If a music visualizer met and fell in love with Geometry Wars this would be the result of their last tango in Paris.
When the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 launched a half-decade ago (wow, it really doesn’t seem like it was really that long ago, does it?), one of the big non-gaming selling points of both systems was its ability to hold your MP3s and play them in-game. That feature still exists today, but doesn’t carry the weight that it once did.
However, if you’re one of those gamers who enjoys taking advantage of this under-utilized feature and listens to your MP3 library on your PS3 and play games with customized soundtracks, Beat Hazard Ultra is one you’re going to want to check out.
The game has a variety of powerups, like the Volume Power Up, that does more than just increases the music volume, adding more visual feedback to the screen as well as increasing the power of your shots. You’ll also get score multipliers, cash bonuses, super bombs (a bomb that unleashes a wave of screen-destroying wickeness), and micro missiles a barrage of homing missiles.
Enemies comes in a variety of shames and sizes, from asteroids to an assortment of starcrafts and a vicious mini serpent (and its mom). Some are tiny and some are massive screen-fillers (like the earlier-mentioned serpent mom).
As you lay waste to everything on-screen, you’ll earn points and experience. As your experience points increase, you’ll begin earning perks.
Ultra Beat Hazard offers several different game modes. Standard Play lasts as long as your music track. It’s a one song “mission” where the weapons are linked to your music. The more intense the music, the more ammunition you’ll stray across the screen. The action in the Survival mode will last as long as you can. Boss Rush is the mode you’ll want to try if you want to get down to the nitty-gritty and take down the biggest guys in the cell block – just make sure you’ve got the skills to back it up, as you’ll experience a never-ending waves of boss attacks. If you want to take it down a notch, the aptly-named Chill Out mode is where you’ll want to go. The unlimited number of lives is great if you want to enjoy the game and its visuals and not worry being held accountable for playing wrecklessly, as you’ll have unlimited lives and all perks are activated. It’s also perfect if you’re a game reviewer and want to experience the game without having to play particularly well. 😉
Beat Hazard Ultra plays and feels a lot like Geometry Wars, with the a heavy dose of visual steroids. It’s good to play in quick sessions as I often lose track of my craft… and the incoming missile fire… and the enemies… and the power-ups once the action gets hot and heavy. I don’t really hold this against the game, as I get lost playing Geometry Wars, too.
Whether you’re in for a quick game, or to see if you can play through your entire music library, Beat Hazard Ultra is an enjoyable experience with a unique visual flair.
Currently, it’s only available for Mac, PC, and PS3. According to the game’s Facebook, an Xbox 360 version seems unlikely with the quote from the game’s user account stating, “No love from [Microsoft], so not at the moment.”
Simply put Beat Hazard Ultra is a twin-stick shooter, like Geometry Wars, but focuses heavily on the contents of your music library, no two playthroughs will be the same – granted you’re not one of those people who listens to the same song over and over again and over again. The more aggressive your tracks are, the more visually stylish the game becomes. That’s not to say that you couldn’t kick some serious ass to some Barry Manilow (and there’s something sort of rewarding, in a humiliating sort of way, to whip a space alien’s ass to the likes of Barry’s somber croonings of “Ready to Take a Chance Again”) or some softer music, as the game does a good job at taking any melodies and making it look nice. You aren’t required to play to only have quick-tempo house music or thrashy metal tracks in order to have a good time.
Beat Hazard Ultra also doubles as a visualizer for your PS3, but I recommend playing the game more than watching the visualizer mode. It’s reasonably priced and made by a small team! I recommend checking it out!