on the fateful Monday, was that you can’t simply press the direction on the D-pad the corresponds with the beat. No, that, as insane as the game still would be, would be too sane for the lunatics at Gaijin Games. This is a whole different beast. If Bit.Trip Beat gave me Tetris eye (and it did), Bit.Trip Core gave me severe sensory overload. As it turns out, not only do you have to press the D-pad button in one of 4 directions, you also have to press “2”, in order to fire. “Ok,” you might say, “no problem, just hold the “2” button down and keep the heat going”, sadly no. Pressing 2 give you about 1/10th of a second of beat killing goodness, before it disappears forever. Here’s my very first game as I remember it:
Yay! look at Mario running across the screen grabbing the delightful coins representing some amount of Bit.Trip. There is absolutely no way that this will negatively impact my psyche even in the slightest. Ok it’s done let’s fire it up. Man, I love this music, I really need to send Gaijin an E-mail and beg them for a copy of the soundtrack. Ahh we start the game by pressing up and a beat flies across the screen, perfect I….wait….it flew right through the bar. WTF? What happens when I press “2”? ahh it lights up. Ok, I’ll just hold down the 2 button as the beat flies closer and it’ll….wait….the bar went back to gray and the beat flew through it again……oh no, I am getting a bad feeling about this.
It literally took me 2 minutes to START the game. Then, I died almost instantly, I think I got the lowest score possible, at around 600 points.
To add insult to injury, as I was browsing Gaijin’s web site, I found that someone got a freaking PERFECT SCORE!
Anyway, my first time playing made me want to claw out my eyeballs and mail them to Gaijin as a testament to the futility of my first attempt at the game. I didn’t, obviously, and left it for the next day. The next day I had some more time, so I decided to devote it to B.TC. This time I got the game started almost instantly. Seems I’ve improved! I still died quickly, but my score gradually got better and better. in the thousands, then the ten thousands, hundred. After 5 or 6 games I made the lowest entry on the high score table, but I got a high score. Things just seemed to fall into place. After a few games the rhythmic beat-shooting just started to make more sense and I got better at the game. There’s a certain amount of genius to this game that is very satisfying when it clicks. It just took me longer to click than it does others, I can be dense, ask Jason.
I was really afraid that I wasn’t going to like this game after my utter failure playing the first game. But, as I continued, and the beat started clicking and my timing got better, my entire opinion of the game flipped. I know I am jumping on the Internet bandwagon when I say this is a great game, but there’s a reason for that. The deceptive simplicity of it and the great retro feel, combined with the unbelievable soundtrack makes this game worth much, much more than the $6 price tag. I don’t know how much the Gaijin guys get per sale, but it’s not enough. They have truly uncovered a rich gaming vein here, and I wish them all the continued success in the world. Bit.Trip Core is a great addition to the series and I absolutely can not wait to see what Bit.Trip Escape (I’m speculating here, I have no freaking clue what the next game is going to be) is going to bring to the table. Bravo guys, a golf clap for you.
P.S. Seriously guys, how do I become a beta tester?