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Review: Beat Hazard

At a Glance

This game is recommended!
This game is not just good fun, it also stays fairly true to Christian moral values, making it a great addition to anyone's library!

ESRB Rating: E - Everyone
My Rating: Ages 6 and up
Genre: Bullet Hell / Rhythm
License: Commercial
Release Year: 2010
Review Published On: January 6th, 2017
Played on: Martha & Thaddeus

Available from:

Gamer's Gate, Humble Store, Steam

Save System:

Your high scores and Shadow Mission progress is saved when you return to the menu or quit the game. Note that you will be penalized for aborting a Shadow Mission.

If you want to just pause instead, press ESC during the game. Just try to get the nearby area clear of enemies and debris first, as you'll need a few seconds to reorient yourself when you resume.

Summary of
Major Issues:

As you enjoy your music, you're also shooting down thousands, if not millions, of hostile space ships. There's no blood, nor is there even an indication that the enemy ships are actually piloted.

The other possible problem is that you can use internet radio stations, and there's no guarantee what they might be playing.


[view screenshot]
Things get busy during a firefight

[view screenshot]
Boss battles get dangerous quickly

[view screenshot]
Selecting a new ship

Game Overview

Beat Hazard is basically a music powered shoot 'em up, and plays accordingly. You pilot a small ship and spend the entire game shooting down hundreds of other star ships, giant worms and glowing lights.

Now, by itself that's not very impressive. The catch is that the game is orchestrated by the music being played. When the songs get more intense, so does everything on screen. Explosions become more brilliant, your guns become more powerful and more enemy ships are spawned. Thus, the beat is truly a hazard.

To make things more interesting, there are a number of DLC packages for this game. These add things like new enemy types, new ships for you to pilot and missions for you to complete. For the creative types, you can even create your own ships and share them with others via Steam's workshop.

Points of Interest

Surprisingly lightweight
There are a lot of special effects in Beat Hazard, ranging from the brightness and color of your weapons to the intensity of the explosions. Debris is sent flying whenever a ship or other object is destroyed, and then there are the bullets and missiles fired by your enemies. At any given moment, the screen is covered with tons of fast moving objects, yet this doesn't seem to strain the system in any way.
Includes music to battle with
If you don't have a large selection of songs to play with, you're in luck: Beat Hazard not only provides its own soundtrack album, but is also features a list of internet radio channels you can try out.
Steam community features
It wouldn't be a Steam title without the Steam trading cards and achievements, now would it? Most of the DLCs add additional achievements, and the Shadow Ops DLC also opens up the Steam Workshop so you can play with custom ships people have made.
Multiple game modes
Most of the time you'll play one song at a time, but you can also try to survive through an entire album or go up against a gauntlet of the game's bosses.
Frustrating challenges
The missions added by the Shadow Ops DLC are occasionally very hard, and since there are very stiff penalties for dying, it can become very frustrating pretty quickly. While playing with different ships is fun, some of the missions are not.
DLC is expensive for what it provides
For the best experience, you'll want to have at least the Shadow Ops and Beat Hazard Ultra DLCs. The problem here is that this is rather on the pricey side: together, these DLCs will cost you almost as much as the base game, bringing the total up to about $20. It's very debatable if the game is worth that high of an investment.

Concerns and Issues

Photosensitivity warning
This game uses a lot of flashing and strobing effects, and many of these are pretty intense. While there is an option to turn their intensity down, you can't turn them off completely. If you have any sort of photosensitivity issue (for example epilepsy) then you should probably avoid this game.
Mild violence
It's not real surprising that a game about blowing up millions of space ships contains some amount of violence. There's no blood or gore anywhere however, so the violence amounts to just a very large number of explosions.
Internet radio may feature questionable music
One of the downsides of using live radio stations is that they may play music that you don't like. For example, a song may contain subject matter that you find offensive, such as sex and violence. If you want more control over the music in the game, stick to playing your own or the Beat Hazard album.