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.

From this site

8 Comments

  1. BrainFlush says:

    Anything that reminds me of Waves or Infinity Danger or Warning Forever is a good thing. This looks incredibly fun.

  2. RobF says:

    Ah, I tried a version of this a few years back now and I’d completely forgotten all about it.

    Glad to see it’s still being worked on and I’m looking forward to giving the new version a punt.

    • niinegames says:

      RobF – Thanks. I still maintain that War Twat is probably the best name for a game ever.

  3. Eukatheude says:

    Sounds exactly like my thing.
    Except I’m in ISP hell right now, so if it were downloadable as a single EXE I could grab it at work and play at home. No sir.

    • niinegames says:

      Desura’s site should allow for the installer executable to be downloaded without being a member of the service. If that isn’t straight forward send me an email (contact@niinegames.com) and I’ll send you a direct link to the beta installer in my DropBox. It’s around 80mb.

      • Eukatheude says:

        Not familiar with Desura so I didn’t notice the option. Thanks for pointing it out. I wasn’t even able to watch the video but so far it’s definitely intriguing me. Looking forward to blasting through it. Your nine games project is a very cool idea too.

        Does it play decently with KB/M? If not, I have a Ps2 controller + usb adapter + software that lets me emulate a ps3 or x360 controller; are both supported?

        • niinegames says:

          Short Answer. “Yes” and “It should” – Long Answer: It does have KB/M controls but, for me, it plays much better with a pad. I have witnessed people play with KB/M and play well. Regarding compatibility, the game reads the standard pad controls coming from DirectInput. My x360 pad works fine. I haven’t tried others but I’d be quite surprised if they didn’t adhere to the standard protocols for such devices. Best way to see would be try it out. If it doesn’t work, please throw me an email and I’ll pontificate on what do to next. Thanks.

  4. trjp says:

    Gave this a whirl and there’s much to like but it errs slightly on the side of “too much shit on the screen you don’t know if it will kill you or not”

    This coming from someone who plays Beat Hazard with the visual feedback turned UP – I don’t mind busy but I need a clearer idea of what’s collectable, what’s harmless and what will damage me…