It’s been a while since being so confused with a game – especially when it’s a shooter. Without knowing anything for this Bezier Second Edition Switch review, from Thalamus Digital (them from Crash and Zzap!64) other than art-based apps and vectors, I jumped in head first, which in hindsight, was the best thing to do.
The game is a classic top-down shmup that slightly resembles Flow in its presentation, but is more in line with traditional titles in the genre such as Asteroids. It’s not that Bezier Second Edition is bullet hell per se, but it’s not a game you can glance at while building a model aeroplane: this requires focus.
But that comparison to traditional games is just a starting point as the game is almost a little avant-garde in its design, jam-packing a complicated story that resembles playing a shoot ’em up while listening to a radio play.
Bezier Second Edition Switch Review
This narrative thread isn’t overpowering and constant, but it’ll crop up in each zone, humanising your plight, so perhaps you can identify with it a little more? I don’t know. I like a convoluted plot here and there, especially ambiguity, but I found it hard to follow whilst playing the game.
It’s voice acted and subtitles on screen too, but you’re in the middle of something, so my supposed brain processed it in fragments. After each zone, you get to choose a path for the story, so let’s say that this one needs a bit of focus and repeat plays.
As for the game, it’s a classic shoot ’em up action in that you don’t need to learn the controls and can get into Bezier Second Edition immediately. It’s a twin-stick shooter, which I found out about ten minutes in, but the targeting system offers assistance, hence why I lived without it at first.
Sticks And Stones… Ouch!
You have free reign to move about as it’s not a vertical scroller. Instead, you’ll get radar notifications on your targets. There’s an auto-aim that requires cooldown, as well as a wealth of specials.
To progress through each zone, you have to locate and destroy shields – those things that on your radar., but they’re well protected, so expect to take some hits.
Unlike other titles, your health gauge is represented by ‘ouch’ points. Each time you’re hit, the word will show up on the screen. I’m a bit on the fence with this one. Sometimes it was refreshing, other times it added to the chaos on screen, which undoubtedly is to challenge you.
You also get oomph which boosts your speed, score multipliers and reduces weapon cooldown. The auto-aim is useful, but it overheats, so you need to let it cool down and/or invest in the upgrade options.
Piggybacking off these multipliers, the sooner you take out enemies, the faster you’ll accumulate a high score through chains. Through a bit of practice, it became apparent that you’d get bigger scores with the standard weapons over the specials, and from my perspective, the standard way of play was a lot more fun.
However, it’s always good to wipe them out with a special, and there’s quite a lot to go through. The most common one at your disposal is probably the freeze, but you’ll find your preference. The closer the enemies are, the easier it is to strike a chain, so coupled with a special that targets those on the fringe is a good choice.
Lead The Way
What you probably need to know if you’re a shmup fan is whether there are online leaderboards. Yes, there are. You have rankings for the three main modes: the story, endurance, and daily. I’d advise against looking at the scores unless you’re confident – some of them are out of this world.
Other than the three difficulty settings, you more or less have an overview of Bezier Second Edition. Now to pick out a few points that make this stand out.
I have a soft spot for any developer that is a) passionate about their creation, b) caters to their fanbase and on their level, c) goes that extra mile. With Bezier Second Edition, creator Philip Bak a.k.a. Niine Games (not the creator, or maybe they are?!) have covered some important aspects with the help files but has pointed out a few Easter Eggs in the game.
This adds value to the title, not just because of the gameplay or rankings, but the thought that’s gone into it with little nuances for fans to appreciate. It reminds me of Amiga titles (sigh, living in the past), and goes hand in hand with more recent fan favourites such as Super Mega Space Blast Special Turbo.
Take It To The Bedroom
Bezier Second Edition reminds me of those bedroom programmers that created some truly excellent titles, Jon Hare, The Oliver Twins, Jeff Minter, et al. The fact that they’re all UK-based is that’s all I knew growing up without the internet.
They’re legends for lack of a word. While Philip hasn’t paid me to say this, I’d accept a dozen iced buns and a bottle of Tizer. This feels like a game by someone who knows gaming and giving the fans what they want.
Bedroom programmer is an affectionate term though as this is highly polished with a brilliant soundtrack to boot. That doesn’t mean that it’s perfect – I didn’t like the Domus character with its angry emoji face, and the story was a bit hard to concentrate on. Externally, I’m sure I’d be into it.
Bezier Second Edition Review Summary
Writing this last (ish) paragraph, I picked it up again to see if there’s anything to add, firing up a ‘quick’ game. That was 45 minutes ago. You’re instantly in the game, the action is fast and frantic with minimal stress, so Bezier Second Edition is a title I endorse with a big beardy smile, B.O. and a lukewarm cup of morning brown. Time for a shower.