OUR RATING 8/10
Bezier Second Edition is a neon infused twin-stick-shooter where you pilot the salve defense craft through a virtual void pack full of enemies. As you strive to defeat a big mean looking face known as Domus, the game features some high tempo gameplay and an awesome soundtrack to blast along too.
Your main goal in Bezier, aside from surviving of course, is to destroy enemies called Shields which spawn as you progress through levels.
Getting into the game, you’ll find a number of gameplay features which set aside from the rest.
To kick things off, you can take a look at the game’s rather helpful help menu to familiarize yourself with some of the basic gameplay mechanics. Though it’s not overly complex and you can pick up most of it just by playing upon starting a new game. You get to select a difficulty and higher difficulties affect things like enemy health movement speed and the damage deal, as well as the amount of XP and points you earn from killing them. In addition to these things, you’ll also link out different types of enemy depending on the difficulty you play on.
Diving into the game on easy mode, you’ll be able to complete it the first time, making Bezier a very accessible game for more casual gamers or those just wanting to enjoy the gameplay experience without having to worry about one wrong move ending the run. Bezier features the familiar twin-stick shooter set up where your left thumbstick controls your ship whilst the right shoots in the direction that you aim it. Holding any of the face buttons will activate auto fire which temporarily replaces your standard fire but you have to use this spurring glare as it will quickly overheat and stop working until it cools back down again.
The screen does look a little busy at first. From top left to right, first we have the Level Meter which will slowly fill as you kill enemies and leveling up grants you all sorts of permanent upgrades. A list of which can be found in your stat sheet on the main menu. Next we have the Ouch Meter and you can think of this as your health meter, taking damage from enemies will reduce the Ouch Meter and losing all of your health will end your run. But green ouch turrets which spawn every so often drop health pickups when destroyed.
Then we have the Oomph Meter which fills as you gather tiny gems dropped by enemies and filling this meter increases your score multiplier. Your ship’s movement speed and weapon cooldown finally we have the Time Meter that counts down to zero at which point the level ends. It’s important to note though that you have to destroy all shields in a level before it ends, otherwise it’s an instant game over.
Now overlaid on top of the play area is the Radar which feels a little unusual to start with but you’ll soon get used to it. Enemies are shown as red dots on the radar and you’ll learn to use it to group up enemies and destroy a bunch of them at once. Destroying enemies next to each other creates a chain increasing the score you get from them and chaining enemies also causes explosions which destroys enemies nearby with larger chains creating bigger explosions. In addition to the red enemy markers, the Radar also displays green markers leading to ouch turrets and yellow markers which appear leading to shields.
The game features a wide variety of enemies. Each with their own movement patterns and attack patterns. Some enemies even cause status effects, leaving behind areas which drain your Oomph Meter or mute you – stopping you from firing your weapons. As you play through the levels, each one of them is set to a piece of music and aside from these tunes being pretty awesome, the enemies you face also change as the music transitions between different tones.
Calmer musical tones tend to feature slower moving enemies while faster pair sections are punctuated by a barrage of enemies and it’s a really cool feature.
Enemies called Shields are large static enemies and they come in a wide variety of forms, each of which requires a specific strategy to destroy. You have some Shields which are orbited by impenetrable barriers which you need to carefully navigate inside of to hit them. Others have coloured cubes hanging off them and you can only damage the shield by entering the coloured area which matches its hue.
Some Shields have a tail which must be destroyed before it can be damaged. Part of the fun and challenge of the game is working out how to destroy Shields which you’ve never encountered before. After destroying Shields, certain groups of enemies glowing yellow orbs called Stars will be dropped and collecting these allows you to activate upgrades seen across the bottom of the screen.
The first two upgrades are boost which increases your ship’s speed and blaster which upgrades your standard weapon reducing its cooldown increasing its damage and eventually causing you to fire three streams of bullets. The next six upgrades has special abilities and to equip any of these you have to collect multiple stars with each star moving your selection across by one while the boost and blaster skills can be upgraded multiple times.
You can only have one active ability at once and each ability offers a different benefit such as freezing all enemies nearby you, creating a bubble around you which enemies can’t enter or firing out a barrage of missiles which damage groups of enemies as they explodes. The Firefly upgrade which requires nine stars to activate can also be upgraded multiple times and each level of this upgrade spawns a small drone which will automatically target and fire on nearby enemies.
Collecting 10 stars activates Enrage Mode which maxes out your Ouch and Oomph Meters, allowing you to dish out tons of damage and making you invincible for a period of time.
Once you get into the last 20 seconds of the in-game timer, the game’s main baddie known as Domus will spawn and his big angry face will chase you around the arena until the timer reaches zero.
You’re unable to damage Domus until the final stage of the game, so you just have to keep your distance from him and destroy the waves of enemies. They freeze after successfully evading Domus, the stage will end and you’ll then get to choose which of two stages you want to play next.
Bezier’s 14 stages are laid out in the form of branching paths with each stage featuring different music tracks and enemies to face. You’ll need to play through the game multiple times to play them all. After your first completion of the, game you’ll unlock Endurance Mode which challenges you to fight your way through waves of enemies. In each wave, new shields will spawn and you simply have to survive for as long as possible to rack up as many points as you can.
Completing an Endurance Game will then unlock Daily Mission Mode where you also have to earn as many points as you can in a single level and each of game modes have Online Leaderboards where you can vie for the top spot against other players around the world.
PROs, CONs and OVERALL GAMING EXPERIENCE
The mixture of fast-paced action, wide variety of enemies and an upgrade system which encourages you to save your stars for more powerful abilities provides a very enjoyable and well thought out gameplay experience.
Its high score system and multiple level paths encourage replayability. When it comes to visuals, while simple, this game didn’t disappoint. Unsurprisingly, there’s no slowdown on the Nintendo Switch in either handheld or docked mode.
Audio-wise, whilst the sound effects are pretty standard, there is some nice voiceover in the game explaining how the virtual world that you found yourself in came to be. But it’s the game’s soundtrack, which really stands out, features an awesome mix of electronica and classical music.
When it comes to the issues, there are really very few to mention. The biggest issue was with trying to press the face buttons to activate all fire, as well as aiming and shooting with a thumbstick. Although you can only do one or the other, it’s not sure why they didn’t just bind it to a trigger button since both the trigger and bumper buttons perform the same function.
Aside from this, the background in levels is permanently black and players might experience an unusual floaty effect sometimes when explosions knocks you back. It could also be nice to have faced some challenging bosses at the end of each level instead of just evading Domus until he gave up chasing you.
Overall, Bezier is a great twin-stick shooter and if you’re a fan of these type of games, it’s highly recommended. The quality and quantity of the game is awesome. Great soundtrack, tight twin-stick gameplay mechanics and highly addictive gameplay loop.
While writing this review dated 28th of January 2021, you can pick this game up from Switch Eshop for only $4.99 (previously $19.99).