Well my first review for N4G that wasn't originally made on my Gamespot or Scribd accounts. Here goes nothing.
Beat Hazard is another one of the many games popping up on Steam (and Xbox 360) that uses the music that is stored on your hard drive to make the gameplay. In this case depending on how loud, the tempo, and how many beats are in the song you are playing depends on how strong your laser on your spaceship to destroy other spaceships and asteroids.
The games length all depends on how many songs you have. Its on a 2-d plane in a box like arena similar to "Geometry Wars". You try to survive through the entire song without losing all of your lives. Your weapons are your basic laser, super bombs (kills almost everything on the screen.) and the legendary "Beat Hazard" weapon. To acquire the Beat Hazard though you have to kill/destroy enough ships and asteroids to get various power-ups which are either Volume or Power both abbreviate in game as "VOL" and "POW" respectively. Volume raises the density of your laser and power raises well the power of it. Once you have enough of each the Beat Hazard weapon goes live and you shoot down anything in your way with your super powerful laser! As long as you do not die you have the beat hazard always. One problem still remains though, if your song is quiet, lets say near the end for example you are really vulnerable and you have to dodge and use your very tiny laser that you have. You can also pick up more super bombs when they randomly drop.
The main objective of the game is to get oodles and oodles of points. Multipliers are given by killing enemies, not firing and just surviving. The multiplier maxes out at 200 by the way.
Then there are the bosses that come in at random intervals. They can be really tough but once you learn the pattern of their fire they can go down pretty easily.
There are 5 difficulties you can chose before you start your song in the normal game mode: Easy, Normal, Hardcore, Intense, and Suicidal. The higher the difficulty makes the basic enemies come in more numbers, the bosses fire faster and you get more points for every destruction.
Other gameplay modes include: Survival, which is simply how long you last with all of your songs back to back to back. Chill-out mode which is literally survival mode with infinite lives that doesn't advance your rank. There is also a 2 player mode where 2 ships are on one screen, no online though.
Oh yes "Ranks". The more points you get for completing or dying and not completing a song. (You still get points even if you don't complete the song.) You will start off at rank 1 with 1 bomb and 1 spare life thats it. The more points you get the higher you rank up adding starting multipliers, Power, Volume, more starting lives, more starting bombs, allowing you to keep more multipliers when you die, and finally at Elite you start with the Beat Hazard active. Thats not the end of the ranks though Elite keeps going past that. For instance at the time I am posting this review I am currently Rank Elite 68. Thats 68 more times the Elite.
The visualizations are very good for this game. Providing a mix and multitude of colors in the background. It also changes the color of your laser as well. The only problem with the visualizations and sparkles of your laser you can get distracted or just can't plain see the bullets from enemies, but in my opinion that adds to the fun.
The sound quality is awesome and it also has its own built in soundtrack with 10 songs from the Beat Hazard album. All of it being pretty good techno. At least they give you some songs to use if you don't have any songs on your computer at the time. iTunes and MP4A files weren't available at the start, but they are now patched in but need to be unlocked by paying only a messily one dollar. I wanted to pay it so I could play some of the songs I have in MP4A.
Beat Hazard is a blast and I highly recommended it if you like arena top down shooters like this. Especially since you can blast away with your own music! It is definitely worth the 15 dollars I payed for it.