Beat da Beat is a bullet hell shooter/rhythm game that has a distinct feel of the old arcade classic, Space Invaders. It is published by Nekki who is responsible for the popular mobile device titles ‘Vector’ and ‘Shadow Fight’. There are versions of Beat da Beat available on Android and iOS as well as this PC version which is available from Steam.
The story of Beat da Beat is fairly generic and involves your girlfriend being kidnapped by aliens while your character chases after them to get her back. There isn’t much to keep interest in that plotline, but strong a plot is not essential because the gameplay and soundtrack can make up for it.
The music is a pounding set of electronic tracks from Waterflame, Lone-X, JBroadway, The Biocide and Levelate, these fit the gameplay extremely well. Interestingly the music is also featured as a game mechanic as the enemies fire bullets to the rhythm of each of the tracks. In the first levels things start off fairly manageable but once you hit those later stages it can quickly become a true bullet hell nightmare with bullets on the screen everywhere coming from every direction. You do have the one saving grace of a ‘smart bomb’ which can clear the screen of bullets and enemies but you are limited to the amount you can use.
There are different levels of difficulty that you can start on beginning with casual and ending with ‘badass’ but don’t be fooled by the casual setting as it is by no means an easy difficulty to complete. The game also has a practice option which allows you to choose the difficulty level and stage which is a good way of learning the patterns involved in each round.
One drawback to the game was the minimal amount of movement from the different enemies which for the most part seem to stay in one position before they fire, only in the later levels did a few of the enemies shoot while moving. For the majority of players this isn’t something that would noticeably detract from them playing the game, but for the bullet hell enthusiast, this may make things a little too easy.
Another feature that could have been expanded more and improved was the upgrading of the different ships. To upgrade the ships, you need to collect coins dropped from the enemies but the experience feels a little bit ‘grindy’ as you go through it for fairly marginal upgrades to health, weapons, and bombs. The upgrades don’t seem to massively affect the ship’s capabilities and the biggest choice seems to be the pattern that you want your ship to fire in more than anything else.
As far as it goes this is a solid bullet hell game that has been ported from mobile to PC reasonably well, but it isn’t offering anything particularly ground breaking to the genre although it may offer a start point for players to look further into the bullet hell genre.