MODE is a central game mechanic seen across all entries in the BIT.TRIP franchise. MODE alters the audio of the game and, as the series is heavily focused on rhythm and music, it's a very important feature.
As the player progresses through each level, they are rewarded with a MODE-Up, which improves the sound and makes it more complex. If they perform poorly, they will MODE-Down, which makes the music sound simpler and less resonant. Additionally, the higher the player's MODE, the higher their score can go, with the ultimate goal being to remain at the highest MODE for as long as possible.
BEAT began with three MODEs, CORE added a fourth, VOID added a fifth, Runner added one and subtracted one, giving it five, FATE added the removed one back, and also added another new one, giving it seven, and FLUX added an eighth, giving it the highest number in the series. Runner2 and 3 retained the same number of MODEs as the original Runner.
NETHER is the lowest possible mode in any of the games and signals that the player is close to losing. In NETHER MODE, most, if not all music is gone, the visuals become bland and monochromatic, and the sound effects become very cold and basic. NETHER appears in all games in the series except for Runner, Runner2 and Runner3. Runner's Retro Challenges bare resemblance to NETHER, however.
HYPER is the starting MODE of every game in the series. Throughout all of the games, HYPER is where you begin. Performing well will allow the player to graduate to higher modes, while doing poorly will drop the player into NETHER. In most games, HYPER has minimal instrumentation, with player actions contributing light, simple chiptune sounds. The visuals are plain and concise, making use of simple solid colours. In each game, HYPER will MODE-Up into MEGA.
MEGA is the next MODE up from HYPER, appearing in every game in the series. In MEGA, the visuals are made more vibrant and varied, featuring alternating colours and dynamic flourishes to treat the player when they do well. The music occasionally follows a similar chiptune feel to that of HYPER, but depending on the game, it can become completely different. In every game after BEAT, MEGA will MODE-Up into SUPER.
SUPER is the successor to HYPER and appears in all games except for BEAT. In each of its appearances, it almost always serves to augment the chosen sound and look of MEGA, usually adding a simple echo and other depth flourishes, while making the colours more vivid or smooth. In the games after CORE, SUPER will MODE-Up into ULTRA.
ULTRA comes after SUPER. It appears in all games after CORE. It's visual presentation often varies from game to game, but its audio improvements almost always emphasize the weight of the composition, making the audio more solid and impactful. In every game after VOID, ULTRA will MODE-Up into EXTRA.
EXTRA is the successor to ULTRA and emphasizes airy, gentle audio and a neon-rainbow aesthetic. In addition to being the cap MODE of Runner, its sequels, Runner2 and Runner3 also retain EXTRA as the highest MODE. Runner2 maintains the same airy audio, while Runner3 gives EXTRA a wider range of complex sounds. In every game after Runner, sans the sequels, EXTRA will MODE-Up into GIGA.
GIGA is the next MODE up from EXTRA. Its visuals take on a strong monochromatic magenta tone. Musical improvements aren't consistent due to the MODE only appearing in two games, and being different in both. It is present only in FATE and FLUX, and is absent in the two Runner sequels. In FLUX only, it is succeeded by META.
META is the highest MODE in the series, succeeding GIGA. It only appears in FLUX. It represents a solid dark gray text, as well as a red-white color with a huge gradient. As its the highest MODE in the series, Moding-up here will Acquire MULTI+.
A MULTI+ is a score bonus. After achieving the highest MODE in any given game, except for Runner, the score multiplier maxes out. The player can then continue filling the MODE-Up bar. Once filled, it will reset and the multiplier will increase by one. This can be repeated indefinitely until the end of the level.
RESET is an exclusive "MODE" in FLUX that is achieved by getting a MODE-Down in NETHER. Instead of forcing the player to restart the stage, it simply carries them back to the previous checkpoint, retaining their score at the start of the segment, minus their MODE and multipliers.