Beat Hazard Review
Beat Hazard is a twin stick shooter that can also be played with a mouse and keyboard. This is a well known premise, and the game adds to this design by including a pretty versatile music and rhythm game to it. You play music from a variety of sources, and these affect how the enemies spawn and move around. A slow tempo song will cause a minimal amount of enemies to spawn, and their movement will be at a manageable pace. If a song decides to pick up in tempo, significantly more enemies will spawn, and their movements become more rapid.
Music tempo does not just affect enemy A.I. More noticeably, Beat Hazard alters the aesthetics of the map. Once again, slow tempo songs will cause a colorless, calming environment to form, and enemy deaths, will bring in subtle to middle ground explosions. Fast tempo songs will create a spray of colors to flash on the screen, and explosions are so large and varied, that they feel seizure inducing. Beat Hazard even warns the player about this, suggesting that the game may cause nausea if played too long. I started getting a slight headache after about 30 minutes of playing, but thankfully the game allows particle effects and explosions to be toned down to the player’s choosing, which is a very nice addition the developer gives us.
What makes this concept so great, is how the algorithm allows the developer to not have to worry how A.I. aggressiveness decreases and increases in levels. Rather, it is the music that allows each playthrough to successfully create a introduction, a build to a climax, and then an outro. This is the true success of a rhythm game, which is allowing the music to dictate the pace.
Beat Hazard allows for several methods for the player to integrate their music into the game. You are able to take it straight from your computer, integrate a Last.fm account, or use one of the game’s built in radio station players to find the genre of your choice to just play.
Beat Hazard’s shooting has the same feeling as most twin-stick shooters that came before it, but it still feels satisfying. The game will surely give you some enjoyment if you have an itch for something else in this genre, just be sure not to play this game in the dark for too long, as it will guarantee to give you a headache.