Another review, another mashup. Beat Da Beat is a bullet-hell/rhythm mashup (sound familiar?) that got its start on the mobile platform and has decided to make the leap to PC. Upon hearing this I was a bit skeptical. More often than not mobile games are time killers, made to be played in small bursts. I have no problem with taking that for what it’s worth, however it’s not often a game can translate when making the leap over to a featured platform such as the PC. Needless to say I fired up the game and gave it a shot.
After being greeted with a fairly bare-bones story line you’re ready to choose your ship and get moving. Right off the bat the first thing that caught my attention was the ship firing for me. To be completely honest I wasn’t a huge fan of this. Besides thinking for a moment that the game had potentially glitched on me, I also felt like the experience had been cheapened somewhat. At this point the only real control I had was with the mouse, and my ship was essentially nothing more than a mouse cursor. I had no tangible input on the game. Visual and auditory feedback is crucial to an experience. When I perform an action in game whether it be firing shots from my spaceship, jumping from platform to platform, shooting fireballs at bad guys, etc. I want to feel feedback of some sort. By taking away control of my shooting, I was concerned about the experience I would have with the game. On the mobile platform with the lack of physical buttons this can make sense, but on PC with all the potential for input, this was a bit disappointing. Before long this “issue” was all, but forgotten.
The music kicked in and the first enemies appeared. With each beat and rhythm in the music, bullets appeared in various patterns. It was a neat feature, but I wasn’t convinced that this necessarily made it a “rhythm” game. I weaved my way through fields of bullets and flashing lights, coming in all different varieties- some slow some fast, some large, some small, etc. As the songs got more layered, so did the mayhem. Enemies would appear on all parts of the screen to different cues of music. I was seriously impressed by the display this created. The music was synced perfectly with the bullets, which is crucial when it comes to this type of experience.
The visuals were truly impressive to me, but the music deserves a lot of the credit. The choice of music suits the entire theme of the game perfectly. The color schemes, the designs, the feel, everything just fits. I found myself lost in the rhythms and the sweeping melodies, mesmerized by the flashing lights, and walls of colors rushing towards my ship. I found myself weaving effortlessly through the battlefield moving to the rhythm to ensure my ship’s safety. It really works together so perfectly to create a particularly special experience. While the music isn’t essential to the game, without it, it would be lifeless, this is what makes it more than just your typical SHMUP. That being said the SHMUP elements are all there. You have your bombs, which more often than not for veterans of the genre, will see these as a fail safe, essentially a last minute eject button when you’ve chosen a path that finds the walls quickly closing in on you. Some fun, albeit basic twists are thrown into the mix here. Each ship you choose has a unique “special”, which can be unleashed with a click of the right button. This comes in various different forms, one being time dilation, another being a temporary buff on your bullets. The game also includes plenty of extra features to keep things feeling fresh. There are 4 difficulties to choose from. Even weathered SHMUP fans will find the difficulty sufficient, and the casual difficulty should be light enough to ease new comers in. There are also some basic RPG elements included, allowing you to upgrade various elements of your ship such as weapons and health.
All in all I think Beat Da Beat is a fantastic experience. I can’t say this is your typical rhythm game, and for that reason I’m not sure it would scratch that particular itch, however I’d be willing to bet that it would giving you something entirely different. If you’re a fan of the SHMUP genre, I think this one fits well. It’s a short one, but it’s challenging, and the music is outstanding. At $7.99 I can’t recommend this enough, honestly I think the soundtrack is worth it for that price alone. If you do give this game a shot, fire up the sound system, crank the bass, and let the rhythm take control.