A Bézier curve is a curve that runs between a series of control points. When you move the points, the curve moves too. It's a handy way of getting computers to draw bendy lines.
I didn't know any of that when I woke up this morning - and it's probably wrong, knowing me - but then, when I woke up this morning I hadn't played Bezier, a game that's absolutely in love with the Bézier curve. Bezier uses these curves to explore an interaction between digital and analogue worlds. The curves are right inside the heart of the game. "I use them in everything," explains Bezier's designer, Philip Bak. "The sound, the graphics, the story."
Béziers are cool, I think: a neat mathematical idea I can almost get a handle on, and one that will hopefully allow me to casually drop the term Bernstein polynomials into conversation, before staring out of the window with a misty look in my eyes. Thankfully, Bezier is also extremely cool. You don't need to know anything about maths to enjoy it. It's a hectic twin-stick shooter that has effortlessly swallowed my entire morning, and is probably going to eat up most of the evening too.
Let's set aside the story stuff, which I suspect is more fun if you discover it for yourself. At heart, this is a gloriously busy twin-stick with a wonderful visual style and just enough systems to keep you pleasantly baffled for your first ten minutes. You're dropped into a wide open arena, and tasked with blowing everything you see to pieces. More importantly, though, you need to take out a series of shields, scattered over the map, before a Judgement counter ticks down to zero. Get them all and you progress to the next level, where the whole thing repeats but harder. Miss some, and you're dead.
This makes for an amazingly tense game, as you hunt around looking for that last freakin shield while the judgement clock goes: 30 seconds, 29 seconds, 28 seconds. On top of this rising panic, you have the option to trigger periods of auto-aim, if you can handle the cooldown that comes with that, and there are also special weapons - with their own special weapon cooldowns - to swap in and out as you rove about. I like the one that gives you a little leash that you can swing around smashing into baddies. I also like the electrical one. I like them all to be honest.
Throughout all the fun, those Béziers give Bezier a lovely organic look, while the music shifts around dynamically, ranging from cinematic stormtrooper gravitas to something that sounds like a duck trying to clear its throat, possibly before delivering a big speech. Bezier's available on Itch.io and Desura, and it's also on Steam Greenlight right now, so do drop by and give it a look. Meanwhile, if you're wondering if it's the kind of game you'll be interested in, here's a quick - and very telling - exchange I had with Bak just this morning:
Me: Any starter tips?
Bak: I always put the first few upgrade points into the blaster. Turn up the music.