If there’s one thing I am a little too obsessed with, it’s rhythm games. One of my favorite PC games ever made is Metal Hellsinger, and before that I spent far too much time on Riot Forge’s Hextech Mayhem. This Steam Next Fest, though, my attention has turned to Beat Slayer, a new indie that channels the gritty, gloomy dystopian setting of Fallout and the on-beat combat and comic book style of HiFi Rush. If two of the best Bethesda games had a baby, it’d be this game.
In Beat Slayer you play as Mia, a metalhead revolutionary with a penchant for causing chaos. Your brother has been taken by the powers that be, and you’re on a mission to rescue him despite the swirling questions around aspects of his bizarre disappearance.
While the game’s combat is primarily roguelike (you’ll be dashing around like you do in Hades), at its core Beat Slayer is a rhythm game. Much like HiFi Rush, you need to time your strikes perfectly to hit harder, and consistently matching the beat will let you enter ‘Tanzrausch’ (translated by PCGamesN’s lovely Ken Allsop as something akin to ‘dance frenzy’), which lets you rain down musical justice on your enemies.
In this demo, you can choose from three different weapons – the Beat Shredder axe, Groove Crusher hammer, and circular, knife-like Rhythm Slicer. As you progress through branching Slay the Spire-style pathways, you’ll receive randomized upgrades and powers to help you on your journey.
For instance, on my first run everything revolved around a power-up that gives you chain lightning, but next time around I tore through enemies using the poison-esque virus, which deals huge levels of damage over time. The latter was by far my favorite.
But, for me, the thing that makes this game so unique is its music and setting. As a history graduate with a focus on post-WWII Germany, this game is everything I want and more. The graffiti-esque black-and-white artstyle, the gritty, retro visuals – Beat Slayer is the personification of what hardcore German subculture looked like in the ’90s.
The music is industrial, droning, mechanical – I’ve already asked the English PR team when the soundtrack is releasing because it’s so damn good. This game is everything I want and more – and that’s only based on the demo.
You can download the Beat Slayer demo as part of Steam Next Fest, and while it’s relatively streamlined, it’s absolutely worth your time. The Beat Slayer release date is also set for Thursday April 4, so now’s the perfect time to try before you buy.
We also have a list of other Steam Next Fest demos to check out this week, and roguelike fans will absolutely love this Diablo-inspired hack and slash adventure. But, if you’re looking for something a little more substantial for when the party’s over, we have a list of all the best free Steam games, too.