Beat Hazard is a top down dual stick arcade shooter similar to the classic game Asteroid, but on neon colored steroids. Its pretty much contained in a single screen and the game throws waves of asteroids, ships and space worms after you. Since its a dual stick shooter, the controls are easy, left stick to move, right stick to fire the direction you’re aiming. There are also bombs to clear the screen when it gets completely full of enemies.
Beat Hazard has a major twist. Your rate of fire is controlled by the tempo or beats per minute of the music. Not just your bullets but the enemy speed too. If you don’t care for the songs that the game comes with, you can play one of your own .mp3s or listen to Internet radio. The neon laser beams make the game come to life as more than a game. It could be a visualizer for your mp3 playlist.
Every song is a level. When the song ends or your lives run out, you see your high score and the game remembers how far you got and your high score. So you can play it again for a better high score or to go further in the song. I’d much rather have the game go from song to song than force me to start up a new game for the next song. There is a survival mode that will keep going song to song, but its just a single life.
The enemy diversity shines through in the game. There are simple ships that fly in long waves. Larger ships that take more damage. Even larger ships that explode into a hail of homing missiles. Still other ships have dual repulsor beams to push you around. Magnetic ships have dual rays that pull you in. There are segmented space worms, easier to defeat neon worms. It is a varitable feast. Not just that, but diverse bosses. Everything from huge space ships, gigantic worms to star fish that coil up their tentacles for protection. These enemies will fill your screen in no time especially on the upper three difficulties. The game has a way to keep your mind engaged as to how you can survive.
Every score that you have go to your level or rank. The score is like experience. You will rank up and get to unlock a perk. You need to buy the perk once its been unlocked. Not just buy it, but buy multiples of it. Then equip it. There are perks that give you extra lives, extra bombs, and increase score multipliers. Other things that can get unlocked are extra difficulty modes for when ‘hardcore’ gets too easy for you.
There are other layers of complexity to the Beat Hazard such as a risk reward system. If you don’t shoot a set amount of time your score multiplier goes up. If you survive long enough without dying, the multiplier goes up again. Before you know it you’re at 45+ of a score multiplier if not 100+ with perks. All the while enemies will drop things for you to pickup such as extra multipliers, money, bombs to use, power ups for your laser and volume increases. Its very risk or reward. Do you leave your safe corner of the screen, navigate through the madness to get your $10?
The game is kind enough that when you die, it litters the area with items to get you back up and competing again. That is a downfall of other games that if you die late into a game, your underpowered ship is useless against the high difficulty enemies.
If you get lonely there is 2 player and online multiplayer where you compete on a single screen against someone. Not just that, but the game will notify you if someone is trying to multiplayer at that time. You can interrupt your own game to play against someone. This ensures there’s always someone to play.
I say this game is well worth the $10 asking price.