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Review: Beat Hazard

Always a sucker for a good indie game, I had to give Beat Hazard a try. Not only because of its indie roots, but also because it takes a lot of inspiration from Audiosurf‘s winning recipe. Between epileptic seizures of my own, I decided to write a quick review on the game.

Beat Hazard is a top-down, classic arcade-style, space shoot-em-up game with a twist: The levels are created around the music that you choose, just like Audiosurf. This concept alone is enough to make the game endlessly replayable.

The simple fact that you’re playing to your music is what makes Beat Hazard so addictive. You may not need a plastic guitar or drum set for this music-based game, but you can still have just as much fun. If you want, you can choose to play the game with a controller (which I strongly suggest) because Beat Hazard has full support, even rumble! The game’s mouse and keyboard controls are solid and straightforward, but the game really thrives and is much more fluid when played with a controller.

Beat Hazard is one of those games that could be considered a digital staring contest. The game continually tests to see just how long the player can go without blinking. I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve paused the game just to bring sweet moisture to my eyes during heated battles. If you’re lucky enough, you’ll be able to pause before your next epileptic seizure. After the game’s day-one patch that fixed its crashing issues (brownie points to the developer for awesome support), the biggest issue you’ll run into with this game is that your music library is just not vast enough.

I’d be lying if the game was completely without issues: The game’s menu system does experience some slow downs when you browse a large music library, but nothing extensive, just a short FPS drop while the game scans the contents of that folder. There can also be large sections of songs when there is nothing to shoot, but this is often just the proverbial calm before the storm. The storm in this metaphor, of course, being the impending onslaught of evil spaceships that are begging to be destroyed by your hands.

Beat Hazard is a brilliantly simplistic and satisfying game with a nearly perfect difficulty curve that’s packed with Steam features like leaderboards, achievements, and awesome support from the developers.

Scores

- Graphics: 7
Like most indie games, Beat Hazard lacks a bit on the details. When you look closely, the graphics aren’t great, but there are plenty of visual effects and non-stop action to distract and make everything blend a bit better.

- Storyline: N/A
There is literally no storyline. Music, bad spaceships. If it makes it more interesting for you, pretend the bad spaceships are piloted by Nazis from the future.

- Gameplay: 9
With endlessly dynamic gameplay based entirely on your music library and leaderboards to dominate, Beat Hazard has some very addicting and satisfying gameplay elements. That said, however, the game would really benefit from a co-op gametype.

- Controls: 8
The mouse and keyboard controls are simple and straight forward. And if that’s not your thing, Beat Hazard features full controller support that even utilizes the rumble function.

- Lasting Appeal: 9
The overall appeal of Beat Hazard is a very love-or-hate kind of situation. For those that enjoy the game, there’s a big chance you’ll be coming back to it every time you get a new song or album, just to see how it plays in Beat Hazard.

Overall: 8 Olives

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