Beat Hazard

Moby ID: 46217
Xbox 360 Specs
Buy on Windows
$2.99 new on Steam
Add-on (official)

Description official description

Beat Hazard is a single screen arena shooter where the behaviour of enemies, gameplay and visual effects are dynamically adapted based on the chosen soundtrack. Just like Audiosurf about any custom music track can be imported to alter the game experience. Players control a small ship and need to survive waves of enemies. Only one level is provided, but the ship's firepower and the opponents dynamically change by analysing the music. During slow sections the ship's weapon is very weak and only a few enemies appear. When the rhythm and beat is built up, the weapon will gradually slow stronger, ending in large gushes of lasers (the beat hazard weapon) with different colours and visuals flashing along with the beat. At that point larger ships often appear and they can take a lot of damage before exploding. Players do not need to match the music in any way contrary to other games where the gameplay is centered around sound.

Defeated enemies, and objects such as rocks and space debris leave behind a number of modifiers that remain persistent regardless of the changes in the music. These include power-ups that increase the sound volume or raise the ship's firing power, provide bombs that clear the entire screen, or grant score multipliers. Multipliers are also awarded by not firing for five seconds (Dare Devil) and every 30 seconds that are survived (Survivor). When the ship is destroyed all upgrades are lost and generally a few more tries are provided before the game ends. There are three difficulty modes and a survivor game mode along with sessions that consist of single tracks and where multipliers are gradually dropped. The overall score is stored across sessions and moving up ranks opens up starting bonuses and provides other types of benefits. The gameplay works best with tracks that have a consistent and fast-paced rhythm. Slow songs generally numb the experience through a lack of firing power and enemies. An online leaderboard is also included.

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Credits (Xbox 360 version)

6 People (1 developers, 5 thanks)

Thanks to
  • Russell
  • Piet
  • The XNA Community
Special Thanks to
  • Norman Hunt (For all the hours of testing and feedback!)
  • Rayan ❨For being great!❩



Average score: 75% (based on 15 ratings)


Average score: 3.2 out of 5 (based on 24 ratings with 1 reviews)

"How many stupid game design choices can we make?!"

The Good
The game is all about the visuals, not only are the graphics pretty damn good, but the way the music changes the colors in the game allows for some insanely beautiful imagery. Sometimes I just stopped bothering with the enemies and I tried to make interesting screenshots by just spinning around while holding the fire button or inviting a second player to help me with that. It's also pretty sweet that this game actually runs on my pc because I remember "The Path" running like it was carrying a block of cement.

I am a big fan of Bullet-hell shooters and this game is most certainly part of that genre, when things get frantic you will have to call upon every single bit of skill you possess in order to dispatch of the enemies without dying yourself. There is the option to unleash a bomb that wipes out almost everything on the screen, but you only have a limited supply of those and they don't work on some of the stronger enemies.

The multiplayer is pretty sweet, you just invite somebody and you can play the exact same game together without any limitations. It was also pretty easy to set up a game together and get started unlike Left 4 Dead where you had to perform an entire ritual before Valve would give you a server with normal rules. The only problem is that you and your friend both have to own a song in order to play it, but I guess you can fix that if you just have a USB stick go around the class room.

The boss-fights are pretty damn sweet and some of the most interesting I have seen in a while. I was playing "Keelhauled" from the band "Alestorm" when suddenly I had to fight a robotic octopus that constantly fired missiles at me while flaying wildly with his spiked arms. There are roughly six or seven different bosses when you play the Ultra version like me and each and every single one of them deserves the title boss-fight because they are truly a test of your skills.

The game doesn't contain any bloody or violent imagery (unless you consider seizure-invoking lights an attack on your epilepsy) which is a pretty nice change after playing Left 4 dead for a while again. I am just not really a fan of violence and I'd much rather play a game that is also meant for kids and that is where Beat Hazard scores a lot of points. When a space ship is shot it just explodes into debris and the whole thing seems to be a fight between robots and not some kind of big war.

The Bad
All the colors and bullets might make the game look impressive, but it doesn't make it very easy to actually play. The problem is that when things get frantic and you have a lot of power there will be special effects and enemies all over the screen and I can guarantee you that you will lose track of your own ship. There were several moments when an enemy fired missile and I just couldn't figure out if I was anywhere near that projectile or not. Me and my mates died quite a lot of times just because nobody knew what the hell was going on.

The biggest flaw you can have in a music game is allowing the player to go game over because that also ends the song, I think everybody can agree that it's annoying when somebody constantly ends a song half-way and changes it to something else and that is what is happening here. If you get hit a few too many times, you will be send back to the menu screen while the most logical way to punish a player would be to decrease his score (just like in Audiosurf). It's also pretty annoying that every time you lose a life you will also lose a load of power-ups, including music volume (meaning that the music is turned down). What kind of stupid idea is that?, it's a music game so stop messing with the volume and just let it blast on it's own!

In this game problems always stack up and while that isn't necessarily bad, it just happens way too quickly. I often ran into a boss-fight that takes quite a lot of time even with the highest power you can have, but while fighting new enemies would keep spawning. Also, if you fight enemies that fire projectiles and you want to get rid of their bullets, they will always fire again right after you got rid of their last batch. I had to use the super bomb way more often then I should because the screen just got littered with enemies.

The game doesn't work very well when you use calm songs, especially pop or classic tracks tend to be impossible. The problem is that you don't get enough firepower to shoot with and you will often be attack by boss enemies before you even get your first power-up. This leads me to believe that this game was made with a heavy-metal/rock audience in mind, but I have a lot of great pop songs and even some nice country and classic tracks in my collection that I just couldn't play in this game.

The Bottom Line
Beat Hazard is a great idea on paper and the part where the beautiful colors come in has been pulled off pretty well, but the rest is a bit mediocre.The most important part of any shooter is knowing exactly where you are and what enemies can hit you and in music games it's important that the song never stops playing, neither of these basic qualities is met in Beat Hazard. It's still a pretty entertaining whole and fun is very important, but the lack of polish is very obvious.

If you have a music collection and want something more action-oriented then Audiosurf, then this game is a pretty big recommendation. It's also pretty cool if you want a bullet-hell shooter , but don't go in here expecting something good, above-average is the best I can give it. Oh yeah, before I forget: THIS GAME SHOULD NOT BE PLAYED BY PEOPLE WITH EPILEPSY!!!

Windows · by Asinine (957) · 2011


Subject By Date
Dammit Foxhack (32100) Apr 29, 2010


iTunes and m4a file support

The developer released a separate piece of DLC for the Windows version of the game on Steam in May 2010 to play non-DRM iTunes, mp4 and AAC files inside the game. It costs around $1 and the cost is to cover the per copy license fee needed for the patented AAC decoder.


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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Sciere.

Linux added by Iggi.

Game added April 27, 2010. Last modified November 17, 2023.