This game might not be well known, but it’s one of my favorites. It was also the game I used to get my sister into gaming; since she loves music and will borrow my phone to listen to the music that I have on it. She’ll occasionally play coop multiplayer games with me now.
Just Shapes & Beats is a bullet hell style game mixed up with a rhythm game. The game is developed and published on Steam by Berzerk Studio, and there is also a Nintendo Switch port. The Steam version is available on Windows, Mac, and Linux, though I’ve only tested the Windows and Linux versions. The versions I tested played basically identically; I can’t see any difference between them. Both USB controller and keyboard controls work fine out-of-the-box.
Game-play-wise, the available story mode will run you through a tutorial level and three relatively easy levels before you get to the first boss. I’ll avoid spoiling you on anything past that for story mode, but I will explain some other things.
Multiplayer is more chaotic than single-player, with more things happening on-screen, but you gain an advantage since you only rewind a level when all players reach zero hit points. A player who’s been downed has a brief window where another player can rescue them, and they’ll revive with one HP. all downed players revive with full HP when you reach a checkpoint. Boss levels have no checkpoints, but you get double the hit points for the duration. You have three rewinds before you get a game over, but trying again is made very easy.
Challenge modes, both offline and online, work perfectly on Linux for me, and unless I can interest my sister in replaying story mode, online challenge runs are the bulk of my gameplay.
I recommend taking a break if you get frustrated though, even in story mode, the difficulty spikes up towards the endgame. My sister and I had to take one in the middle of trying to beat the boss that was literally four levels away from the final boss.
All in all, Just Shapes & Beats is a very enjoyable game for me, and if you like music, rhythm games, or challenging game-play, you may enjoy it too.
Just Shapes & Beats is available on both Steam and the Nintendo e-shop for $20, though some will probably prefer to purchase it when it’s on sale like I did. I recommend looking at some gameplay videos and listening to some of the music that plays in the game to see if it’s a kind you like. It’d be kinda dumb to buy a game that features a genre of music you don’t like.