REVIEW: Beat Hazard Ultra

I really didn’t want to write a review this week, but I’m having the hardest time finding something to write about and I already missed last week’s post since I was with my girlfriend all week, so I’m resigning myself to writing a review. Here we go!

Beat Hazard Ultra is, literally, a top-down shooter (think Asteroids) with music. It’s similar to Audiosurf in one very crucial way: you can use your own music, and that’s one of the main hooks of this game. Combine these two qualities and you’ve got yourself a great time killer!

Atmosphere (Music/Graphics):

Beat Hazard Ultra has a very modern-day Asteroids feel to it. None of the models really stood out, but what does stand out are the effects. The game pulses to the beat, and whenever you destroy something sparks fly from it and pulse as well. Really, I could call this game Asteroids: Club Edition and you’d get a good feel for how this game looks. Now, the cool thing is you can set how intense the pulsing is: from 50% to 200%.

Don’t use 200%.

The only problem with the effects is seeing the enemies can legitimately become hard when you’re on higher difficulties and the pulsing sparks, the ships, and your ships fire (which, by the way, also pulses) all blends together in one huge mix of lights and enemies. It’s cool to look at, but not only does it increase the difficulty, but it will seriously strain your eyes thanks to the strobe-like effects. In fact, the game’s title screen even warns you that it has some serious strobing in case you’re prone to seizures. I’ve gotten a headache a couple times when I had it on 100%, but at 50% it’s much easier on the eyes.

The music is a not really something I can write about because you can use your own (except for one of the achievements which requires you to play all of the built-in music), but for those wanting to complete said achievement: I liked some of the music, but I’m heavily biased towards house/electro/etc… so the rock and metal songs were really unpleasant when I played them. I haven’t touched them since I got the achievement (even the dance ones), though, because I can play anything off of my iTunes library.

Gameplay:

As I’ve said before, this game is very much like Asteroids. You’re a ship that flies around shooting asteroids and enemy ships. Sometimes you’ll get a boss, which is a beefed up version of an enemy ship, which are fun, and there are ‘mines’ which prevent you from shooting for a few seconds. As you play, you gather “super bombs” that clear out the entire screen, multipliers for score, and POW and VOL power ups, which increase the volume of the song and the power of your ship’s bullets. If you max out both, you reach ‘Beat Hazard’, meaning you’re at max power and the effects are maxed out. It’s a very simple game.

There are perks which can be unlocked by collecting money (like an ultra beam or shield), as well as unlockable difficulties, which are, unfortunately, pretty easy once you get a sizable number of perks, but that doesn’t take away from the fun because the more difficult it is, the more the screen explodes with lights and sparkles.

There’s also a survival and boss rush mode. The boss rush mode is really fun because at some point you find yourself with 5 bosses on-screen, and they’re all huge – it gets really hectic.

There’s also multiplayer, but I haven’t actually played that mode, so I won’t talk about that.

All in all, Beat Hazard Ultra is a one of those games where you play a couple songs and you’re satisfied, but you’ll keep going back because you’ll want to play to new music you get! If you’ve got some cash to spare and love music, consider picking up Beat Hazard Ultra!

Score:

Atmosphere: 9/10

Gameplay: 7/10

Overall: 8/10

Just sayin’

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