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Beat Hazard Ultra for iOS
 

Beat Hazard Ultra for iOS

Category: Shooter
 
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8.5
 

Beat Hazard Ultra is an awesome Steam game turned iOS title that has found a way to eat at my time even when I'm not at my computer. Published by Cold Beam Games, it's a "twin stick shooter" without the sticks. Beat Hazard Ultra features procedurally-generated levels based on your own music. I loved the Steam version but was doubtful about the iOS version. However, I was proven wrong when I tried it and was amazed!

Graphics

The visuals are stunning. It really doesn't lose anything from the PC version. Lots of enemies and projectiles fill the screen all at once with colorful weapons and explosions. You might expect significant slowdown, but if you do, you're wrong. The visuals also synchronize with the audio in cool ways.

Audio

The sound effects are all superb, but I think the magic of Beat Hazard Ultra is more with the music. Maybe it's a little unfair to talk about the music because it uses whatever you have on your iOS device. Like I mentioned in the previous section, it synchronizes the visuals with the audio for a very unified experience. The levels are actually generated based on the song. For example, fast parts of the song might feature lots of enemies, and quiet parts of the song will make you shoot significantly slower.

Gameplay

The basic gameplay is simple: move your ship around, shoot at enemies, collect power-ups, and survive for the duration of the song. Some power-ups increase your score while others increase your abilities. As I mentioned, what's happening in the song directly effects what happens in the level.

Beat Hazard Ultra features a single stick mode and a more advanced twin stick mode. I prefer the twin stick mode personally because it allows you to shoot in a different direction than the one in which you're traveling. Using this mode, the left thumb controls movement while the right thumb controls the aiming of your gun. The center position of these virtual sticks is wherever you place your thumb down. It ends up being very elegant. Occasionally I'll need to pick up my thumb and place it back down further from the edge of my iPhone, but this doesn't end up being much of a problem. It might not be as perfect as the computer version, but it's very close.

There are four modes in Beat Hazard Ultra - Standard Mode, Survival, Boss Rush, and Chill Out. Standard Mode is pretty much what I described; you simply have to survive for the duration of the song. In Survival, you keep playing until you die. When one song ends, the next one starts automatically. Boss Rush, as you might expect, pits you against nothing but bosses. Lastly, Chill Out gives you infinite lives and all perks (more on these later), so you can just, well, chill out. Survival and Boss Rush are great because they give you a little something extra to do besides regular levels. Usually I'm not the type of player to do a lot of extras (unless it's an MMO I suppose), but I do enjoy these modes in Beat Hazard Ultra.

There are a few ways to progress in the game. First, there are achievements. I'm sure everyone's familiar with this type of system, so there isn't much to say here. Next, there's your rank. Basically, your score every time you play is sort of like experience points, and increasing your rank is like leveling up. It's a way of seeing how much you've played the game. In addition, when you increase your rank, you can unlock new perks, which is another way of progressing. Once you've unlocked a perk, you can spend earned money (in-game money) to activate it. Lastly, there are leaderboards. Sweet, sweet leaderboards. What's the point of doing well if you can't rub someone's face in it?

Conclusion

When I first started playing Beat Hazard Ultra on my iPhone, I was shocked by how well the game was ported. It was one of my favorite Steam games, and now it's one of my favorite iOS games. It's absolutely worth every cent of the $1.99 price tag. And as for replayability... every time you buy a new album, you have more Beat Hazard Ultra to play!







 
 

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