Bezier is a shiny twin-stick shooter, complete with all the explosions and mayhem that entails, and it’s very good at that. What it adds on top of that is a story told only in snippets at the beginning of each stage. At least, to start with. When it starts reinforcing the story through gameplay, the cruelty of the villain becomes more than just words.
The gameplay in Bezier feels really tight, even if the explosions can make the screen feel a bit busy at times. Every stage has a set number of targets, called shields, to destroy within the given time limit. Aside from that basic similarity, though, every stage feels unique. There is a huge variety of enemies with different behaviors and each stage has a different mix. The shields to be destroyed in each level also have a wide variety of protections that the player must figure out and get around and every stage seems to have its own unique background music, giving each of them its own flavor even though gameplay flows seamlessly from one to the next.
The level of challenge is also well-balanced, with the time limit being pretty short, but long enough for the player to learn the behaviors of the enemies present and figure out how to get around the shields’ protections before the bad guy shows up to toy with the player in the last twenty-ish seconds before time runs out. Small health and damage buffs drop from enemies and larger ones spawn here and there. A random special weapon drops every time a shield is destroyed and they all have different effects. My favorites are the guardian, an orb connected to the player’s craft by a string that swings around and damages anything nearby, and the tower, which stays where placed and shoots anything in range for a short amount of time.
Story-wise, the game is set inside a computer deep underground. Humanity moved into digital space at some point, trying to emulate Noah’s Ark to preserve mankind. They appointed a caretaker, Magnus Domus, but he turned out not to be a nice person. Now, the player is put in the role of someone trying to find a way back to the physical world, to get free, with Magnus Domus hounding them the whole time.
Sometimes Magnus Domus seems kinda silly, like when he tells you to “Eat bananas and die”, and he doesn’t look like much when he shows up at the end of each level. There’s one level fairly early on, though, where he doesn’t show up. Instead, the game takes advantage of player instinct to get them to do something that unlocks a new special weapon with an unfortunate name and a disturbing sound effect. Magnus Domus just laughs, and the game’s story starts to feel really dark. Developer Niine.Games says that “the deeper narrative pulls in [the main character’s] relationship between evolution and god, family and love,” and that moment is really the first time the player can feel that. It’s a sweet bit of storytelling that makes the narrative feel like more than just a wrapper for the gameplay.
Bezier is available for Windows via itch.io and Desura for just $2.99 and there’s a demo available on the game’s web site. It’s also looking for votes on Steam Greenlight.