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

Tiny Thief

Tiny Thief

Tiny Thief is definitely worth checking out, especially if you don't have access to a mobile device. The charming visuals and interesting scenes will suck you in and the puzzles will ensure that you have fun without getting bored. I had a lot of fun with this game and absolutely recommend it, especially if you can pick it up in a good sale. Gameplay: Not too taxing, but loads of fun. Graphics: Cute, papercraft style visuals. Sound: Loads of sound effects bring the gameworld to life.

Pinball FX2 – Marvel’s Ant-Man

Pinball FX2 - Marvel's Ant-Man

Zen Studios know a thing or two when it comes to designing original and enjoyable pinball tables and Ant-Man is no exception. It features an open playing field, plenty of challenges and some very nice visual elements. Once again this is a table that will appeal to pinball lovers even if they are not necessarily fans of the Ant-Man license. Gameplay: The table is a lot of fun and features plenty of challenges to master. Graphics: Makes very good use of the Ant-Man license. Sound: Good music and very decent voice acting.

Tengami

Tengami

The standout features of Tengami are definitely the unique visuals and great soundtrack, but the tranquil gameplay is also quite good. It doesn’t have an epic story or any action, but the gentle puzzle solving and relaxing atmosphere makes for an interesting experience. The game doesn’t have a lot of freedom, challenge or replay value, but it is quite enjoyable while it lasts and definitely leaves an impression. Gameplay: The puzzles are fairly straightforward and not very numerous, but interacting with the gameworld by pulling or sliding parts of the scenery is quite neat. Graphics: The pop-up book world visuals are simply beautiful. Sound: Features an atmospheric and very appropriate soundtrack by David Wise.

EVERSPACE

EVERSPACE

Everspace might not have millions of systems to explore or an open world galaxy of possibilities, but it does have action-packed dogfights, procedurally-generated levels, roguelike elements and stellar visuals. The end result is a game that is highly addictive and offers buckets of replay value. Like all roguelike titles it can feel like a grind at times, but with three very different ships and plenty of perks to upgrade, each new run is very entertaining. If you are a fan of pretty visuals, addictive gameplay and plenty of action, then you don’t want to miss out on Everspace. Gameplay: Very polished and highly addictive. Graphics: Space has never looked more spectacular. Sound: Decent voice acting, great sound effects and the soundtrack isn’t half bad either.

Marble Muse

Marble Muse

Marble Muse is a deceptively simple looking game, but thanks to the challenging controls and excellent level layouts it is actually quite addictive. It might only feature 24 levels, but the additional challenges and secrets definitely boosts the replay value. Players looking for something casual, but with a bit of a challenge shouldn’t miss out on this game. Gameplay: Well-designed boards and addictive gameplay. Graphics: Although not stellar the visuals look decent enough. Sound: The upbeat audio is a good match for the gameplay.

Scarlett Mysteries: Cursed Child

Scarlett Mysteries: Cursed Child

Scarlett Mysteries: Cursed Child is a new hidden object puzzle adventure where players take control of a young woman with psychic abilities. The game starts out as a quest to find her father who abandoned her at an orphanage when she was a child, but quickly turns into a paranormal mystery. There seems to be much less of a focus on hidden object scenes and mini-games in this title, while your exploration is also confined to gloomy areas such as train stations and factories. However, the Gothic style visuals look great and, while very short, the game remains interesting throughout. Gameplay: The story is interesting, but the puzzles quite easy and the overall game is very short. Graphics: The Victorian setting allows for some moody visuals, but most of the locations are not very imaginative. Sound: Standard voice acting and nice, albeit limited, tunes.

Leave a comment

twelve − 7 =