Beat Hazard Ultra by Cold Beam Games is an auditory and visually stunning experience. You fly a ship in a confined area destroying asteroids and ships while gathering powerups to make the music louder and your vessel stronger. Oh yeah—and all of this is generated by your music, or the music of one of the available Internet radio stations.
Beat Hazard Ultra analyzes the music from your iDevice library to create a playing experience that corresponds to the peaks of your chosen song, and this works incredibly well. The visualizer in the background gains intensity as your song does. Then more enemies spawn, and the screen goes crazy! It’s frantic, hectic fun. I’ve played music from “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” by the Beach Boys, to “The Seed (2.0)” by The Roots, and every song has proven to be different in terms of what the game sends your way. And all of them have been enjoyable to play this way—there rarely is a complete lull in action, the game creates a challenging progression of enemies for each song.
The audio is clearly awesome, but how are the controls? They’re amazing, because they’re very customizable. You can play it as a dual-stick shooter, or use one stick, and choose between floating and fixed, as well as change the size. All you need to do is try a few things and one of the options will work out perfectly. Honestly, the controls feel as responsive to me as they do when I play the computer version using my gamepad or keyboard and mouse.
The game has a few modes: standard, survival, boss rush, and chill out. They’re all pretty self-explanatory, and all very fun. If you play well you are rewarded with points to spend on perks that can alter your game and customize it to fit your needs. If you die a lot, you can purchase a perk that gives you two extra lives.
Graphics: These are fun and exciting. The visualizations that take place in the background based on your music make the gameplay more exciting, and are just plain cool to watch. The ships and asteroids are all very well designed.
Controls: Completely customizable to your needs. What more could you ask for?
Concept: The overall experience of this game is awesome. Being able to play your music is incredible—because you can choose songs you like and then add another element of fun.
Modes and Perks: The standard mode is enough, but the other modes create more depth, as do the perks.
Radio Stations Available: This is a stretch, I truly don’t dislike anything about the game, because they have is good, but more customizable experiences here could be nice.
Beat Hazard Ultra has been flawlessly ported to the iDevices. The core gameplay is still a blast, and the visualizations are phenomenal. What surprised me are the controls—they work perfectly once you find what works for you. Definitely a “Must Have,” and I whole-heartedly recommend picking it up.