Beat Hazard
Gameplay 8
Graphics 8
Sound 8

If you are tired of boring licensed tracks by bands you’ve never heard of and dull brown shooters then Beat Hazard is a revelation. The ability to play to your own music collection is nice and the visuals, while over the top, are certainly colorful. It’s not something you are going to be constantly playing, but you will find yourself coming back to it.

Gameplay: As long as you have music you’ll have fun.

Graphics: Retina searing bursts of color.

Sound: Depending on your taste this is obviously the best part of the game

Summary 8.0 Great
Gameplay 0
Graphics 0
Sound 0
Summary rating from user's marks. You can set own marks for this article - just click on stars above and press "Accept".
Accept
Summary 0.0 Terrible

Beat Hazard

Developer: Cold Beam Games | Publisher: Cold Beam Games | Release Date: 2010 | Genre: Action / Casual / Indie | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

When I first laid eyes on Beat Hazard it looked like some glorified amalgamation of Asteroids and Geometry Wars. Its gimmick of generating enemy patterns and firepower according to whatever song is playing sounded intriguing and the price reasonable so I decided to give this Indie title a shot.

Firstly those folks that are prone to seizures better heed the warning at the start of the game. This game takes full screen strobing effects to new levels and after playing for a while it will feel like you’ve been stabbed in the eyes with a rainbow. At times there’s so much color and activity onscreen that it is virtually impossible to see what is going on. The game is a single screen shooter with swirling smoke and sparkling nebulas in the background while your ship mows down waves of foes through the power of music. Your weapon intensity (and enemy density) is linked to the song playing in the background so this is your excuse to break out some loud music. Slow, mellow songs will work too, but you are just making life harder for yourself. The game has online leaderboards that record your score along with the song you got it on so if you are hell bent on playing at insane difficulty to the soothing strains of pan flutes it will be immortalized for other players to envy. For the sad few individuals that somehow have no audio ripped to their PC there is a few pack in tracks to play with.

What I like about Beat Hazard is that each track is unique but not random. Playing the same song again will result in the same experience so you can actually practice tracks and get better at them. A progress bar at the top of the screen shows the song length and you need to stay alive for its duration while racking up a highscore. Destroyed enemies drop power-ups like score multipliers, “volume” and weapon power. You’ll also rank up while playing (according to your score) and these ranks are persistent along with their benefits so you’ll have a reason to keep coming back for more. Survival mode lets you try your hand at playing through an entire album, which is no mean feat considering you won’t get any extra lives while playing. A limited amount of super bombs are your friend as triggering these will clear the screen of foes giving you some breathing room. While these replenish it is still a good idea to save them for desperate situations.

To make life even harder for you is the big motherships that sometimes make an appearance. They take a beating and can fill the screen with projectiles and laser beams, but the bounty of power-ups revealed when you split them open like a piñata makes them welcome targets. Another nuisance is the junk asteroids floating around as they will break apart into millions of little pieces that further clutter up the screen. Enemy projectiles can also sometimes become lost in the psychedelic mess which further decreases your chances of survival.

If all of this sounds too exhausting you can always try the “Chillout” mode that gives you unlimited lives but don’t expect to make it to the leaderboards. There’s even a two player mode if you want a friend to join in on the carnage. If simply beating your own scores or making it to the leaderboards isn’t enough there’s a few Steam achievements to aim for as well.

Beat Hazard is perfectly playable with a keyboard and mouse, but those that want the true “twin stick” shooter experience can play with a Xbox360 or compatible controller. Regardless of your preference everything controls very smoothly. The limited amount of enemy ship designs can lead to a feeling of repetitiveness and there’s only a handful of mothership types as well. Until you reach high enough ranks where you start with full “volume” power-ups songs start out very soft and requires pickups to boost. This can be a bit annoying if you want to listen to your tunes at full blast.

The music is obviously the highlight of the game and only limited to your collection. The way the songs are analyzed and interpreted looked like it works perfectly to me and the action onscreen always matched what was coming through the speakers. You’ll will come to dread the sudden lulls in loud songs, especially if you hear the warning klaxon signifying the eminent appearance of a mothership (or two!)

I know some people are probably going to take one look at this game and declare it unplayable but it will be their loss. Beat Hazard is a challenging and addictive shooter albeit one that’s a little punishing on the eyes. For the price it’s being sold at, you can’t go wrong either.

*Review originally published in 2010.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows XP/Vista/Win 7
  • Processor: 2.0GHz processor
  • Memory: 512+MB of RAM
  • Hard Drive: 40+MB of free hard drive space
  • Graphics: 256MB of video memory
  • Sound: DirectX-compatible sound
  • DirectX®: 9 or later
  • OS: OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.3, or later.
  • Processor: Intel
  • Memory: 512 MB RAM
  • Hard Disk Space: 250mb HD space
  • OS: Ubuntu Linux 12.04 LTS or equivalent
  • Processor: x86 1.5 GHz
  • Memory: 512 MB RAM
  • Hard Disk Space: 250mb HD space

Related posts

Legacy of Dorn: Herald of Oblivion

Legacy of Dorn: Herald of Oblivion

Legacy of Dorn is a thrilling chapter in the Warhammer 4000 saga and packs a very engrossing story. The game also makes the most of the license by packing the space hulk with all the major foes. Space Marines are designed for combat and Legacy of Dorn certainly doesn’t disappoint in this regard either. It is still a gamebook though, so if you don’t like reading or expect cutting edge visuals it is better to steer clear. Everyone else should definitely let their imagination run wild with this title. Gameplay: The story is fast paced and thrilling although a little jargon heavy at times. Graphics: Atmospheric, but mostly text and not that easy on the eyes due to the color scheme. Sound: The game features no speech, but the ambient soundtrack is fitting and unobtrusive.

Back To Bed

Back To Bed

The interesting visuals and surreal atmosphere of Back to Bed are definitely highlights, but the gameplay is also quite addictive. It is not as challenging as some other titles in the genre, but there is some added longevity in the form of a "Nightmare" mode. The puzzle solving is rather straightforward despite the odd landscapes, but overall the game is very enjoyable and well worth the very low asking price. Gameplay: Features some nice brainteasers. Graphics: Surrealistic to say the least. Sound: Fits the dreamlike atmosphere of the game perfectly.

Pixel Puzzles 2: Birds

Pixel Puzzles 2: Birds

Decaying Logic definitely didn’t rest on their laurels with this one as it improves on its predecessors in numerous areas. The ability to rotate puzzle pieces allows for a greater challenge and the auto-save feature for individual puzzles is definitely helpful. Other additions, such as the bottom tray, zoom feature and increased area for floating puzzle pieces also adds to the enjoyment. Gameplay. A return to the calm and relaxing atmosphere of Pixel Puzzles: Japan, but now with an even bigger challenge. Graphics: Great if you are a fan of birds. Sounds: Tranquil and relaxing audio. Buy Pixel Puzzles 2: Birds From Green Man Gaming Pixel Puzzles 2: Birds

Indiana Jones® and the Fate of Atlantis™

Indiana Jones® and the Fate of Atlantis™

This is obviously a must-have title for Indiana Jones and Point & Click Adventure fans alike. Although showing its age it's still a great game from a company that was at the pinnacle of the genre back in their heyday. No self respecting adventure gamer should pass up on this one. Gameplay: Pure point & click goodness. Graphics: Pretty good back in the day but obviously dated now. Sound: A nice soundtrack and good effects for the time.

Caladrius Blaze

Caladrius Blaze

Take to the skies as one of eight different characters and blast your enemies to bits in this vertically scrolling shooter. It is a little heavy on fan service and the visuals have not aged as well as we would have liked, but in terms of gameplay, Caladrius Blaze is still a very solid shooter. It has got plenty of modes as well as an adjustable challenge that makes it accessible to players of all skill levels. The game does have a couple of issues, so make sure you know about these before purchasing. Gameplay: As challenging as you want it to be and quite addictive to boot. Graphics: Nice character designs and plenty of fan service, but the 3D textures really show their age. Sound: Japanese voice overs as well as some nice background tunes.

Xpand Rally

Xpand Rally

Awesome graphics if you have the hardware to run it and some challenging gameplay makes this one a winner if you are a rally fan. While Colin McRae still beats it when it comes to pure entertainment but if you are a rally purist then get this. Gameplay: Good but not for the easily bored. Graphics: Great looking cars and tracks. Sound: Average

Leave a comment

six + 15 =