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Video Game / Beat Saber

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If you want to escape with me...
Beat Saber is a Rhythm Game for VR headsets, where the player is given a pair of lightsabers, and has to cut cubes in time with music. Its website can be found here.

It was released on May 1, 2018 on Steam Early Access to critical acclaim; a launch for PlayStation 4 VR followed on November 20, 2018, with the full PC release happening on May 21, 2019. It was a launch title for the Oculus Quest, and the game's publisher was bought by Facebook and now operates under the Oculus Studios umbrella.

Beat Saber contains examples of:

  • Anti-Frustration Features: Cubes that require you to cross both your sabers simultaneously will show them switching places before they reach you.
  • April Fools' Day: "Crab Rave" was added as a bonus track on April 1, 2019, which is also the song's one-year anniversary.
  • Assist Character: Arc notes. When they were first presented, players thought they were an added challenge requiring you to not only hit the note but follow the arc to the next note. Developers came out and clarified that the arcs are just a guidance tool, and you are free to follow or not follow them as they will follow your saber, regardless of where it is. Just make sure to hit the next note. However, in the Rock Mixtape, the arcs eventually appear in sections where you need to cut notes instead of following the arcs.
  • Challenge Run:
    • There are several modifiers players can select to make routines harder such as: making the song play twice as fast, make the arrow indicators disappear, make the entire note disappear, make the note blocks smaller, or perform the entire routine with only one life.
    • Playing any song in two-saber mode using the same color for both sabers.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The notes' colors correspond to the colors of your sabers. Each pack has a set of default colors, and they always contrast so they can be easily discerned, but the players can change these to any color they want - including making them the same color.
  • The Computer Is a Lying Bastard: Usually the game is very good about giving players accurate information about the routines, except for "My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light 'Em Up)", which is incorrect at least on the notes per second and overall note count.[1]
  • Disco: Lizzo's environment is disco themed, especially the runway, which is a classic disco floor.
  • Dance Sensation: "FitBeat", while not so much a dance routine as it is a fitness exercise, lists out the steps to the song including stepping/leaning left and right, crouching, and "breaking it down".
  • Do Well, But Not Perfect: Some Campaign missions require you to complete a song with a minimum number of bad cuts and/or misses, or not allowing your combo to exceed a certain limit. The trick is timing your deliberate misses such that you can still complete the song without your life bar bottoming out.
  • Downloadable Content: Includes ten Monstercat songs, six Monstercat songs from Rocket League, and music packs from Imagine Dragons, Panic! at the Disco, Green Day, Timbaland, Linkin Park, BTS, Lady Gaga, Skrillex, Billie Eilish, Fall Out Boy, Lizzo, The Weeknd, Daft Punk, an assortment of artists under Interscope Records, an assortment of EDM hits, and an assortment of Rock hits.
  • Dual Wielding: Players are doing this most of the time, except in One Saber mode.
  • Epileptic Flashing Lights: The light shows, especially the Expert+ routines, usually have rapid flashing and strobing effects. The game gives a seizure warning upon startup and includes options to turn these lights off for photosensitive players.
  • Exergaming:
    • More points can be earned when players swings their blades with larger angles when hitting the blocks, up to 100 degrees before hit and 60 degrees after hit.
    • The connection between Beat Saber and exercise was made even more apparent with the release of the song "FitBeat", which was marketed as a fitness routine.
  • Final Death Mode: Turning on the "One Life" modification will fail the level if you make one mistake.
  • Game Mod: Oh yes, there is some customization available.
    • Players can add customized songs and tracks to their playlist for more variety.
    • There are interface mods that add more information about player performance for easier tracking of your progress.
    • Cosmetic mods exist that both allow you to change the colors, apply a 3D virtual avatar for replays, and add graphical skins to replace the beat sabers (amongst the popular saber mods include crossguard sabers, and replicas of Dark Repulser and Elucidator).
  • Gameplay Grading: Turning on the "Advanced HUD" will show a letter grade ranging from F to SS in addition to the points score. The grade reflects how accurately the notes are cut, how big of a swing the player does to cut each note, and if any notes are missed.
  • Gateless Ghetto: The Weeknd's environment is a city street surrounded by scyscrapers.
  • Halloween Episode: Spooky Beat is a level released in October 2021, complete with a map of a path leasing to a haunted house, surrounded by tombstones and zombie hands.
  • Harder Than Hard: Expert and Expert+, both of which are noticeably harder than Hard. Exaggerated with the Camellia pack, whose charts are typically a difficulty step above what they're listed as. So yes, on these songs, even Hard is harder than Hard on other songs.
  • Hidden Track: "Angel Voices" was originally only available by solving a riddle, but now it's unlocked by default.
  • Hitbox Dissonance: Used for notes and bomb obstacles. On notes, the hitbox for good cuts extends past the note's model to the front and sides, allowing for early and off-center swings to still count for hits, while the bad cut hitbox (for swings in the wrong direction or with the wrong color saber) is somewhat smaller than the note itself. Bombs also have a hitbox that's smaller than their physical model. The "Pro Mode" modifier can be applied to change the note hitbox to precisely match the notes' model.
  • "I Am Great!" Song:
    • "Legend" is a song boasting about how the singer is "the greatest of all time."
    • "Unlimited Power" provides a similar message, but specifically about being great at Beat Saber itself.
  • Impressive Pyrotechnics: The Fall Out Boy stage features several rows of pyrotechnics, and some songs will have giant fiery explosions playing on the screens in the background.
  • Instrumentals: About half of the OST songs are instrumentals, and several officially licensed song packs also feature instrumentals such as Darude's "Sandstorm".
  • Laser Blade: The blades the player uses to cut the cubes.
  • Limited Lyrics Song:
    • "Rum N' Bass", whose only lyrics are the occasional standard pirate sayings.
    • "Spin Eternally" has a few lyrics, but mostly its just about spinning.
  • Looped Lyrics: "Give A Little Love", which consists of the title being repeated eight times.
  • Marathon Level:
    • "Angel Voices" clocks in at over six minutes in a game where the average song length is two to three.
    • "GHOST" isn't much shorter, coming it at just shy of six minutes. However, they might be the most grueling six minutes of your Beat Saber career.
    • The Rock Mixtape features Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Free Bird" in its entire near 9-minute runtime and has been described as such.
    • Daft Punk Music Pack features The Prime Time of Your Life (Live 2007), which is 10 minutes and 23 seconds long.
  • Noob Bridge: The OST 5 soundtrack added "chain notes", a short set of notes where the first part of the chain must be hit in according to direction and then followed through for a varying number of notes. These can range from as short as 3 note chains to 12 note chains, all affected by note speed as well. They're also available as soon as you pick up the game, and they are not included in the tutorial, leaving new players to figure it out themselves while experienced players will generally know how they work based off of previous experience and a greater sense of rhythm and musicality.
  • No Plot? No Problem!: Hit the notes and enjoy the music and pretty light show.
  • Original Character: Most of the OST Soundtracks are comprised of songs created by composers for Beat Saber. The only exception is OST Volume 4, as "Spin Eternally" and "Angel Voices" existed and were used in rhythm games prior to Beat Saber.
  • Overly Long Name: The Fall Out Boy music pack features two of their incredibly long titled songs, "My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light 'Em Up)" and "This Ain't a Scene, It's An Arms Race".
  • Parking Garage: The Interscope Remix stage is a parking garage with several cars that move to the beat of the song playing.
  • Puzzle Boss: Campaign missions 14a and 28b have you attaining a minimum score while also meeting a minimum arm movement threshold, with "No Fail" enabled. If you try to play through the songs normally, even with as much arm movement as possible during lulls, you'll usually find yourself falling just short on one of the two requirements. The trick is figuring out that once you make the score requirement, you can just flail your arms around wildly until you make the movement requirement since mistakes in these missions carry no penalty whatsoever.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: "Fitbeat" has obstacles which force the player to duck down because the level mapper thought the song said "down to the left, down to the right" instead of "now to the left, now to the right." Ultimately, they decided to keep the crouches due to increased movement being more or less the whole point of the song.
  • Rhythm Game: The cubes are usually placed to correspond with notes in the song.
  • Scoring Points: You accumulate points based on how precise you are cutting the notes as well as if you miss any. For each note, you can score up to 100 points based on your swing angle (70 for swinging into the note at a 100-degree angle, 30 for swinging out at a 90-degree angle), as well as an extra 15 points depending on how close your swing is to the note's center. There's also a score multiplier that increases up to x8 as you hit notes and gets cut in half each time you miss or bad cut, and the various modifiers will either add to or subtract from your total score when enabled.
  • Single Stanza Song:
    • "One Hope" has a single, 11 line verse.
    • "Angel Voices" for being six minutes long, only ever repeats the first verse five times.
  • Spectacular Spinning: Most of the lyrics in "Spin Eternally" are just the word "spin" repeated over and over. This translates into the routine by having the player spin their sabers around via a combination of notes and bombs.
  • Spelling for Emphasis: The "OK" and "All Rights" in the routine for Lizzo's "About Damn Time" are emphasized by the lights on the rainbow in the background spelling out "O.K" and "A.R."
  • "Staying Alive" Dance Pose: The Expert and Expert+ routines for "Dance, Dance" will have the player strike this pose at the beginning of each chorus.
  • Story Difficulty Setting: The "Zen Mode" modifier allows you to enjoy the music and lighting of any level without having to worry about notes or obstacles.
  • Sword Lines: Swinging the blades will leave behind a trail of light, the intensity of which can be adjusted or turned off entirely in the game's settings.
  • Sword Sparks: Crossing the blades creates sparks and the controllers vibrate a little.
  • Title Track: "Beat Saber" by Jaroslav Beck.
  • Underground Level: The Linkin Park environment is an abandoned tunnel.
  • Visual Pun: In the OST 5 track "Magic", the first repetition of the lyrics "chain reaction" are accompanied by a pair of chain notes.