Beat Hazard Ultra is a unique dual-stick arcade shooter that uses music from your music library to create the pace of the game. Each song in your music library has a unique rhythm and flow and as the power builds in a song, Beat Hazard Ultra sends more enemies for you to blow away. Even if you have no music on your iOS device, the game lets you choose from several Internet radio stations to stream the musical backdrop of the game. The graphics are worthy of note, too; this game has so many blinking lights and colors that there's a warning for those prone to seizures in the opening screen of the game. What results is a combination of your music and a veritable laser light show as you try to blast through wave after wave of enemies, and even go up against challenging bosses.
You get a couple of different control options in the game. I preferred using a standard dual-stick layout with movement on the left and weapons on the right, but you also have the option to use a single stick (with constant firing) if you want something a bit easier. No one could blame you for simplifying the game a bit because the screen is often filled with enemy ships, bright lights, and flashing colors that will drive you to distraction. One drawback I noticed is that the controls seem a bit more muddy than on other popular games in this genre, but after playing for a while, I got used to it.
Along with the interesting gameplay concept of using music to drive the game, Beat Hazard Ultra offers tons of pickups, tactical weapons (such as smart bombs), and perks you can buy with cash earned in the game that help you stay alive longer. For example, one perk gives you an extra life so you have more chances to complete a song, and another allows you to buy extra superbombs. There are 23 perks in all, but you can use only one at a time, so you'll need to experiment to see which ones work best for you.
The standard game mode lets you fight off smaller enemies on the way to bigger, more-powerful bosses, but you have two other game modes to add to replay value. The Boss Rush mode sends out boss characters one after the other, but you need to blow them up before the time expires and more bosses enter the fray. At the other end of the difficulty spectrum, you can play Chill mode, which gives you tons of power-ups and unlimited lives to work with. You can also adjust the overall level game before getting started if you find the action too busy.
Beat Hazard Ultra is a unique concept arcade shooter that blends your music with bullet hell gameplay. If you like the crazy arcade shooters of the past and want a new way to experience your music, you should definitely try this title.