Sometimes you just don’t have enough time in a day to sit down with the latest RPG and sit through 10 hours of cutscenes before you even start playing. Sometimes you only have an hour or two spare at any time. These are some of the games I tend to enjoy when I’m short on time and need something to unwind.
Developer: Cold Beam Games
Publisher: Cold Beam Games
Format: PC, Android, iOS, Xbox 360, PS3
Released: April 16, 2010
This game warns you about the dangers of epileptic seizures as soon as you start it up. The reason for this warning will become readily apparent a few moments into the main menu screen. Its most basic game type requires you to pick a song of your choice, choose your upgrades, difficulty and “visual intensity”. With your song loaded up, you must guide a variety of spaceships in an arcade-shooter style heavily reminiscent of classic Asteroids.
What makes Beat Hazard stand out is the way the strength of your own attacks relies on the volume and intensity of the soundtrack you’ve chosen. The swarms of smaller foes and screen-filling bosses follow the same rules as you, moving and attacking speedily at faster moments in your song. On top of this, destroyed enemies will often leave behind pickups that provide special abilities, score multipliers and even items that improve song volume and attack strength. Maxing out volume and your own ships’ attack power triggers a “Beat Hazard” effect, which amplifies your damage massively, to the point where you’ll often be filling the screen with strobing pulsing lasers, incinerating dozens of enemy ships with each salvo.
The simple joy of listening to my favourite music tracks mixed in with a spectacularly over the top arcade shooter helps me unwind, even while I desperately dodge swarms of foes in the midst of a deafening barrage of light and sound. For those who enjoy a good rhythm game, Beat Hazard is definitely worth a look. Just make sure to take heed of that epileptic seizure warning!