Cold Beam Games’ Beat Hazard was released on Steam just a little over a year ago, and in that time it’s become one of the most popular titles on the platform. Injecting a twin-stick shooter with musically-generated, visually seizure-inducing levels was a stroke of brilliance; I often find myself playing it religiously for months on end, forgetting about it, and then picking it up again, more obsessed than ever.
Well, Beat Hazard Ultra is out, and with new enemies, new bosses, new weapons, and other crazy crap, it looks like I’m not going to be seeing daylight anytime soon.
Beat Hazard Ultra is everything you know and love about the original, with a new coat of polish, and brand new features beneficial to the enjoyment of your game. There’s still a level-up system, but it’s directly tied into a new Perk and cash system for all your special abilities. As you level up, you gain an unlock for a Perk. You can then spend your cash to level up said Perk with more abilities. There’s a limited number of slots for your Perks, so there’s an awesome balance in deciding whether to, say, gain the most points or be able to spend the most time alive.
Additionally, there are new weapons and abilities that have proven useful in the skies. The Ultra Beam and Micro Missiles definitely help in tight situations, while the Reflect Shield will definitely come in handy for some of the enemies with homing missiles.
You’d think new weapons would kill the difficulty of the game, but Cold Beam has recognized that, and has seemingly ratcheted up the difficulty of all modes. You get more enemies and more chaos onscreen than ever before, and with creative new enemies and bosses come new strategies to take them down. My personal favorites are the ships with beams that either repel you or attract you; you’ll often find yourself in a tug of war or a bumper cars-esque contest when there’s more than a few of these around. It’s chaotic and can be hair-pullingly irritating, but that’s precisely how I love my Beat Hazard.
Additionally, Cold Beam has added an online multiplayer element to the game. I wish I could talk more about this, but it was increasingly hard to even find one person to play with. On top of that, in order to play with someone else, you’re both going to need to the same tracks, and since I might be the only person in the world that plays this game with indie folk tracks, I’ve run into a minor bump in the road there. Still, online isn’t necessary to enjoy the DLC, as there’s just so much that’s been added to it that not playing online is just a minor setback.
There’s not much more to say about Ultra; Cold Beam has gone and made their cult classic even better, with no real complaints whatsoever. If you’re a fan of the original, this is an absolute must-buy; if you’ve never played Beat Hazard before, you’re missing out, and you should purchase both the game and the DLC ASAP.