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Beat Saber: Everything you need to know about the VR Rhythm game

Beat Saber: Everything we know about the VR rhythm game
Beat Saber: Everything we know about the VR rhythm game

Beat Saber, the rhythm VR game from developer Beat Games (based in the Czech Republic), combines original beats with vibrant visuals and frenetic gameplay. The team started on this project in 2016 after not being satisfied with the selection of rhythm games available at the time, and was released on May 1, 2018, on Steam and Oculus Rift, with later releases on PSVR and the Oculus Quest. Here's everything else you need to know.

What's new with Beat Saber?

Beat Saber was released on Steam and Oculus May 1, 2018, and it's compatible with HTC Vive, Valve Index, Oculus Rift, and Windows Mixed Reality (WMR) on the PC. It's also available on the Oculus Quest and PlayStation VR (PSVR) on the PlayStation 4. Beat Saber has become the number-one-selling VR title and is the first VR-only game to hit the Steam top 100 sellers in a year, which was achieved in 2019.

360 and 90-degree levels were added in a recent update and significantly overhauls the concept of beat blocks heading straight for you. In regular mode, beat blocks are delivered in four total "lanes" that glide toward you in a straight fashion. In 90-degree and 360-degree modes, up to 28 lanes of notes will come at you from multiple directions, and you will even have to fully turn around in the 360-degree mode. That's a massive increase in the physical movement for a game that already has players losing weight just from regularly playing the game.

Beat Saber has an official level editor built into the game, which allows players to create custom "beat maps" for official songs. As of this writing, Beat Saber has three official sound tracks in the game, over one dozen bonus tracks, and four DLC music packs featuring Monster Cat, Green Day, Panic! At the Disco, and Imagine Dragons. Many 3rd party modding sites exist for players to easily add additional songs to the game with very little effort, including automated plugins and in-game song browsers. BeatSaver and BeastSaber are the two most popular ways to get these songs as of this writing.

How can I play Beat Saber?

How can I play Beat Saber?

Beat Saber is strictly a VR game, compatible with HTC Vive, Valve Index, Oculus Rift, or WMR. You'll likewise need a PC that meets the following minimum requirements:

  • Processor — Intel Core i5 (second-gen or better).
  • Memory — 4GB RAM.
  • Graphics — NVIDIA GTX 960 (equivalent or better).
  • Storage — 200MB.

What is Beat Saber?

What is Beat Saber?

What is Beat Saber?

Beat Saber is a VR rhythm game that combines original music with lightsaber slashing. It's sort of like Rock Band VR (opens in new tab), Fruit Ninja VR, and Audioshield all mashed up into one, but Star Wars fans will no doubt also get a kick out of the content.

If you don't mind getting a workout while you game, Beat Saber is a title that's simple to pick up and try but extremely difficult to master.

What is Beat Saber gameplay like?

The above video is from Ruirize, filmed using LIV mixed reality.

Beat Saber is all about keeping rhythm. In each hand, you hold a lightsaber, one blue and one red. When the music starts, small blocks with a colored arrow on each begin gliding toward you — much like other rhythm games — and it's up to you to slash the blocks in the direction noted by the arrow. There are obstacles that come your way as well, which you must avoid with your body and sabers.

Timing is everything here, and slashing successfully will up your combo multiplier and ultimately your final score. It seems relatively easy to start, but, as evidenced in many gameplay videos you'll find from streaming gamers, things can get crazy in a hurry. Each song has multiple levels of difficulty to make it easier for beginners to jump in and for experts to enjoy a challenge. Since launch, Expert+ difficulty has been added, and the 90-degree and 360-degree levels add a completely different level of challenge for even the most familiar songs.

Related: 8 Beat Saber tips and tricks to excel in Expert mode

How does scoring work in Beat Saber?

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A big part of what keeps players coming back to Beat Saber is the leaderboard. Here you can see how you compare to the rest of the world as well as any online friends you have who also play. If you've been slashing near-perfectly and can't figure out why your scores are so low, it might have to do with how scoring works in Beat Saber.

There are essentially three things to remember when you slash a block. First, ensure you're starting your swing from a 90-degree angle. This awards you 70 points. Following through, you should continue your swing for at least another 60 degrees, which awards up to another 30 points. Finally, how close you slice to the middle of a block can net you up to another 10 points, bringing the total possible score per block up to 110 points.

You can also utilize modifiers to increase your score or to help you train. Modifiers are found on the left side of the home menu before you begin a song. Each modifier will tell you what it does, as well as how it modifies your score. Modes like disappearing arrows and faster song will net you significantly more points if you can successfully complete the song.

When can I start playing Beat Saber?

You can start playing right now! Beat Saber is available on Steam (this version compatible with HTC Vive, Valve Index, Oculus Rift, Rift S, and WMR) and Oculus (opens in new tab) (compatible with Rift, Rift S, and Quest). Expect to pay $30 at either store.

Updated January 11, 2020: This guide has been refreshed to include information on the most recently available songs, DLC packs, 360 and 90-degree levels, price, and additional supported platforms.

Nick started with DOS and NES and uses those fond memories of floppy disks and cartridges to fuel his opinions on modern tech. Whether it's VR, smart home gadgets, or something else that beeps and boops, he's been writing about it since 2011. Reach him on Twitter or Instagram @Gwanatu

7 Comments
  • Had this on my wishlist for a while now, excited to try it out. Looks properly fun and a good way to get a little extra exercise in there as well.
    But one thing that concerns me, at least on the features of the steam page;
    "Handcrafted levels & music - All the basic levels and music in the game will be handcrafted to emphasise the music rhythm. The results are incomparable to similar games with generated content."
    I have a lot of music that I'd like to play with this game, and unless it's got the ability to at least guesstimate and generate some presentable content then I'll probably refund it within the hour.
    It's nice having perfect sync music in the game for a base game, but I really don't want to be stuck with a handful of tracks I don't really like to listen to, and certainly won't be paying to play some other tracks I don't like listening to either.
  • goto http://beatsaver.com/ there you will find the patch and dozens of amazing 3rd party songs to add to beat saber for free on either platform. I used an HP mixed reality headset and it's perfect and works 100%. I've played several fan made songs and they are as awesome and creative as the 10 it comes with.
  • Yeah.... Not sure I want to repeatedly break a sweat in my hmd, whether I have wipes to clean it or not. Just seems like it'd get gross after a while
  • You would definitely want leather foams on your HMD that can easily be wiped off afterwards.
  • Hey guys! The last video you guys have embedded belongs to me - please can you give proper attribution to both LIV ( https://liv.tv/ ) and myself ( Ruirize, https://twitch.tv/ruirize ). Thanks for understanding.
  • Not a problem, sorry for the mixup!
  • I'm in the minority of VR users who couldn't get into Beat Saber. I much preferred Audio Shield until YouTube blocked their access (thanks Google).