Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Video Game Review - Beat Hazard

Beat Hazard
1 Player Rhythm Game
Not Rated by the ESRB

HOLY EPILEPSY BATMAN. I mean seriously, talk about games that make your eyes bleed. But the blood is made of pure win and awesome.

Beat Hazard is an Indie game I mentioned previously.

The game plays similar to Geometry Wars, or if you want to go back further, Asteroids. You are a ship. You shoot other ships and balls of space junks, and try not to collide with them. The big defining trait of Beat Hazard is your weapon. You shoot visualized music. Like that stuff you see in Windows Media Player when you play a song? You shoot that.

Better yet, it works with YOUR music! You plug an MP3 (or various other filetypes) into it, and voila! You're playing a level where you shoot the music you pick. The effects are as gorgeous as they are seizure inducing. To give you an idea, I submit the trailer to you.

Yeah. Gorgeous, but don't play it unless in a brightly lit room. I made the mistake of playing in a poorly lit room at first and had a headache 17 minutes later.

As far as problems go, the interface to pick what music you are using is laggy and it takes forever to switch from one folder to another, and sometimes it can be hard to tell which bright stream of light is yours, and which is, say, homing missile coming to kill you.

The other critical problem is, of course, it depends on the music. Slower tracks don't shoot as quickly, and as a result you can get killed. So it really depends on the type of music you like. I love fast, upbeat music, so I enjoyed it more than if I say, liked slower songs.

As you play each level, you gain two types of power ups, volume power ups, and power power ups. Volume power ups increase the volume of the music playing, and the amount of energy your weapons shoot. Power increases how strong they are. When both meters are filled to full you enter beat hazard mode, which is incredibly powerful and beautiful.

As you play more songs, you earn points, and rank up to become more powerful. There's even a leaderboard if any of your friends have the game, or just to tell you where you rank worldwide.

I can't express how good the game looks. Even the trailer doesn't express how cool it is to see ships spawn and dance across the screen in time with your music. It has it's faults, but overall, Beat Hazard is a great experience. It won't be a game I play all the time, but will be one I probably revisit any time I get a new album, and have some free time to spare.

Buy this game if: You enjoy fast paced games based off a simple principle, but who execute it extremely well.

Don't buy this game if:
You have epilepsy.

Beat Hazard can be purchased here on steam for $9.99. This review was based off of 5 hours played.

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