It’s been a while since I’ve found a game like Bezier: Second Edition, a high score game where that “one more go” feeling keeps happening as you try and beat your best score and climb up those worldwide leader boards. Reminiscent of Geometry Wars, I was struck by the look of it from the trailers and screenshots that the developer released. And after playing it I’m pleased to say that, man, is this game good.
While visually reminiscent of Geometry Wars, it’s not just riding on that games coattails, trying to fill the gap left by it. It has a number of it’s own ideas mixed into the pot.
There are three game modes available, a standard level based mode (just listed as “Play”), Endurance and Daily. Daily being, as the name suggests, a daily mode where you need to rack up the best score in the time limit. Endurance also being straightforward, just play the game until you die. The main mode though has more of a level based structure. Similar to an arcade game like OutRun, once each level is complete you need to choose the path you want to take to the end. Presented with a grid you can either choose the left or right path until you reach the final stage and face off against the boss.
Each stage of this also comes with a time limit, and as the level progresses these “Shields” pop up from time to time and these must be destroyed before time elapses or it’s Game Over. Once these are destroyed however they leave behind Stars, which can be used to unlock new weapons and power ups. This is where some of the strategy comes in. Along the bottom of the screen you have a list of upgrades and weapons, the idea is that each Star moves the selection to the next one along, so the first Star you collect gets the Boost upgrade, and by pressing the left trigger you unlock that selection. But if you want something further along the list, such as a bubble shield then you need to collect more Stars to move it along the selection. It’s a different way of doing things as opposed to just choosing what you want to upgrade. And it does come with strategy. Do you put all your upgrades into your Blaster or do you want the more defensive weapons instead?
The game doesn’t come without its problems. The main one being that visually it can be hard to differentiate from what is essentially background noise to what can actually hurt you. Thankfully, unlike more of a traditional twin stick shooter, it’s not one hit kills. You have a health bar in the top left, with pick ups appearing as you progress. So it’s not the end of the world, but the amount of hits you take does appear to have an effect on final score and stats. The other teeny, tiny issue is that the “story”, which I had to understand from the games description is a level of pretentious I hadn’t really encountered in a twin stick shooter before. The game has dialogue, but it’s largely nonsense to me, or maybe I just didn’t understand it. From the games description, Bezier is set inside an underground computer and is all about “god, family and love”. But maybe the developer is intentionally making fun of it? After all, this game also has written quotes pop up from “Hans Gruber”.
These are minor quibbles though in what is otherwise a fantastic package. Much like last years Paradise Killer this could be one of those games that could end up as the biggest surprise of the year. And we’re only in January! Here’s hoping enough people pick it up to make the leader boards crammed with scores. I need new challengers!