I’m a huge fan of user-created content in rhythm games. I tried Beat Saber, which I still greatly enjoy; OSU, which I’m unfortunately terrible at; Clone Hero, which I desperately want a guitar to play properly; and others.
I thought I had explored the genre thoroughly until I recently stumbled upon Beat Hazard 3. I was somewhat familiar with the name but actually had no idea what it was, so I decided to go in completely blind. I just let it scan my music library and pressed play, only to be thoroughly amazed by what I saw.
Beat Hazard 3 isn’t actually as user-powered as I initially thought, as the game automatically maps your music. I was a bit disappointed at first, but then I remembered how many of the songs I enjoy are always missing from rhythm games, so I decided to throw everything I had at it.
Beat Hazard 3 takes music from your local library, Spotify, or YouTube and turns it into a twin-stick shooter experience where you shoot synchronized with the beat and enemy spawns match the song’s tempo. It seems to work best with faster-paced music, but everything I’ve thrown at it has worked so far.
The game is extremely customizable, giving the player difficulty modes that range from 100% to 2000%, as well as letting you choose visual intensity. The correct option for that setting is as high as it goes, by the way.
Speaking of visuals, I never played a game that was so intent on giving me a seizure. Everything that happens in Beat Hazard is followed by an insanely bright pulsating effect to accompany it. The fact that the game’s default visual intensity is 200% speaks volumes. It enhances everything fantastically, but at some point, you have no idea what is happening anymore.
Visual clarity is unfortunately lacking; it’s something you really want in a difficult Bullet Hell game, but at the same time, the visuals make everything so much more fun. As you try out higher difficulties, you will most likely have to lower some of the game’s visuals so you can actually see what’s happening on the screen.
Level generation has a slight caveat. As I mentioned earlier, it works really well with fast-paced music; metal songs have bosses showing up at the coolest moments, and it really manages to enhance the tracks, but something about songs with a slower pace makes for ridiculously difficult levels, where your screen gets filled to the brim with missiles.
I don’t know if this is the game’s way of telling you to pick more accurate music or if it’s a legit error in the generation, but it’s very funny to fight for your life as a relaxing piano track plays on the background.
The game lets you play songs separately through the arcade mode but also builds a whole galaxy based on your music library, with each star being an album and each planet a music track. Each song also generates a unique ship for you to use, and each ship has special song requirements to be upgraded, which makes you explore your library more and more.
Beat Hazard 3 also comes with its own soundtrack, which is actually not bad, but everyone is playing it for their own music. It’s nice that it was included, but it won’t see that much use aside from testing out the game.
As far as I care, Beat Hazard 3 is a complete game; despite being an Early Access title, I don’t feel like anything is missing. The fact that the developer doesn’t want to call it a 1.0 release too soon is honestly commendable, because it feels like a finished product to me. Here’s some gameplay of me playing the game, too:
Beat Hazard 3 is a beautiful combination of music, space debris, eye-watering effects, and insane gameplay, making for a fantastic way to listen to your music.
Beat Hazard 3 is available on Microsoft Windows (through Steam).