Publisher: Cold Beam Games
Developer: Cold Beam Games
by: Nicholas Puleo
Everyone's favorite music visualizer game, AudioSurf, has a new challenger, and its name is Beat Hazard. Like AudioSurf the game will take your music MP3s and create a playable game by decoding the beats, rhythyms, and bass of the game. The game however is quite different.
Beat Hazard uses a formula that's one of the oldest in terms of gaming, a twin stick shooter. Ever since the halls of Robotron 2084 we've been moving with our left and shooting with our right analog stick. Beat Hazard continues this by and also throws in some incredibly slick visuals. So how is the music tied to the gameplay? Your ships attack power is tied directly to the music volume, with the ability to pick up "volume" and "power" powerups that actually increase the volume of the track and your ships power. But if you hit a quiet section in a song, be ready to pew pew instead boom boom pow.
The rest of the song; the beats, melody, and bass, cause waves of asteroids and ships to be sent your way. Consecutively kill the bad guys to pick up multipliers and increase your score, and maximize how well you do on a level. The enemies the game spawns are few, with around six or seven different styles of ships - including two bosses. These boss ships are huge, and sometimes come in pairs, though predictably they seem to be launched after a lull in any of your music. Killing any of these ships results in some gorgeous explosions, full of color and particles. Every game has an epileptic warning before it in regards to seizures, this is one game I can see it being a real problem with.
Beat Hazard ships with a handful of tracks to complete, as well as leaderboards and a survival mode to extend the gameplay. Obviously the meat of the product is the custom tracks, and as long as you have a few dance or trance albums on hand you're in for a real treat. Things do tend to go a bit stale, but as an alternative way to listen to some music, you can't go wrong with Beat Hazard.