Just Shapes and Beats is an upcoming game from indie developer Berzerk Studio. The game works like a bullet hell, minus the ability to fire back. The game is playable with up to four players and consist of the four players on screen having to dodge the pink colored projectiles coming their way. The movements of the pink projectiles are based on the music that is playing in the background. The activation of certain projectiles is based on beats being hit in the music, hence the name. The players can take a certain amount of hits before they lose and players can come in and save a teammate if they are about to die. The players also have the ability to dash, the dash mechanic allows the player to not take damage from the pink projectiles, essentially the player is invincible during their short dash burst. The levels are based on reaching certain check points every so often, if all the players die they are sent back to the last check point. Some of the levels do not have check points and if the player or players cannot clear it in one go they to start from the beginning, although they are granted more life than the check point levels.
The game was a fun experience, and definitely a game whose experience becomes more enjoyable the more people are playing the game. Just Shapes and Beats has the qualities of a solid difficult indie game. The difficulty of the game was not artificial and the player does feel like they make progress each time they play through a level. The music in Just Shapes and Beats, besides being very well done, adds an interesting dynamic to the game where the memorization of the background music improves the player’s ability to pass through the level as the music telegraphs the movements of the projectiles. The idea of a non-combative bullet hell is also interesting, adding a new layer of natural difficulty to what is already widely considered a genre based on difficulty.
Just Shapes and Beats is set to be released sometime in June 2016 with specifics still up in the air and the platforms it will be released on are still TBD.