Beat Slayer Review – Rhythm and Bruise

Beat Slayer Review – Rhythm and Bruise
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Platforms: Windows PC, Steam

Game Name: Beat Slayer

Publisher: ByteRockers' Games, Paras Games

Developer: ByteRockers' Games

Genre: Action, Adventure

Release Date: April 4th, 2024

Beat Slayer by ByteRockers’ Games

While innovation is always wonderful in games, I’m still a big fan of the “two great tastes that taste great together” approach to design. It can sometimes just be marketing buzzwords, but when something actually executes on combining elements from things you like into something fresh and new, it scratches the caveman brain in a way few other things do.

So it was that I was pretty excited to try out Beat Slayer, a game that I immediately pegged as Hades meets Hi-Fi Rush.

As expected, those two great tastes do indeed taste great together.

Let Us Slay

Set in an alternate ’90s Berlin enslaved by technocorporations and drowned out by mind-controlling droning, Beat Slayer provides the exact kind of ridiculous, high-concept world-building to make the idea of “smash robots in time to the music” work. Protagonist Mia is out to rescue her brother from the city’s presiding overlord and aims to do this with a combination of beats, buddies, and blunt-force trauma.

Anyone familiar with the aforementioned Hades will feel right at home with the game’s structure. You hack and slash your way through single isometric screens of enemies, pick up an upgrade, and choose your next destination.

Upon inevitably dying, you return to the hub (in this case an underground bar called SAFE), chat with your compatriots, buy some upgrades, and go out again. Rinse and repeat.

The rub, however, is that you’re rewarded for playing rhythmically. Timing Mia’s attacks and dodges to the beat of the music shifts her into a “Tanzrausch” state, where her attacks hit harder and her abilities charge faster. The music also kicks up the intensity as you do this, giving you plenty of incentive to keep it going.

The Cyborg Slayers

The core gameplay of Beat Slayers is fundamentally enjoyable, thanks to simple but effective controls and an attitude towards the rhythm side that isn’t punishing. There are even tons of visual accessibility options for people as rhythmically challenged as I am (seriously, I tend to suck at games like this).

It also drip-feeds you enough new techniques and weapons to continually make the combat fresh and engaging.

It helps that the game is stylish as hell, too. With visuals reminiscent of real-life Berlin street art and top-quality voice acting and writing (and, of course, the music), the game sets out to create a particular tone and nails it. This alone would be commendable even without the enjoyable gameplay.

In terms of flaws, there are few, but one in particular is significant: while the enemies you fight all add different elements to each battle, there are notably few of them, and visually they’re quite similar to each other. As a result, after a few extended play sessions, combat began to get repetitive.

This could be a massive problem for something intended to be a sprawling Rogue-like meant to eat up hundreds of hours, but Beat Slayer’s short length actually means it’s not as egregious here.

The Verdict

Quibbles aside, Beat Slayer is an enjoyable game that combines its influences into something that feels fresh and interesting. At the low price of $20, it’s basically less than the cost of a single drink at an actual Berlin nightclub and way less likely to leave you feeling hungover.

Beat Slayer is available via Steam.

Watch the trailer for Beat Slayer below: