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Beat Slayer Review (PC)



Beat Slayer Promotional Art

If Hades and Disco Elysium had, by some random coincidence, glued themselves to the rhythmic nodes of Metal: Hellsinger and formulated an electronic rogue-like hack-and-slash, then chances are, Beat Slayer would be the finalized product. As it turns out, ByteRockers’ Games’ newly-formed creation is a mixture of the three, with each layer tapping into a generous pool of stylized components that lean heavily towards a Hi-Fi Rushtype blueprint. The only major difference here, however, is that it doesn’t opt for an encore comprised of head-banging power metal anthems, but rather, a candy-popping electro setlist—one of which is sure to get your toes curdling and the veins in your neck pulsating as you beat the living daylights out of, well, anything with a pulse, or lack thereof.

I’ll be honest, I’m not a die-hard fan of the genres that Beat Slayer fuses to its fibers — but that isn’t too much of an issue, as it wasn’t the music that initially compelled me to navigate through the game’s rhythm-centric corridors, but the balls-to-the-wall combat that, while not competently designed, to say the least, was always a delight to shovel through, even during segments that involved having to rinse and repeat the same three or four beats thrice over to progress. But that was all part of the learning curve, and honestly, I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t enjoy being somebody’s chew toy for all the while I ironed out the creases and finessed the edges of my palatable skill sets.

So, what exactly is it that makes Beat Slayer, I don’t know, pop? Is it worth the time and effort? Or another question would be, is it worth sidelining the likes of Hi-Fi Rush and Hades for? Let’s talk about it.

Will Find You, and I Will Make You Listen to My Mixtape

Melee-based combat (Beat Slayer)

Beat Slayer thrusts you into the dystopian boroughs of twentieth-century Berlin—a city engulfed in war and turmoil and consistently beneath the thumb of a tyrannical robotic empire. As Mia, an axe-wielding, no-nonsense-talking protagonist with a heart of stone, you must embark on a quest to locate your long-lost brother, who’s being held captive behind the seemingly impenetrable walls of a faraway fortress. Along the way, you’ll need to unearth the secrets of a metropolis plagued by endless conflict and dystopian dreams—a feat that just so happens to involve battling hordes of robotic foes and, courtesy of the game’s thematic template, hacking to the rhythm of a beat.

As with any game that employs a generic rhythmic gameplay style and a series of node-blasting tools, Beat Slayer asks only that you do one thing: synchronize your attacks in time with the beat; the more accurate your response, the better your attacks will become, thus granting you additional powers to deliver fatal flows and overcharged moves. This system—hereby referred to as Tanzenreich—isn’t all that difficult to crack; it’s as simple as acquiring enough points by landing a streak of perfect blows, and then unlocking an additional palette of tools that allow you to utilize even stronger attacks. It’s simple, easy to navigate, and surprisingly addictive—three things that make the overall experience thrice as enjoyable to endure, for sure.

You Will Fail…Spectacularly

Upgrades menu (Beat Slayer)

I’m not saying that Beat Slayer is a difficult game or anything, but the fact that it requires some level of skill to be able to weave a sufficient amount of beats together to overcome certain enemies does, on the rarest of occasions, make things a little tougher. Its boss fights, for example, require near-perfect streaks in order to complete—a task that involves having to land a set amount of hits whilst also staying clear of any fatal injuries. Sadly, if you do happen to fall in battle, then you will have to rewind the clock and, well, start from scratch. And that’s annoying, truly — but what’s life without a few challenges?

The good news is that, despite the sheer volume of curveballs that the campaign throws at you throughout your romp through the streets of Berlin, help is never too far away; in fact, each death teaches you a valuable lesson, and serves as the foundation for a later attempt that you may or may not succeed in. With thanks to the companions who occupy your base, too, a lot of additional courses can be taken and adopted for future dives. Needless to say, in order to mark a serious dent in the story — you must be willing to throw in the towel from time to time, if only to learn from your mistakes and become more confident in your ability to wreak havoc on the foes who stand before you. Again, Hades springs to mind; you will die, but for the greater good.

For me, I found that, even when I was falling at the robotic arms of some oversized contraption, I was somehow making progress — even though it didn't often bleed through the questionably unfair remarks made by my companions. Regardless, I was always on track.

On the Beat

Explosive combat (Beat Slayer)

Arguably one of the best features of Beat Slayer is its chosen art style; it's Hi-Fi Rush meets Borderlands, though perhaps with a few borrowed textures from the likes of Persona and, for good measure, Sunset Overdrive. Aside from its crisp and coherent coating and candy-popping visual effects, Beat Slayer does also benefit from a clean, albeit sinisterly cutthroat gameplay style that, although a few field goals from being mechanically complex, performs to a high standard from the moment you plant roots in its war-torn world, to the second you depart its outer borders. Add the fact that it doesn't overcompensate for its lack of technical intricacies by introducing a slew of overwhelming UI systems, and you've got numerous reasons to lay all of your eggs into one basket.

When all's said and done, Beat Slayer doesn't make a last-ditch effort to encompass assets that it simply does not need to deploy; it knows what it is, and it does the genre justice by finessing a single layer and not, for example, smothering it with unwarranted themes that serve no purpose in the general infrastructure of the blueprint. Suffice it to say that this is, despite its simplicity and to-the-letter design, a relatively painless homage to the art of rhythmic shooters — and that's more than enough to justify a quick insertion into any die-hard fan's pockets, truly.


Mechanical boss fight (Beat Slayer)

If you left the outskirts of Hi-Fi Rush with an unquenchable thirst for more rhythmic mayhem, then you needn’t look any further than the ballistic borders of Berlin to get your next set of kicks. There’s a good set of bones to pick at here, and not to mention a crisp aesthetic and bullet-brazen atmosphere that’s both easy on the eyes, and as equally amplified through the formation of quality sounds and diverse beats. Sure, its storyline is a little, well, meh — but one forgettable narrative doesn’t necessarily make an impact on the overall quality of the gameplay aspects, of which there are plenty to write home about, funnily enough.

While it isn’t the longest game on the chopping block, it is enough to keep you cracking skulls and carving up new ways to amass infinite waves of mindless destruction in the theme that it so clearly favors. Moreover, it doesn’t cost a fortune to get ahold of, either; it’s currently standing on the Steam storefront for just shy of $20 — which is an absolute steal, given the amount of content it fashions directly from the box and presents on something of a blood-stained crimson platter.

To cut a long story short, if you are interested in cementing over the gap that was left out to dry by Hi-Fi Rush and its band of worthy adversaries, then you'd be right to channel your energy into tackling the carnage that Beat Slayer conjures by the boatload. Again, it isn't the bulkiest of beat 'em-up games out there, so try not to waltz in expecting to discover a drawn-out hike with a ludicrous amount of things to accommodate. This is, for lack of a better description, a short track, yet one that'll still leave you roaring for an encore, no doubt.

Beat Slayer Review (PC)

Don't Touch That Dial

Beat Slayer speaks volumes for the rhythm-centric beat ‘em up genre and its ability to compensate for minimal plot points with a heart-pounding soundtrack that has the potential to make even the most close-minded fans beckon for an encore. Its story is forgettable, to say the least, but that doesn’t change the fact that, gameplay-wise, it honestly doesn’t miss a beat.

Jord is acting Team Leader at If he isn't blabbering on in his daily listicles, then he's probably out writing fantasy novels or scraping Game Pass of all its slept on indies.