By Josh Speer / September 8th, 2017
Despite never learning an instrument as a child, I’ve always had a love for anything with a good beat. Rhythm games are my drug of choice when I need something relaxing to play, and I have been a huge fan of games ranging from Guitar Hero to Theatrhythm. So when I saw a multiplayer party game with pumping tunes and simple yet colorful graphics, I knew I had to play it. That game was Berzerk Studio’s Just Shapes & Beats.
The premise of the game couldn’t be simpler – as the music plays in each stage, dangerous things happen and your job is to survive until the end of the level. The only thing you can do other than move around is dash, which grants you temporary invincibility. And I do mean temporary, so don’t get comfortable thinking you can put on perfect armor for the entire stage. You’ll need to gauge the rhythm and watch for visual cues, as well as timing your dashes perfectly, in order to survive. Luckily, if you meet your demise, your friends can revive you by touching your geometric avatar before floating off the screen, giving you another chance. As you play your avatar will gradually gain health, which is important, as very few attacks will one shot you.
Visually the game is admittedly simple, but not in a bad way. You’ll see bars of colored light blare at you, flashing energy you’ll have to dodge, and much more. By far the best example of this was in a stage set to the tunes of the song Mortal Kombat. As the music played, silhouettes of martial artists will pop onto the screen, either unleashing a torrent of fire or karate kick across the screen. It was gloriously frantic, and a great example of what the game has to offer.
Most interesting to me is that Just Shapes & Beats also has boss fights. Yes, you heard right. The boss in the demo was a angry red circle who grows massive limbs to punch and crush you with. He also dashes all about and makes the screen erupt in maddening bursts of lethal color. You can’t fight him, your goal is to survive through the course of the battle, at which point the boss will self destruct.
I loved playing Just Shapes & Beats, and can’t wait til it eventually releases. On the Steam page the release date is comically listed as “Someday, god please someday”, though I’m confident we won’t have to wait too long. Once it comes out I will gladly dance to the rhythm, regardless of what consoles it ends up coming to.
Berzerk StudiocolorfulgeometricJust Shapes & Beatsmultiplayerrhythm