I’m a sucker for procedurally-generated games.  They don’t always work, mind you – sometimes generating levels off random seeds just ends up with an infinite number of relatively unplayable messes.  But when they do work, their replayability can extend far beyond that of most games.

Beat Hazard, much like another recent, successful independent procedural game AudioSurf, generates its contents from your music, making every song in your collection a potential leaderboard challenge for you and your friends.  With AudioSurf it was racing, with Beat Hazard it’s twin-stick shooting.  If AudioSurf was music meets Skyroads (yes, I’m dating myself – go Wikipedia it), then Beat Hazard is music meets Geometry Wars.

A few neat concepts manage to set Beat Hazard apart from just being a generic shooter with your music as a soundtrack, though.  Firstly, the current beat and volume of the song dictate how powerful your weapons will be.  During a frantic, loud section, you’ll be unstoppable, raining death upon your enemies.  During quieter sections, though, your ship because a far less powerful force, and you may need to focus on evasion more than offense.  Secondly, the augmentation of your strength during the song (both through the song’s attributes and through “power” and “volume” pickups) is balanced by increased visual noise as the literal noise increases, making it harder to follow the action; suffice it to say that Beat Hazard gets visually crazy, and this is not a game for those prone to seizure.

Finally, high scores will net you level progression as you play through your music collection; you’ll earn reduced death penalties, bonuses to your score multiplier, additional power-ups, and so on as you make your way up the ranks.  High score tables that compare you to your friends on any songs you happen to share round out the package to make a pretty seriously addictive game; I poured far more hours into Beat Hazard than I intended to, the week I started playing it.

But enough text rambling, you’re here to listen to vocal rambling!  So please, enjoy our latest Indiecast.  If Beat Hazard sounds like your thing, a very reasonable $4.99 will obtain it on Steam through July 4th ($9.99 afterwards).

Want to talk about it?  Come join the discussion over at Colony of Gamers.