Getting Down With the Beat Hazard Ultra
The iPad has its fair share of space shooters, ones filled with asteroids, enemy ships and bosses that require hundreds of bullets to even moderately damage. Beat Hazard Ultra offers a change of pace from the usual glut of destruction. Its shooter rules remain basic, but the way it configures games to your liking – using music from your iTunes library – makes it truly stand out.
Before each game starts, the app automatically reads your music library and takes requests. Want to blast rocks to Bon Jovi? Have at it. Maybe Bette Midler’s “Wind Beneath My Wings” compels you to destroy stuff. It’s your call.
Your best score for each song is recorded, and you can unlock Achievements (reward points) through Apple’s Game Center as you progress, while also keeping track of other players’ scores. Additional modes are also available, including Boss Rush, where you face bigger, stronger enemies, and Chill Out, a mode with no pressure for high scoring.
Beat Hazard Ultra comes with either a single-stick or dual-stick control method. We recommend twin sticks, one for movement and one for shooting. Solo stick play requires way too much moving around.
For a one-dollar app, Beat Hazard Ultra looks impressive. The visuals, as brightly lit as a fireworks display, match up to the in-game music perfectly, and the action never slows down. It does get a bit overwhelming at times, but that’s just part of the excitement.
With its endless gameplay options (depending on your soundtrack) and its mesmerizing visuals, Beat Hazard Ultra is a party in your palm.
($1, iPad/iPhone/iPod touch, 3.5 / 4 stars)