Beat Slayer – PC Review

0 0
Read Time:6 Minute, 20 Second

Ever wonder what Hades mixed with Crypt of the NecroDancer set in a ‘90s dystopian city would be like? Well, wonder no more! ByteRockers’ Games takes all these juicy elements and blends them into a high-energy roguelike smoothie. Beat Slayer is a 3D hack-and-slash rhythm roguelike that tests not only your combat prowess but your musical timing.

Hack-And-Slash Rhythm Roguelike – Beat Slayer

It’s ‘90s Berlin and the twisted music mogul Dietrich has perfected the art of truly hypnotic music: using sound waves to emit mind-control signals. All who hear it become his mindless zombies and, with a robot army to keep order, he has the entire city under his control.

But there’s one underground corner of the capital free from his grip and ready to fight back. Young rebel Mia and her crew of misfits are the only ones still in their right minds (just about), and they’re here to kick ass and… just that!

Being a big fan of both inspirations, this was at the top of my list to dive into. And being a big fan of physical media, imagine my delight on receiving the physical press kit in the form of a cassette-shaped USB stick. Case and all. Gold star right out of the gate, ByteRockers!

Who’s a big boy robot? Who’s going down? You are!

That’s My Jam!

As main girl Mia, you’ll don your trusty headphones—to drown out Dietrich’s mind mush music—and take to the robot-infested streets. To reach Dietrich, you’ll need to slice and dice your way through the robots, keeping on beat while doing so. Chain enough attacks on beat and Mia will channel the ‘Tanzrausch’. What’s that, you ask? That feeling of being completely one with the music, that euphoric state of dance immersion that really gets you hyped – that’s Tanzrausch! This state will give Mia an edge in combat, greatly boosting her attacks.

There’s a delicious satisfaction in keeping the rhythm going and mixing attacks with dodging or kicking to bring destruction. Careful not to get too swept up in the action though! Lose the beat and you lose the boost, leaving Mia vulnerable. Getting hit doesn’t necessarily break Tanzrausch (phew!) but it can throw you off-beat if you’re not careful.

Explosions to the left of me, virus to my right. Here I am…

Like Hades and NecroDancer, you will die. A lot. And yes, every death brings you back to the underground hub and you have to start from scratch. However with each defeat, you have a chance to upgrade your skills, pick a cocktail to boost your next run and open up backstory conversations with your motley crew. Joe the easy-going bartender, Donna the flamboyant yet hard-as-nails dancer, DJ Pocke the deck master with a past and Selin the tech genius – they’ve all got tales to tell and tips and tricks to share.

Faster, Stronger and Even More Robo-Destruction!

As you go through a run, you’ll open up different paths that grant you different perks upon completion. Some will raise your attack damage, some grant you damage resistance. But the real magic comes with combining major upgrades. Fire, Electric, Virus, Shield and Rage all have different effects when attached to different moves, including Tanzrausch. You can have your basic attacks raise shield energy while your dodge brings down a thunderclap on enemies as you bob and weave.

Your Ultimate Attacks stack a debilitating health drain with Virus while your Tanzrausch causes nearby enemies to burst into flames. The possibilities are endless—albeit randomised—and so much fun to mix and match. If you’re lucky enough to get a full house of Electric upgrades on a run like I did and you’re basically Thor on steroids!

Ooh decisions, decisions…

Completing a run or getting to a certain stage in one will also unlock three different weapons, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. The axe is your starter and a decent all-rounder, the hammer will draw enemies to you in two moves for a heavy blow and the throwable saw blades are fast ranged weapons but do less damage. These are also fun to test out and see which you have an affinity for; I’m all for the saw blades, myself. You’ll soon find yourself engrossed in going on run after run with different upgrades and playstyles.

Gutsy But Grating

Being a badass ‘90s protagonist, Mia has all the feisty spirit and cheesy one-liners that come with the territory. A fun drinking game could revolve around all the nods to pop culture and music. These are amusing to start with, but soon become very repetitive with every run, verging on grating.

Getting there slowly.

If you were a fellow ‘90s kid or teenager, you know your younger self would have lapped it up and copied it ad nauseum with your mates. Saucy language and all. Now it’s tolerable in smaller doses. The lyric quotes can also sometimes throw you off and threaten your Tanzrausch as Mia delivers them ever so slightly off-beat!

This also seeps its way into conversations with the crew in the hub. With the story being quite thin as it is to focus on the gameplay, it makes it very difficult to become invested in the characters. Many conversations follow a cookie cutter formula: feisty statement, funny quip, cheeky boast, words of wisdom, “witty” retort. Repeat.

Waves and Pulses

Graphics and sound literally go hand in hand in Beat Slayer to create a thoroughly immersive experience. As ByteRockers recommend, headphones are the best way to experience the techno soundtrack that evolves and changes with every stage. Sometimes it goes heavy on the synth, sometimes embracing a little more house sound. Even being in and out of Tanzrausch has a slightly different soundscape.

This pairs with graphic novel style character art and HUD that pulses to the music, layering coloured streaks behind Mia’s portrait with every beat. Should you lose the beat a little too often, a neon frame pulses around the screen and a metronome plays to get you back on track. 

Feel the Tanzrausch!

To compliment the character art, the 3D scenes and sprites have a pop art feel to them which works surprisingly well with the city locations. Each location captures a different vibe, from a rundown factory to a city square at night. All are packed with little intricate details and a differently remixed track to back it. The tracks even take on a more epic orchestral nature the closer you get to Dietrich’s tower – intensely satisfying to slay robots to!

Final Thoughts

The ‘90s badass tropes will wear thin very quickly, but they won’t stop you coming back for more. Beat Slayer is a thoroughly enjoyable rhythmic romp that is both fun and deceivingly addictive. With an exceptional soundtrack and mix-and-match gameplay with something for everyone, you’ll be saying “Just one more run” until the wee hours.

Thus it receives Thumb Culture’s very own Grammy: the Gold Award!

Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.

Thumb Culture

YouTube | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Discord | Podcast

About Author

Average Rating

5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *