Beat Saber Monstercat Music Pack Vol. 1 Review – A Beast Worth Taming

Bust out the sweat bands and tighten your wrist straps. A big update to Beat Saber yesterday added a slew of new content to the PC version. Alongside that update, the game’s first paid DLC, Monstercat Music Pack Vol. 1, is now available on both PC and PSVR. The pack includes 10 strong tracks, one of which stands out as the most challenging—and rewarding—of the bunch.

When I set out to slice my way through the new Monstercat Music Pack Vol. 1 for Beat Saber, I thought this article was going to be a general overview of the songs and beat maps, but for me, one song in particular completely stole the show. Before I delve into that, here’s the breakdown of the ten new tracks (mapped in all difficulties) in the Music Pack:

  • “Boundless” — Aero Chord
  • “Emoji VIP” — Pegboard Nerds
  • “EPIC” — Tokyo Machine
  • “Feeling Stronger (feat. Charlotte Colley) [High Maintenance Remix]” — Muzzy
  • “Overkill” — RIOT
  • “Rattlesnake” — Rogue
  • “Stronger (feat. EMEL)” — Stonebank
  • “This Time” — Kayzo
  • “Till It’s Over” — Tristam
  • “We Won’t Be Alone (feat. Laura Brehm)” — Feint
  • To my ear, the setlist—which leans more toward techno and club music—doesn’t have the same level of musical intrigue and variety as OST I, OST II, and the bonus tracks. Still, the mapping is solid throughout, with a handful of interesting ideas.

    On Expert difficulty I enjoyed “Till It’s Over” for its interesting tonality and a string of notes which felt ‘spatially challenging’ (sort of like a solo). “Stronger” was also fun, and gets more mechanically interesting in the last half of the song.

    “Overkill,” however, was the immediate standout. What I thought initially was going to be a somewhat generic heavy metal track ended up mixing in elements of dubstep and synthwave which kept things interesting. The beat map makes great use of this variety, with the notes alternating between following intense guitar riffs, drums rolls, and dubstep flairs.

    “Overkill” on Expert – Challenge and Intrigue

    On Expert, “Overkill” offers a considerably more unique beat map than most of the other tracks in Monstercat Music Pack Vol. 1, with an emphasis on same-direction paired notes (swinging with both hands at the same time in the same direction), with a lot of up and down energy (effectively capturing the feel of the heavy drums and guitar):

    “Overkill” on Expert+ – The Song to Beat

    When I cranked things up to Expert+ for the new Music Pack, “Overkill” again stole the show, and revealed its potential as the new ‘song to beat’ among the officially mapped tracks.

    On my first playthrough I was met with a frustrating mess of notes that I couldn’t possibly sight read—I typically play at the Expert+ level, but this was far more complex than most other tracks. Rejecting the knee-jerk ‘this beat map sucks’ reaction, I dove into Practice Mode to play at 50% speed so I could start to understand what “Overkill” on Expert+ was actually asking of me. What I found was a crazy, awesome, powerful beat map which is a blast to play, on top of being one of the most challenging and interesting of the official Beat Saber tracks yet released.

    Luckily a speedy and skilled YouTuber already has a good playthrough posted, so in the video below you can see the full official beat map and I’ll use it as a time reference so you can see what I’m talking about:

    On Expert+, “Overkill” takes the guitar and drum runs up to the next level (0:49), with tons of up and down energy and same-direction paired notes that end up being surprisingly mobile, especially when you need to cross your arms to hit a handful of them (1:07).

    Then there’s the set of three huge ‘break’ swings (0:59) that not only ratchet up the song action, but do so in a way that has you swinging upward into a ‘power pose’ at the top of each note which makes you feel like a total badass. Another ‘rising’ moment in the song has a similar effect, but instead of swinging upward into a power pose, you’re alternating quickly left and right across the center with both hands as the notes steadily rise up on either side of you (1:40).

    And just when you think it’s time to wind down, the song comes at you with a crazy string of same-direction paired notes which are ever so challenging and satisfying to keep up with (2:59) and to chase when they start going in every which direction (3:10).

    While “Overkill” on the Expert difficulty was already fairly challenging, Expert+ might as well be Expert++ compared to many of the official tracks. I’ll admit that I’ve still only been able to complete it at 85% speed thus far, but I can’t wait to dive back in and finally master the song at full speed.

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