The idea behind the TouchArcade Game of the Week is that every Friday afternoon we post the one game that came out this week that we think is worth giving a special nod to. Now, before anyone goes over-thinking this, it doesn’t necessarily mean our Game of the Week pick is the highest scoring game in a review, the game with the best graphics, or really any other quantifiable “best" thing. Instead, it’s more just us picking out the single game out of the week’s releases that we think is the most noteworthy, surprising, interesting, or really any other hard to describe quality that makes it worth having if you were just going to pick up one.
These picks might be controversial, and that’s OK. If you disagree with what we’ve chosen, let’s try to use the comments of these articles to have conversations about what game is your game of the week and why.
Without further ado…
Beat Hazard 2
The arrival of Beat Hazard 2 on mobile isn’t just the arrival of a sequel to a game I loved, it’s like the arrival of an old friend. I can’t count how many hours I spent playing the original Beat Hazard on my phone back in the early 2010s, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was many hundreds. In fact, when I was sitting down explicitly to listen to music, you know as opposed to having music on while doing something else, I preferred to listen by way of Beat Hazard. I guess technically that IS listening to music while doing something else, but for me it helped me focus on and enjoy the music I was listening to more than if I was just sitting there listening with my eyes closed or staring at nothing.
Over the years Beat Hazard struggled to stay up to date with new iOS software and hardware, and playing it fell out of my rotation of activities. So while Beat Hazard 2 IS a substantial upgrade from the original with numerous new features and even more over-the-top visual splendor, it’s also like slipping into a comfortable pair of pajamas you thought you lost but found buried in the back of your closet. Playing Beat Hazard again all these years later has only reminded me how much this is my preferred way to chill out to some tunes.
Beat Hazard and its new sequel are also one of the few games that uses your music library in a way that feels like it actually matches each song you play. So many games over the years have claimed to use your song files to generate levels only to offer something that maybe just barely matches up to what is playing. Beat Hazard 2 does it right, generating enemies and bosses based off of your tracks, but more importantly strobing and sparkling to the rhythm and the beat in a way that makes your music really feel alive. It’s exactly this that sucked me into the original game many years ago and has sucked me in once agin with Beat Hazard 2.
I have two main nitpicks with Beat Hazard 2 on mobile. First, it makes your device get concerningly hot, but the developer is already looking into that issue. The second one is that Beat Hazard 2 doesn’t support streaming music services like Spotify and Apple Music. It needs music tracks that are downloaded onto your device, though it does support internet radio stations so there is at least a huge variety of songs to play if you don’t have any of your own loaded up. As a dinosaur who never got into music streaming this isn’t an issue for me personally, but it likely will be for many in this age of streaming media.
While that is a bummer, it doesn’t diminish what an excellent and action-packed dual-stick shooter Beat Hazard 2 is no matter what music source you use. I’m thrilled to finally have my old friend back.