The original Beat Hazard launched back in 2012 and we quite liked it. Now, eight years later developer Cold Beam Games has released a sequel that promises even more colourful shmup action that’s powered by your own music library. We decided to send our App Army into space to battle it out to their own playlists. 

Here’s what they said:

Robert Maines

Beat Hazard 2 is another in a long line of twin-stick shooters that goes back to Robotron. The gimmick is that you can choose your own audio tracks (or internet radio) and the beat of the music affecting the attack pattern of the enemies. Basically it’s your spaceship against a horde of enemy ships that need to be blasted to oblivion, these leave behind icons that need to be picked up for bonus multipliers and coins for upgrades.

The graphics are very colourful (although most enemies are not animated) and the sheer amount of enemies can be overwhelming at times. Sound is the only let down as the explosions sound rather weedy compared to the background music. Touch controls are ok, but connecting a Bluetooth controller makes accessing upgrades (perks in the game parlance) a doddle. This game rocks, max out the volume and happy blasting.

Swapnil Jadhav

I am loving the destruction in this game, so insane. Controls are much better than any other dual-stick shooter games. Played survival mode and boss fight. Bosses are difficult to beat but they are fun. Must buy for an Android user

Oksana Ryan

A little difficult to get the controls right when I started but once I felt comfortable it was a lovely game to play. The graphics in time with the electronic beat were gorgeous and I have to admit I died more than once because I was concentrating on the array of lights in front of me instead of the actual gameplay.

Challenging and colourful, a great game to pick up and run with, it keeps you pushing on to better your best score. Waves of enemies, obstacles and showers of weapons firing from all directions give a wonderful display. A game that ticks so many boxes and is definitely an experience to be enjoyed.

Dries Pretorius

Released to mobile ten years after its’ prequel, and what a game that was. As someone who had a relationship to my earphones that many have with their rosaries, every time I was in a cue or suspended in any way Beat Hazzard had my back, blasting through frenetic pulsing flashing Shmupadedupidy. The game is a procedurally generated twin-stick bullet hell, where the power of attacks and the pace of the action is set to whatever music you are feeding it. If you want a meditative experience you can try ambient music, or you could turn the difficulty up, tune visual intensity to 200% crank Megadeath’s Sweating Bullets up to 11 and find out if you have a disposition to epilepsy.

The concept is great, the original was a classic, and when the sequel was announced with more ships, more modes, and more features I was very excited. The game delivers everything it promises, but there are two issues that I was not expecting. The first is menu sizing on my iPhone 7+ is off so that I can’t see what is happening or what I’m selecting on more than a few in-game menus. I have reported the bug on the developer’s Discord so hopefully, that will be fixed on future updates.

The game works on 1GB devices like my iPad Air 1 with only minor slowdowns on Medium graphics. My biggest gripe, and one I was not expecting at all, is that the game requires constant internet connectivity or it freezes, I am not a fan of forced connectivity especially in premium titles. Though it makes up for this by allowing you to stream a myriad of music stations from across the world, while this feature seemed quite minor, it is turning into my favourite way of discovering new music. Beat Hazard 2 is a worthy sequel with lofty ambitions which it nails in almost every regard. Highly recommended.

Nick Leibbrandt

Beat Hazard on my OPPO A9 2020 and Samsung Galaxy Tab A. The game runs perfectly on both devices. I found Beat Hazard to be a very fun and entertaining game as I have not played many bullet – hell type games I didn’t know what to expect but the game its self can be very addictive as you can choose different music in the base game or choose your own music to play through levels.

The levels are quite fun with lots of flashy bright colours and waves of ships, space rocks and boss ships to destroy while collecting multipliers for your score and money to spend on new ships and upgrades. I found the controls quite hard to begin with as there is no tutorial so was quite confusing but once playing for a while it got easier to play. The game supports controllers as well but did have trouble with setting up my Xbox One controller, this game is very well made with hours of gameplay that can be very challenging so if you like bullet – hell games I would recommend giving this one a go.

Mark Abukoff

As a bullet-hell arcade shooter, it’s fast-paced and gorgeous and brutal. Touch screen controls took a little getting used to, and I didn’t like that part of the screen was covered by my thumb. Not sure what the solution to that might be but I managed to make progress anyway. It didn’t recognize my Steel Series Nimbus MiFi controller. There’s an awful lot of strobe and flash to the game that some might not like. The ability to play music is interesting and might have actually helped me, but it’s not a huge draw for me as I tend to stream music rather than store it on my phone.

As for the gameplay itself, you can pick up score multipliers which make a difference, and occasional bosses are impressive without being impossible. And one feature that is a definite winner, is the fact that the game pauses if your fingers leave the screen. I’ve never run into that before and it’s a definite plus. Very smart. In a universe of arcade space shooters, this is a good-looking, well-made, and brutal entry, and if it’s a genre you like (and you have plenty of music on your phone) it’s probably worth picking up.

Roman Valerio

Beat Hazard 2 is a game, which is too photo-sensitive, dynamic and action-packed for my sensitive nature to derive even the slightest pleasure from playing it on my iPad. Upon checking out its App Store description I knew straight away that this is not my type of game at all, but decided to experience it nonetheless for reviewing purposes only. The in-game menu looks very plain and there are too many options/settings for me to care about. First time I tried to play the game, it got stuck on the loading screen, but after re-launching it I finally got the chance to jump straight into the action.

You are in control of a tiny spaceship and with enemy ships shooting projectiles at you from every angle, you have to be very agile not to get shot down after 15-20 seconds as I did. As far as I understood this is a high-score chasing game and you have to pick up score multipliers dropped by foes if you want to rack up some decent numbers. The soundtrack is very explosive and fits the genre of the game perfectly. I am afraid this game is meant specifically for the fans of hardcore action games, so count this as a hazard warning.

Jason Rosner

Having played the original Beat Hazard on both mobile and console, Beat Hazard 2 was an instant wish list for me as soon as I heard of its sequel. This shoot’ em-up looks as good as it plays, and in a crowded genre, it stands apart thanks to its unique fusion of music and gameplay.

Everything here is bigger and better than before. The enemy types feel more varied, and the boss battles are procedurally generated which makes for great replay-ability. The A.I. gives a really nice challenge even for experienced vets, and your ship can become lost at times with so much going on around you if you’re not paying full attention.

Thankfully the controls are spot on with options for touch and stick, and there’s a really great “pause” feature for when you lift your thumbs off the screen so not to miss any action. The graphics are clean and colourful almost jumping off the screen with a strobe-light effect.

The big hook here is that your music can generate the “beat” of the stage, but I did have some difficulties trying to play my own tracks. At this time the game will not work with Apple Music, however, the internet radio stations of “SHOUTcast” offer up literally thousands of channels so you can find something to suit your mood.

Cross-platform leaderboards and numerous challenges in-game will give your competitive side the rush it’s been looking for. Being a big shooter fan I absolutely adore the love put into Beat Hazard 2 and being that it’s a premium title at a great cost, this is one of the best apps of the year for me.

Frank Lin

Graphics: Visually, the game looks great. The animations are clean and don’t require a high framerates. The battles are colourful and fun to look at. However, the number of things on the screen can be overwhelming, and the flashing lights could trigger a seizure. But, I guess these are just normal features of bullet hell games.

Controls: I used the touchscreen controls, which seemed a bit floaty and imprecise. The ship also often floats behind your thumbs, and you are unable to see where it is to steer it to safety. There also isn’t much of a tutorial, making it difficult to figure out what to do.

Interface: The interface was, in my opinion, rather poor. While the game claims to allow you to use your own music, actually finding music is confusing, and you must pick songs from the game library. There is no tutorial explaining the controls or the aim of the game, which left me feeling lost and confused.

Gameplay: The gameplay is not particularly interesting or addictive. You die very quickly, and even with progress, there is little sense of accomplishment.

Overall, this game is nothing special. While it isn’t horrible, it does nothing new or noteworthy. And, I didn’t find it particularly fun. But, if you like bullet hell games, it might be worth a try.

Naail Zahid

Let me start off by saying I’m so glad this game supports most Bluetooth controllers. I’ve tried multiple controllers (including the Xbox One controller) and they work great for me. Besides that, touch screen controls aren’t that bad, but I’ll always prefer a proper controller to touch controls.

One thing I truly appreciated, that the devs thought of, is if you are playing with touch controls, if at any moment your fingers leave the screen, the game auto pauses until your fingers are back. Very convenient if you ever receive a call while playing or have to suddenly glance around in case you check your environment. The game is an absolute treat to look at, and the sound design is great too. I’d say if anyone remembers the recent remakes of Super Stardust, this game is like that, except 2D.

So the main draw of this game is the rhythm-based shooting, which is determined by the levels, or “Tracks”, which are basically the built-in library of music/songs. But where this game truly shines, is how it uses your phone’s music library, to generate levels for you to conquer, and thus unlock unique bosses or ships – its a treat! Also, the way the explosions or bonus pickups pulse to your beats is a whole different euphoria. Never thought I’d be playing a shmup level while Rick Rolling myself.
There’s also a lot of emphasis on online scores in this game – as more players beat scores, players will unlock certain playable ships and perks. Perks are basically game modifiers you can apply to your session (limited by a number that can be upgraded by your “money” you earn in-game by scores).

Ships also come in a variety of sizes. Although I would’ve preferred more variation to the weapons you get, the game makes up for this limitation with different unlockable ships, of which there are plenty. Another positive to add to this game – It works well as a pick-up and play mobile game, as levels are as long as your songs, or the default built-in music. So assume 5-minute jam sessions, which are perfect for a quick taxi ride, for example.

I didn’t go in expecting much, but what I got was a thoroughly thought out, and pleasantly fun experience with this game. Kudos to the devs. Totally worth the asking price. The only real complaint is the lack of multiplayer, or weapon variations. Easily one of the better mobile games I’ve played this year, and I’ve never even heard of its predecessor.

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