Please Rate this Review: Beat Hazard
High: failing to find a song that is not fun to play
Low: trying to play the game with a podcast
WTF: is that debris, a bullet, or an explosion?
Beat Hazard is top-down shooter you can get on Steam for ten bucks, and for one extra dollar you can get Itunes compatibility. In Beat Hazard, you play as a spaceship, and your goal is to destroy asteroids and other spaceships. It is unique in that it uses the rhythm, beat, volume, and melody of your music to create sequences of enemies, meaning that each song that you play with will create a new level.
These levels can be played with a standard mouse, but I used a wired Xbox 360 controller, which fit the game perfectly. Move your ship with the left analog stick and fire with the right. Unleash bombs with the right trigger. It all controls very smoothly and feels good in your hands.
Regardless of what kind of controller you use, control of your weapons is centered around the volume of your music; if the song is at a "loud" part, then your guns are more powerful, but there are also power-ups you can get to increase your power, volume, and score multiplier. There is also a "daredevil" mechanic, which rewards you with more points for not shooting for a few seconds, which adds a bit of strategy for those who want to get a high score. Normally, I'm not a score or achievements junkie, but I often found myself replaying a song and challenging my friends to do the same to see how many points we could get.
You and your friends will love the visual style. It is very engaging, but it is slightly flawed in the fact that sometimes explosions and effects cover large amounts of the screen, especially when you kill a boss. It is not a huge problem, but sometimes you won't know what is going on for a moment or two.
Despite this flaw, the most important reason you should buy Beat Hazard is that it is an amazing way to experience music. Regardless of whether you're playing rock, jazz, classical, pop, or any genre of music you can think of, Beat Hazard is fun. In loud songs, the extra power and visual effects of your guns perfectly complements the song's attitude. In soft songs, the smoothness with which your spaceship glides across the screen creates an elegant feel that the game never seems to get wrong. Nearly every song in your library will elicit a good emotion while played in Beat Hazard. The only tracks that I didn't have fun with were podcasts and songs that were less than two minutes long, but that cannot be considered as a knock against the game since those types of tracks were not meant for creating hazardous beats (see what I did there?). Furthermore, there is something really cool about experimenting and asking yourself "does this song have the length and volume to allow me to score 5 million points?" Discovering which songs are best for the game is a thrill that never gets old.
The whole program is only about 32 mb in size, and at ten (eleven) dollars, I can't think of a reason not to get it. This simple yet addictive concept belongs in your Steam library. My only regret is that I don't own more music.
Disclosures: This game was downloaded directly from Steam and reviewed on a PC.
Parents: Nothing unacceptable to note here visually, but if there is explicit language in the song you're playing, Beat Hazard will not censor it for you.
Deaf and Hard of Hearing: You could still reasonably play this game, since there are visual indicators of the song's "loudness" at any given point in time.
Last edited by Zarmaka; 07-30-2010 at 12:21 PM.