Remember Bit.Trip Beat melting our eyes a while back? Gaijin Games’ retro homage continues in Core, where the up/down Pong-alike evolves another axis. You’re the core, a stationary gun turret amid waves of pixel blips. As blips pass above, below or to the sides, you hold the respective D-pad direction and snag them with a 2-button laser jolt.
Like Beat, Core is more a rigid experience to be beaten than a game to be experimented with. As with any good shooter, finger dexterity is pushed to the max, but the ability to remember wave formations is equally important. Learning blip timings may be too mechanical for everyone’s tastes, but the process is strangely hypnotic.
And the better you get, the better it looks. Chain hits and the tame furnishings turn into a neon wonderland, blinking feverish colours. Catch a multi-beam and Gaijin bombard you with double the blips. As the screen floods with pixels, each searing an orange trail across the blackness, it’s hard not to be impressed.
Every hit blip adds a bleep, bloop or wibble to the soundtrack – yet more incentive to hit the notes. Fail to hit blips and the colour drains and the music dies. You can save yourself, but you’re doomed without the rhythm. This continues until you lose, then you do it all over again. A one bit.trick pony, but decent eye-melting fun.
Sep 17, 2009