Symphony – Ghost in the (Stereo) System

box_large_symphonybox
9 Overall Score
Gameplay: 9/10
Presentation: 9/10
Relayability: 10/10

Have you ever wanted to shoot things from a space craft AND sing Call Me Maybe at the same time? It wasn’t until recently I found out I indeed HAVE had that need, which is why I am reviewing Symphony by Empty Clip Studios.

Symphony took home two awards from the Indie Game Challenge, and from what I gathered from the one screenshot I saw, was that it was a game about music somehow, and looked like an arcade-style shooter – apparently I am a very good journalist. So I gave it a try, thinking I’d play it once I’d move on with my life (I’m a hard sell at Indie titles).

The whole premise is quite simple but oddly perplexing; shoot the enemies that come onto your platform. Get hit enough times and die; simple enough. However here comes the fun part: the game uses your downloaded music (I’m sure it’s all legal, you pirate) and your gaming experience is molded by the song you’re playing. So far from what I can tell, up tempo songs and heavy bass tracks are significantly different experiences from mellow or slower tunes, and the enemies seem to come in on the beat (either that or I’m the next Avicii).

What’s cool is because it’s an Indie game, there’s a little nod toward Indie artists, which are featured inside the game for you to use instead of your own library. This way you can discover new bands which you’ve never heard of in your life – Hipster achievement unlocked. There are also popular bands if you want to sell out and go mainstream.

To keep things interesting, the story involves demons/the devil/Elvis/etc that are trying to corrupt your music, and steal your composers’ soul. Every once in a while during game play a demon that looks like the Blue Devil crossed with the things from Doom and talks like the sound effects in The Ring takes over your screen, bobs back and forth, and hides behind panels while you try not to kamikaze your plane into them. Each time you defeat the devil/Rosie O’Donnell, you get a piece of the “Symphony of Souls” which has been corrupted by these demons. Defeat five demon bosses and each one clears up a piece of your symphony.

You can also leverage leaderboards, unlocking achievements and winning medals based on your progress. Don’t worry, the songs aren’t one hit wonders (see what I did there?), each song has 6 levels of difficulty which you can earn points, or “Kudos”, to unlock items you’ve achieved during the game and witness the mass hysteria that are the harder levels.

So here I was, with Call Me Maybe (that was not a joke) as an epic battleground soundtrack to my space adventure and I couldn’t help but think…. “This looks like a movie.” Not for any other reason other than the music truly did fit with the experience. It was a pretty epic soundtrack, and I found myself playing the same level over and over, acquiring Kudos, unlocking a subwoofer (because you will need that to listen to Carly Rae Jepsen), and singing along poorly. This is why nobody invites me to Karaoke.

What’s best about this game is although I am not an Indie game enthusiast (I’m a game snob), I really liked it. This game was completely addicting, fun, and I found myself playing it a few times on separate occasions even after I got the material I needed to write this review. The best part was rocking out and swearing at the devils that ruined my song.

HEY I JUST PLAYED THROUGH, AND THIS IS CRAZY, SO HERE’S MY GAMESCORE, 9/10, MAYBE?


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Author: Amanda Murphy View all posts by
PC Editor | Twitter: Amanda_Lei

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