One of Paste’s favorite games of 2018 is coming to PlayStation 4 this week, bringing a slew of masochistic new challenges to its unique brand of merciless EDM-backed bullet hell. Just Shapes & Beats: Hardcore Edition, a “much, much harder” version of the original that debuted on Nintendo Switch last year, will take the well curated selection of irresistible chiptunes of the game and give them “an extra mode where everything goes absolutely bonkers.” It’s a promise to up the ante on what is already a famously difficult game, one where players must duck, dodge and blow through a constant barrage of shifting obstacles at an absolute breakneck pace. What fresh new hell will this reinvention bring and what can players expect to change? I reached out to the crew over at Berserker Studios to find out, gaining some insight into how they will be outdoing themselves when the game comes out this upcoming Friday.
The increased difficulty of the Hardcore Edition wasn’t initially the focus of the PlayStation 4 port; in fact, it came about almost as a joke. During development, the team was told so many times that the game wouldn’t be hard enough for Sony fans that eventually they decided to do something about it. Mike Ducarme, writer and developer at Berzerk Studio tells me by email, “As far as how the tracks are made harder, it’s really a case by case basis. Sometimes it’s more particles to avoid, things might appear faster, or it could be patterns that are different and more complex. Heck maybe we just removed all checkpoints from the Mortal Kombat stage and you need to do it in a single go, anything is possible! (Okay maybe not this but you get the gist of it).”
As for what it shares with the original, he says, “For now it includes the 39 tracks that are in the base game along with the new versions of those tracks, but for the future we still have plans for new tracks that will come in both versions.” Fans who have already purchased it on the Nintendo Switch will also be happy to hear that the hardcore mode will roll out on the console for free in a future update. The developers plan for each new track added to the game to come with a hardcore version from here on out as well. PC players, you haven’t been left out either. The game will also come out on PC at a later, but as yet unspecified, date.
As we put it last year, “Whether you’re a bullet hell aficionado who blasts through the main campaign in a few hours, or a fumbling novice preserving through each level by sheer luck, Just Shapes & Beats is the whole package.” The Hardcore Edition will debut on PlayStation 4 on May 10, 2019, for $19.99. Check out our full reveal from the Nintendo Switch version here.
Holly Green is the assistant editor of Paste Games and a reporter and semiprofessional photographer. She is also the author of Fry Scores: An Unofficial Guide To Video Game Grub. You can find her work at Gamasutra, Polygon, Unwinnable, and other videogame news publications.