Killer Tunes: Symphony Looks Like Something Special

By Nathan Grayson on June 29th, 2012 at 10:00 am.

This, I can only assume, is a truly formidable showdown against the Barney The Dinosaur theme song.
I’m a sucker for games that use my music to procedurally generate things. I could, for instance, go on about how great Audiosurf is for days, but that might be a better fit for my soon-to-be-launched video side project, Nathan Goes On About How Great Audiosurf Is For Days. Dot Biz. Symphony, though, takes a similar philosophy and makes it march to the drum of old-school (read: non-bullet-hell) shmupery, spitting out all manner of different enemies that react and attack to your music’s beat. The short version? It looks like something I could lose hundreds of idle hours to. And the long version – well, minus a couple hundred hours or so – is after the break.

According to Polygon, Symphony will feature a full suite of musically themed ship upgrades, boss battles, five major stages, and six difficulty levels. Also, there’s a story about demons for some reason. Regardless, I quite like what I’m seeing here. Seems like it could easily be a soothing sensory massage or a mighty struggle worthy of lute ballads and epic poetry depending on what I’m in the mood for. Its August 6 release date is right around the corner, too, so I’ll only have to scream “But I want it noooooooooooow” continuously for a hair over 30 days.

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34 Comments »

  1. Xzi says:

    Awesome. I agree with every part of this post. And I am ready to liberate my music from the, what I assume to be Canadian, attackers. They need to put up a pre-order button, regardless of whether it does anything or not, so I can start clicking it.

  2. kaoswielder says:

    To be very honest, it looks like clusterfuck to me on screen. Or maybe I am just an old guy who is not accustomed to flashing disco/neon lights. Anywho, this is what my favorite music game is: http://labs.dinahmoe.com/plink/#

    • briktal says:

      Yeah, the game looks interesting, but I’m really not a fan of that style of graphics.

  3. MrEvilGuy says:

    I don’t think I want to see what horrors come out of black metal.

  4. povu says:

    My favourite music game is Beat Hazard. Eye melting stuff. This looks good too.

    • snappycakes says:

      I love Beat Hazard, but after getting the Ultra DLC I really suck at it. There’s just too much going on.

    • Rasga says:

      I freakin’ love Beat Hazard, especially Ultra. I haven’t played in a while though.

    • internisus says:

      Ugh; Beat Hazard is awful. It’s completely unplayable with any music that isn’t normalized to high amplitude all the time because the crap that comes out of your guns is directly proportional to how active the music is. You’ll be doing well and then all of a sudden it’s like someone just turned the valve on your faucet; little sputters come out in place of the usual soundless streams of color, and you are just screwed.

      It’s also impossible to even see what’s going on. The game tries so hard to be extreme that it just peppers the entire screen with identically colored glittery flashy bullshit that prevents you from seeing enemy bullets. I hate the scoring system, too. Oh, and the whole enterprise is phenomenally ugly, just a bunch of samey cardboard cutouts. Even the swooshy menus piss me off.

      • Grover says:

        They changed that a bit. The music can be slow and the enemies slow down, too.

      • pottering says:

        Beat Hazard is awesome.

        Maybe it would be nice if they had a warning about playing it with Ambient music and other quieter, contemplative music styles (although I think the loud vids and pics should be warning enough to most…).

        The dev seems to be receptive to suggestions on the game’s Steam forum, but I assume it must be difficult to generate custom content from music that has no beats, notes, or even instruments to begin with.

        What Grover said is true, I just tested with JS Bach and Mussorgsky and the enemies pretty much paused during the pauses and slower parts. Quite playable, but not as fun as with loud, fast music.

        In many games in Steam, the demo is an older version, can be quite different from the full game, specially if the dev updates the game a lot.

  5. The First Door says:

    I was always disappointed with Audiosurf. I always wished it was more like F-Zero on procedurally generated tracks, rather than the slightly boring collect three mechanic they used.

    Anyway, more importantly: this game looks very pretty! I can see myself losing many hours to it, as long as the shooting mechanics and enemy patterns are well designed!

    • Premium User Badge Dare_Wreck says:

      Same here – I never got the love for Audiosurf. I love music, and I love the idea of a futuristic racer… but I absolutely can’t stand the match-3 game they made as the core of the game.

      • Artificial says:

        I never quite ‘got’ it either. I always went in with the mind set that it was a music rhythm game, but it wasn’t really, and I never really played it again.

        • Premium User Badge Csirke says:

          Well I still play audiosurf quite a bit, and I never play match-3. I just play mono pro on ironmode, or if I’m looking for a challenge, ninja mono. Then it’s more like a rhythm game, and it’s fun!

    • internisus says:

      Agreed. Audiosurf seems to do a fairly decent job generating levels from music, but it doesn’t really matter at all because the boring color-combo gameplay is detached from it.

      On the other hand, I would absolutely love a music-generated F-Zero.

  6. CaptainHairy says:

    Looks good.

    Also, I like “Thanks for paying close attention to our trailer!.mp3″

  7. hamburger_cheesedoodle says:

    Hope the price point is reasonable. Audiosurf was a blast and I don’t regret buying it in the slightest, but if it were more than $10 I don’t think I would have gotten it.

  8. Zeewolf says:

    I want this now.

  9. mrpier says:

    Wonder if it’ll handle streaming music, I no longer have a large music collection on my pc.

  10. InternetBatman says:

    Looks like Geometry Wars with music. That’s not a bad thing, but I’m not terribly interested in it when I can still load up audiosurf or beat hazard.

  11. MikoSquiz says:

    I’m still impatiently waiting for a game-that-generates-levels-to-your-music to be good. Beat Hazard was passable, but Audiosurf’s more of a screen saver than a game.

  12. aliksy says:

    So it’s like Beat Hazard without the painful screen flashes? I might pick it up if it’s in a bundle, but I’m only really interested if it does a good job sync’ing with my music.

  13. NyuBomber says:

    This trailer would’ve gotten +50 points from me if it had the gumption/licensing fees to use something like “Rack City.”

    And I don’t even like “Rack City.”

  14. magnus says:

    I just hope it’ll have i-tunes support.

  15. internisus says:

    I don’t think I’m on board with music-generated games.

    Beat Hazard is one of the worst games that I have played in years, and Audiosurf’s color combos do nothing for me. I wanted to like 1… 2… 3… KICK IT! but every song/level plays exactly the same.

    The idea of procedural content generation from music is quite promising, but I don’t think it’s been done well yet.

    • MondSemmel says:

      Someone who’s making sense!
      I completely agree with your last sentence. I have tried Beat Hazard and Audiosurf, too, and I didn’t like them that much, either.

      Frankly, procedural content generation is _so_ hard to do that it rarely gets done right. The Binding of Isaac, for example, does it quite well, but so many other games just end up with repetitive and samey environments/enemies/etc…

      • magnus says:

        No, Nooooooooooooo! I don’t belive you both, those two are some of my favourite games, the thing is they al depend on what music you’re playing. You’re listening to the wrong music!

        • internisus says:

          If there is music that can be wrong, then the game is broken. This should be obvious.

          Also, I can’t tell you how disappointing it is to ponder your library and decide that a slow but intense build by Royksopp or Do Make Say Think would make for amazing content generation only to discover that the results are thoroughly lackluster.

          • magnus says:

            If you played Beat Hazzard with Blood Swamp by Sunn O))/Boris or anything off Metal Machine Music, yes THAT Lou Reed album, you’d probably change your mind.

          • pottering says:

            As Fartango posted below there is a game called The Polynomial that plays quite well with softer music.
            One could play Beat Hazard with their harder tunes and The Polynomial with softer ones.
            No single game is going to please every single different taste.

  16. Fartango says:

    Hmmm… I hope there’s a demo when it comes out… I love idea of content generation games that use some outside stimuli to generate stuff. Monster rancher 4 and Beat Hazard Ultra are my favorite examples.

    And to those beating up on Beat Hazard… It’s a good game but it’s not for everyone, the visual style alone which I find pretty fantastic can definitely be overwhelming for some people. The co-op gameplay and the extreme pace make it far more fun for me than Audiosurf ever was.

    Also for people who like the chill aspect of Audiosurf and want to enjoy some cool visualizations try the demo for “The Polynomial” It’s a kind of 3d space flight game with 3d vector style graphics, the universe and enemies are generated by your music and the in game settings. It’s a really cool visual treat with a pretty excellent 3d mode if you’re into that.

  17. squidlarkin says:

    Symphony. Even for monkey shaggers.