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Bezier: Free Shoot-'Em-Up Six Years In The Making

Bezier is as odd in aesthetic as it is in name; a psychedelic twin-stick shooter with some sweet ideas and a focus on speed. It’s currently free in a beta period as developer Philip Bak tries to balance out the (admittedly steep) difficulty curve. You can grab it on Desura plus check out a trailer and my thoughts below.

It’s beautiful and more than a little wacky. For six years Bak’s mined away at it and, based on his announcement post that it was finished, gone at least slightly mad in the process. I didn’t get far into the plot, stuck on the third level as the required coordination outmatched my tired thumbs, but here’s the official description:

Set inside a vast computer built deep underground, the story traces the principal’s escape from this “Noah’s Ark” gone wrong. A simple shooter on the surface, the deeper narrative pulls in his relationship between evolution and god, family and love. These themes question his motives, force him to confront what is real and lead him to salvation.

I saw glimpses of this, but what impressed me more was the way in which it was transmitted. Booming voice acting over the incredible soundtrack, speaking short sentences that are also overlaid in text around your ship. The words popping up around you as you blitz around a level is ace and reused often to inform of power-ups spawning or damage being taken.

Each level is a rush to destroy a number of globes across it before a timer runs down to your death. There’s also health (or ‘ouch’ as it’s titled) management as the swarming enemies deal damage, modify your controls and/or drain your resources with every hit. One even begins to set up barriers around you as you fly, literally boxing you in. Kills drop orbs that buff your damage (‘oomph,’ marvellously), but much of this is lost whenever hits are taken, which is where the difficultly spikes come in. Success in Bezier quickly becomes binary – either you’re powerful enough to kill things very quickly and maintain it, or you aren’t and can seemingly do little about it.

It’s also possible that I just don’t understand it fully. These systems have a massive skill ceiling and will take longer than the fifteen minutes I gave them to fully understand. Considering it’s free and looking to remain that way, it’s very impressive. Bak’s planning to make eight more games to fulfil the namesake of his company “Niine Games.” The titles of these are up on his site and I’m quite excited to see what happens next–though hopefully it won’t be another six years.

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