Rez is a Japanese rhythm action rail-shooter designed by Tetsuya Mizuguchi, developed by United Game Artists, and published by Sega. It was originally released in 2001 in Japan for the Sega Dreamcast and Sony PlayStation 2, and was released the following year for both consoles in Europe, and the PlayStation 2 in North America. It was ported to Xbox Live Arcade (for the Xbox 360) in 2008, published by Microsoft Game Studios.
A prequel and spiritual successor entitled Child of Eden was released in the following year for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, utilizing the Xbox 360 Kinect and PlayStation Move.
The game had three working titles over the course of its development: K-Project, Vibes, and Project Eden.
Rez’s gameplay is a combination of rail shooter mechanics and rhythm game mechanics, wherein the player advances through four main Areas (with different musical themes) containing ten layer levels each, followed by a fifth area that requires all layer levels to have been accessed in the first four. Within Areas, three types of item may spawn: Network Openings, Progress Nodes, and Overdrive Nodes. Each Area is composed of two phases: the Infiltration Phase, in which the player fights through different viruses and layer levels, and the Boss Phase, in which the player fights against the Area’s Firewall.
The player has two weapons: a Lock-On Laser and Overdrive. The Lock-On Laser can attach to eight targets at a time, firing shots rhythmically. Overdrive, however, fires shots omnidirectionally at all on-screen targets for a short amount of time.
A limited Japanese edition of the game included a USB Trance Vibrator peripheral that pulses with Rez's in-game music and sound effects, with the intention of adding further immersion to the already visually synaesthetic game.
The world of Rez is set in the near future on a massively overpopulated Earth with society crippled by crime rates, and on the verge of meltdown. In an attempt to resolve the chaos, a new global network was created: Project-K, overseen by an artificial intelligence center named Eden. However, the increasing information flow confused Eden, allowing her to begin questioning the meaning of its existence and the consequences of her actions. Realising the power she possessed and trying to fathom the paradoxes that surrounded her, she began to shut herself down.
The player character and protagonist is a hacker unofficially named Swayzak, traversing the Project-K network on a mission to re-awaken Eden by progressing deeper through the system, and destroying the viruses and firewalls within.
Just over six years after Rez's release, Rez HD was released on Xbox Live Arcade, ported to the Xbox 360 by Q Entertaiment (Mizuguchi's company) and HexaDrive, using additional controllers to replace the original Trance Vibrator peripheral.