Nine years ago there was an ultra-flashy shooter called Beat Hazard, and it was fantastic. The twin-stick arena shooter let you use your own music to generate waves of enemies and the visualizer was both complete ocular overload and also fully readable, so playing on max difficulty with the effects cranked up to 200% was playable with only a little practice. It initially started life on Xbox Live Indie Games before moving over to PC, and after many major updates plus a couple of DLC expansions the game was finally complete. It’s still great all these years later, as evidenced by me just losing an hour trying to clear Underworld’s Rez/Cowgirl on Hardcore mode between the last sentence and now. Still, the last major update was over four years ago so it’s definitely time for a sequel. Beat Hazard 2 has been in development for a while now and it’s almost ready to release itself to the world in Early Access format this October.
Like the first game, Beat Hazard 2 comes with its own soundtrack that’s used to generate the enemy progression, and you can pull in your own music or use internet streaming radio as well, but now there’s also an Open Mic mode that lets it pull in audio from anything that happens to be running on your PC. Amazon and Apple Music, Youtube, Spotify, whatever you’ve got access to. While the core game loop isn’t changing very much everything is getting a full makeover, with particular attention to the bosses. These will be monstrous beasts created by the music, teleporting in and unfolding to their full size before unleashing bullet hell on the screen. (More details at this development blog video.) Beat Hazard 2 isn’t going to be one of those sequels that completely reinvents itself, which is good because it was just about perfect the first time out. New enemies and weapons, prettier lighting effects, more ways to integrate music, and per-song leaderboards sound like plenty to justify a new game.