Sometimes, all it takes is one mechanic, done incredibly well to convince gamers that there may be something good is in the works. Just Shapes & Beats, a rhythm game in development by the three-man team at Berzerk Studio may be just that. The simplest of concepts, combined with challenging solo and co-op gameplay made for one of my favorite experiences on the PlayStation Experience floor.
Just Shapes & Beats is about, well shapes and beats. Players control a small shape (triangle, circle, etc.). The goal is to navigate their shape across levels that are set to various, instrumental music tracks. As the music of the level plays, the beat of the song will generate pink obstacles that players must avoid. Early in the level, these obstacles were as simple as rectangles flying across the screen. However, as the beat picked up, things quickly got out of control. A large circle, with smaller circles for arms quickly enveloped much of the screen. While swinging its arms around in a crazy fashion, it also released smaller pink circles in every direction, think an asteroid exploding in Asteroids. As the music and beat changed, so did the barriers that were thrown my way. In the one level I played, the funky electronic music threw all kinds of pink shapes my way that I had to contend with.
Along with basic movement, the only tool at my disposal was a quick dash. While dashing, my shape was invulnerable to the pink shapes. This allowed me to dash through pink objects, creating clever ways to escape difficult situations. However, even with the dash, there is an incredible level of challenge to the game. Early on, I was trying to simply to react to what I saw, and was getting hit early and often. Once I started to pay attention to the music, it allowed me to better anticipate when, and potentially where the pink shapes would come from. After playing solo for a bit, I was joined by another player for a co-op level (the game can be played with up to four players). In co-op, you have the ability to revive your teammates if they take too many hits from the pink shapes.
Just Shapes & Beats isn’t going to blow anyone away with deep systems or storytelling. However, it was one of the most, if not challenging games that I experienced at PlayStation Experience. At this time, there is no release date for the game. According to the developers, they hope to have it out sometime in 2018. Click here to check out more from the game and check out the trailer below: