Fez: The Musical – Melodisle

By Nathan Grayson on March 4th, 2013 at 6:00 pm.

No, that’s not a screenshot from Fez, Polytron’s “not a PC game” that’s probably coming to PC soon. And while Melodisle‘s general approach to its genre – set players lose in a semi-open area and put them through a gauntlet of slow-burn, eureka moment puzzles – is similar, its main mechanic marches to the beat of its own drum. Or, well, not a drum per se, but some kind of synthesized midi vocal chirp sound. It’s musical, is what I’m saying. You sing at the game world, and things happen. It’s an interesting conceit that makes for some charming (though occasionally convoluted) puzzling. Thoughts after the break.

Melodisle (pronounced “Melo-AUUGGHHWORDSDONTWORKTHATWAY”) takes place on a tiny island full of birds and mushrooms and weird sentient totem things. Most of them hold precious secrets (or at least musical notes), and you can test your adorable albino pipes against them by using the A, S, D, F, Q, W, E, and R keys – aka, “do re mi fa so la ti do.” So basically, it’s kind of like Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, except sans everything that’s not the ocarina.

It’s up to you to suss out what’s a puzzle and what’s not, giving the whole thing a relaxing freeform vibe. There aren’t a whole lot of them, but most will tickle your brain with a mix of endearingly bizarre sensibilities, overt references to Nintendo-era classics, and a spicy dash of difficulty.

Well, except when they don’t. A few of the puzzles outright tell you their answers if you pay attention, and another (here is a hint: I despise all birds now) swings in the complete opposite direction by giving so little feedback that it’s nearly impossible. Melodisle’s certainly isn’t the most even of experiences.

But it’s still an enjoyable one, despite being slightly rough around the edges. Then again, Melodisle is apparently creator Andrew Gleeson’s first game, and by that metric, it’s a borderline-incredible accomplishment. If nothing else, though, its world of doe-eyed warblers will steal a grin or two from even the darkest of hearts. So yes, it’s a pleasant little adventure-puzzler no matter how you slice it, and you should probably give it a go. Grab it hereabouts.

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16 Comments »

  1. MadTinkerer says:

    I’m having Link’s Awakening flashbacks… (and that’s a good thing)

    • deadly.by.design says:

      I’m pretty sure the main quest melody from that game touched my then-10-year-old soul.

      Speaking of touching and young children … have you played Anodyne? It has some musical and gameplay stylings reminiscent of Link’s Awakening. (also Startropics and Earthbound, musically)

  2. SuperNashwanPower says:

    You see? Gamers have a nurturing, loving side. After committing face-murder on hundreds of polygonal men, there’s nothing we like more than making music with lovable little baby animal flute munchkins.

    I demand more bunny games.

  3. TreuloseTomate says:

    I demand Fez on Steam.

  4. JFS says:

    I demand this game be renamed to Meloface.

  5. Waswat says:

    As someone who hasn’t bothered with the zelda games since they weren’t my cup of tea, could someone give me a hint to the ‘triforce’ bit? I tried AWDAWD and AQWAQW, thinking of the controller scheme of the C-buttons. Even things like SWESWE or WEDWED seeing the a and q as the blue and green button.
    Looked up the songs in ocarina of time, and i didnt see any that had a left up down left up down thing. So basically I’m stuck there

  6. Andrew Gleeson says:

    Hi RockPaperShotgun.

  7. Phantoon says:

    Will probably be incredibly overrated and intensely mediocre, just like Fez.

    • Waswat says:

      Complaining about a free game like that, with a quick underlying jab towards Fez as well, is just petty. How about you try it instead? There’s not much to lose.

  8. zbeeblebrox says:

    The pronunciation is pretty easy. You just say, “Melo-dizzle”

    It was named by Snoop Dogg, you see.

  9. Nixitur says:

    Oh hey, Dropbox error 509, haven’t seen you in some time.

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