‘Arcade action powered by YOUR music! Experience your music collection like never before with this intense arcade shooter. How will your music play?’
How many times have I told myself not to go nuts during a Steam sale? I always manage to grab a bunch of games that I look at once and immediately uninstall, but for all of those disappointments, there are the diamonds in the rough. Beat Hazard Ultra is one such gem.
The concept behind Beat Hazard is a fairly simple one, allow you to play a fun little Galaga style shooter while listening to your own music. But the execution is fantastic. You’re music doesn’t just add to the game here, your music is the game. Beat Hazard takes various factors from your chosen song and uses them to alter the gameplay. If you are listening to a fast paced electro theme then the enemies will be coming hard and fast, if you’re listening to a slow melody then the game will reflect that. The integration is seamless and it allows you to prepare for new onslaughts of enemies when you know that the song is about to hit the chorus.
There are a whole series of power-ups, and a number of different modes, but the meat of this game is just in the basic play mode. I’ve found Beat Hazard to be one of the best ways to relax after a long day, I just pop on some music and mindlessly destroy enemy ships for a while. It allows me to keep my mind partially occupied with playing the game while the rest of it can take a time out. Sometimes if I’m looking for a bit more challenge, I’ll throw on ‘Through the Fire and Flames’ and see how far I can get before being mercilessly destroyed by yet another horde of enemies summoned by a crazy guitar solo.
Apart from the music, which will always be great in your mind because it’s drawn from your own music library, the visuals are fantastic. There is so much going on during a fast game that the opening splash screen carries a big warning about the possibility of causing fits. If you’re disoriented by trippy visuals, then I recommend that you give Beat Hazard a miss. The crazy visuals combined with the addictive gameplay and your own music makes this a no-brainer purchase. I got it on sale, but it’s only US$12.99 normally, so it’s not a big investment.
What I Liked – Fantastic way to relax and zone out for a while. Simple concept, great execution.
What I Didn’t Like – The file browser is pretty cumbersome with a large music library.
Rating – 4.5 out of 5 (Extremely Enjoyable)