On the Venn diagram of gaming genres, shooters and rhythm games rarely intersect, with the exception of some oddball titles like Space Channel 5. But with Beat Hazard Ultra, shooter fans and music junkies now have something that they can agree on. With success on iOS, Steam, Xbox, and PS3, developer Cold Beam has created a game with stunning visuals and an impressive tie to music that everyone will love - their own. The beta/demo version for Android is available from Cold Beam's website now in a free APK file.
Most "bullet hell" 2D shooters look fairly similar, but Beat Hazard is nothing less than stunning. Screenshots really don't do the motion, lighting and colors of this game justice - push the Play button below to see what I'm talking about. There's a seizure warning before the game starts, like many similar Japanese shooters, and it's no idle boast. Epileptics should stay away. Controls come in two varieties: a simple one-stick configuration with auto-aiming, guns, where your only real challenge is to avoid enemies and asteroids, and a more traditional dual-stick configuration a la Geometry Wars.
Of course, the visuals are only half the story. Every element of Beat Hazard is tied to your own music: everything from the frequency of the enemies and their movements to the firing rate of your own guns. Destructive power is tied to volume (which you can increase with pickups) and other assorted extras. Slow tracks will make for a leisurely experience, fast tracks will fill the screen with enemies, power-ups, and bullets, bullets, bullets.
The "beta" version is more of a demo than anything else. It will probably become the free version of Beat Hazard Ultra when the game is ready for the Play Store. You can "upgrade" to the full version with a non-existent (and free) in-app purchase for now. Aside from some control glitches, it feels pretty complete. Try it out if you want to give your thumbs a workout... and your retinas a traumatic experience.