Music to my ears

We’ve come a long way from Guitar Hero.  Since its 2005 release, rhythm based games have really grown into their own.  They’ve moved beyond simply simulating music.  Now it seems the goal is to incorporate music into gameplay in less direct, more creative ways.  Take for example Beatbuddy, which we recently previewed here at Gamezebo.  It’s a rhythm game, but it’s an adventure platformer first.  And then there’s the PC title Audiosurf, which is like a Mario Kart and Tetris lovechild on acid.  These games are all about the music, but not about simulating it.  Instead, they are ways to experience music within the parameters gaming’s different genres.  That’s the idea behind Symphony.

Symphony is a shootem’up game of the bullet hell variety.  Much like Mutant Storm, you direct a ship around a danger-filled arena while shooting at bad guys and getting points for it.  But, as you may notice in the trailer, some of the projectiles that your ship fires are musical notes — something not often used as weapons in shmups. 

 Also, you may have noticed what the trailer calls its “unique music-driven battlefield.”  To translate: all action on-screen happens in an oddly synchronous way.  Even though it’s a shootem’up, it looks and feels and sounds like you’re playing a song — or, perhaps, like you’re playing inside of a song.  Combine that with the ambient glow of the graphics, and you have some seriously satisfying atmosphere.

 Symphony

Symphony

And as for the music that builds this atmosphere — it comes from your own collection.  Symphony creates glowy little worlds out of your favorite songs and lets you blow stuff up inside of them.  A calm song will create a calm atmosphere and an intense song will throw more baddies at you, matching the music’s intensity.  Talk about replay value… there are as many levels as there are songs on your iPhone.

 Symphony is looking like it will shape up to be a requisite supplemental to any casual gamer’s music collection.  And as the winner of two awards from this year’s IGC, Symphony’s August release can’t come soon enough.