Bit.Trip Core: Thumb Pain Is Worth It

By Louise Yang . August 9, 2009 . 10:45am


Remember in the old days of the NES when you’d play for hours despite the stabbing pain in your thumb thanks to the awfully sharp NES d-pad? Well, those days have returned thanks to Gaijin Game’s Bit.Trip Core, their latest game in the Bit.Trip series.


In Bit.Trip Beat, players control a paddle in a colorful and rhythmic game of pong. In Bit.Trip Core the paddle is replaced with a crosshair. Players hold the Wiimote in a horizontal position and by pressing one of the four directions on the d-pad at the same time as they press button 2, they can zap beats that fly toward zap zones. This sounds confusing on paper, but believe me, it’s simple.


But wait, that doesn’t mean the game is simple. No way. The game is brutal not just on your thumb because of the Wiimote’s dpad, but brutal in general difficulty. Like the shmup games of yesteryear, pattern memorization is key to getting further into the game.




During my first half our of the game, I was struggling to make sense of the movement of the beats as they appeared on screen. They would move in one way during one duration, then move in a completely different way the next. It didn’t dawn on me until after my third game over that the beats don’t always follow the same movement paths. As I said, pattern memorization is key.


Once that was squared away with, I found myself zoning out to the game. Being able to just let your mind go and let your fingers take over makes the game multitudes less frustrating. There were times where I wasn’t even thinking of what I needed to do, yet my fingers were still doing the right things. When the game “levels up” and more of the music comes through, it feels pretty groovy. Oddly enough, when I’m doing badly and the game de-evolves into simple black and white, it still feels good.


Bit.Trip Core is a fantastic addition and level up to the series. From what I’ve seen in videos of Beat, Core is more difficult but also more rewarding. Fans of the first one will certainly enjoy this game. Players who are new may feel lost at first, but just let go and give the game time click.

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  • MadMirko

    More difficult? I’m so there. This series is a wonderful example of how a low barrier of (developer-)entry is a boon to gamers.

    Gaijin Games, there is lots of beer where I am from, and it’s on me. ;)

  • That’s why I love these games. They don’t play around.
    You wouldn’t think it would be difficult since you assume all you do is press the pad down and hit the button when the balls aligns with it – but it is!
    I think they could have gotten away with 4-players. That why you sucker-punch your friend when they screw up.

    Also, Aksys and Gaijin Games are looking for feedback on the Bit. Trip. games, so if you want to let them know about something you know where to find them.

    • You know, I would have thought that the game would be easier with 2p, but for me it’s harder. It’s easy to keep track of the beat when I’m on my own, but with 2P, I get distracted and forget to press a button when it’s my turn.

      • That always seems to be my case with any rhythm game. I prefer/enjoy solo mode much more. Taiko no Tatsujin can be so hard when you’re playing with someone as a 2P and they don’t know how to play. xD

  • I may purchase this today. I loved Beat. When you say you hold the Wii-mote horizontal, this has nothing to do with motion sensors I hope, right? It was fun in Beat but it doesn’t sound like it would be necessary in this game. By the description it sounds like it’s obviously not included.

    Thanks for the description, Louise. This’ll be something in the shooter genre that may pull me from Dodonpachi Dai Ou Jou for a bit.

    • Yeah, nothing to do with the sensors. You just hold it horizontally because that’s how the d-pad is oriented.

      Bit.Trip.Core is definitely a different type of shooter than Dondonpachi. I’d classify it more as a rhythm game than shooter.

      • Oh yeah, I knew that (didn’t mean to suggest so), just tossing out there that I need something that can absorb my senses as much as DDP does; this looks like it can do it! =)

        Thanks a bunch for the article as I enjoyed “Beat” a ton.

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