REVIEW: ‘Just Shapes and Beats’ (Switch)

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Just Shapes and Beats

In Just Shapes and Beats by Berzerk Studio, music simply isn’t in the game. It has become the game, and it places players on a journey of discovery and courage, set to some of the finest beats in electronic dance music.

In the world of Just Shapes and Beats, the beat has gotten out of control and the land is poisoned, broken, and uninhabitable. However, the beat is also necessary to balance the world. That’s where players come in. You are a shape, and your goal is to restore the world through music. However, there is an unexpected twist; you are a lonely shape, that can dash through obstacles. There are no starships with lasers or weapons. There is only your skill in agility and speed.  This is where Just Shapes Beats becomes a profound music-listening experience, with gameplay mechanics that is revolutionary for this generation.

The purpose of each level in Just Shapes and Beats is to enjoy and survive the music. The level is created and played out in accordance with the music. It uses a variety of tracks in the genre of electronic dance music to create wildly different levels, with varying degrees of difficulty. Each song in Just Shapes and Beats is tailored to be unique to the music track, making each level completely different from the next. However, the goal for each level is the same.

Players have to stay alive, moving about the stage to avoid oncoming laser fire and obstacles. The shapes often take the form of monsters and vessels, reacting to the beat of the music and using that beat to attack the player. For some tracks, Just Shapes and Beats will provide a firm challenge that will require repeat play-throughs.

Fortunately, players have a health bar, so they do not die in one hit, as well as checkpoints. The stages with boss fights are incredibly thrilling, requiring players to pay close attention and locked onto their shape. Every change of the beat will change the level and obstacles being presented to the player, providing a  true white-knuckle gaming experience. Each drum, percussion, or rhythm can mean volleys of lasers or laser bars approaching the player at a rapid pace.

The gameplay experience in Just Shapes and Beats is absolutely euphoric. Simply put, there is absolutely no other music action experience quite like it. Having survived the Guitar Hero and Rock Band era, this one truly felt aggressive, powerful, energetic, and exciting. Just Shapes and Beats walks along a fine line between enjoyment and challenge, but it’s never frustrating. Overall, it’s very accessible to all players.

The tracklist, which features a variety of EDM artists like Chipzel and The Immortals, keeps the experience incredibly interesting throughout. The game is great for when you need a few minutes to rock out in your day, which makes its position on the Nintendo Switch perfect for when you need that sensation on the go.

Just Shapes and Beats features several modes, including a challenge mode, a playlist mode, and party mode. Party mode is designed for casual, fun gameplay which makes it for playing in large groups. Playlist mode gives players access to music they have unlocked. Challenge mode will challenge players in local and online multiplayer, including leaderboard challenges.

There are various ways to play Just Shapes Beats and whichever one you choose is bound to be a great time. My only shortcoming with Just Shapes and Beats is the ambition for more levels and songs. EDM, including alternations of the genre such as trance, drums, and melodic dubstep, expanded immensely during my time in school, and I used these tracks to study and get through challenging times. I would love to hear, and see, tracks from M83, Seven Lions, and Dance With The Dead featured in Just Shapes and Beats. Hopefully, as the game grows, perhaps we will see a larger roster of songs.

Just Shapes and Beats is a fantastic music action game that is far-reaching and immensely engaging for all players. Its inventive level design that fuses music and gameplay is simple yet extraordinarily rewarding and will keep players coming back for more. Berzerk studios has created a game that is extraordinary and that is a transformation of how humans experience music.

Just Shapes and Beats takes the world of electronic dance music to convey a visual adventure in which the players don’t just watch but play. It isn’t just a great game, it’s also a profound milestone in digital entertainment.

Just Shapes and Beats
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL; DR

Just Shapes and Beats is a fantastic music action game that is far-reaching and immensely engaging for all players. Its inventive level design that fuses music and gameplay is simple yet extraordinarily rewarding and will keep players coming back for more.