Thursday, April 26, 2012

Beat Hazard Review

Released April 15, 2010
Developed By: Cold Beam Games
Published By: Cold Beam Games
Platforms: PC
           Beat Hazard, developed by Cold Beam Games, is at its core a simple top down twin stick shooter. Shoot asteroids and enemies to gain points to unlock perks, which help during levels.  After a perk is unlocked, it must be purchased by using money collected during the levels.  Some perks help to gain a higher score, like getting a bonus multiplier for surviving 30 seconds.  There are also two super weapons (enemy seeking missiles and an ultra-beam) and a reflective shield that must be unlocked.
           When starting a level you choose a song, any song, and it will inspire a level.  When and what enemies spawn, how your weapon shoots, boss spawns and wave spawns are all controlled by triggers within each song.  Every song is its own unique experience, but repeating a song creates the same level, letting you practice the harder ones.
           Being able to pick any song is amazing and gives the game a variety of levels limited only by the size of your MP3 collection.  Beat Hazard has a few built in songs and also gives easy access to some internet radio stations.  Picking a station is just as easy as picking a song from your computer.
           The visuals that the songs create are pretty sweet.  Each level hypnotized me with awesome.  There are a decent variety of enemy types, but there is not a lot of depth to the game.  After about 5 hours of play the enemies start to get repetitive. You can unlock new perks or upgrade your weapons and abilities, but each level will still be you flying around dodging and killing enemies.  To be fair, I don’t know of many twin stick shooters with depth, so I can’t fault Beat Hazard too much.
           Beat Hazard has an online co-op mode.  In single player, if someone is searching for an online co-op partner, a message will appear at the bottom of the screen, inviting you to join together to take on a level.  This makes it easy to find partners while still enjoying single player.  Beat Hazard also has leader boards, which are based on each players total points. It is fun to know that I am ranked 43,557, but I am not inspired to climb the leader boards by playing levels with the same old enemies.
           For what it is, Beat Hazard is amazing.  I recommend you play Beat Hazard, because regardless of the repetitiveness, it is still beautiful.
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