The First Question you want to ask yourself before starting up Beat Hazard is "Do I suffer from epilepsy?" If so, it might even be dangerous to look at the grabs on this page, such are the level of strobes and visual embellishments.
Rising to extraordinary levels on the higher difficulty settings, it's almost impossible to tell where your ship is, such is the carnage. That's also when the game is at its best, throwing tons of enemies, asteroids, power-ups and big boss ships at you as your song reaches its crescendo.
Like Audiosurf Beat Hazard takes a track from your digital music collection - thought not M4A files, so be warned - and produces a game level from it. Unlike Audiosurf, though, there's no real difference between them, other than maybe some more aggressive flashing lights for faster songs and fewer during softer ballads and Brian Eno soundscapes.
The difficulty level is also altered depending on the brutality of your chosen song. Pick a Deicide song and the ruthless drumming will make your game incredibly intense, but stick a Bob Dylan strum-a-long on and you'll be able to breeze it, even on harder settings.
The premise of the gameplay is basic Asteroids fare, which, even after all these years, is still simple yet fiendishly addictive, so the idea to combine that with your own music is inspired. Using the keys to move your ship about while aiming a separate reticule with your mouse, it feels fluid and easy to play with a deal of sophistication. The graphics are superbly colourful and exciting too, with explosions, debris and lasers constantly lighting up the screen, sometimes to the point where you have absolutely no idea where your ship is or if he's (or she's) in mortal peril, especially when playing a speed metal track. However, the love-in ends there, because there's just not enough to it.
Rock Out In Space
There are two modes: Play, where you pick a track and attempt to survive until it ends, and Survival, where you do play through one song and the entire album it comes off. Sadly, that's all there is to Beat Hazard, apart from earning Steam achievements, levelling up to earn bonuses when you play, and getting on the online leaderboards. The lack of gameplay options is a shame and the hope is the developers will continue to support it with new material. With new modes and more variety to the core experience, there's no reason this couldn't attain the level of adoration enjoyed by Audiosurf. Beat Hazard is cheap, but for now there's not enough reason to come back after the initial wow factor from the visuals wears off.
Download Beat Hazard
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP