Sentris Is A Puzzle Game About Making Music

By Nathan Grayson on October 29th, 2013 at 11:00 am.

You can never have enough koto.

In recent years I’ve become something of a rhythm game junkie, but I have to say, the core of the genre is starting to feel a bit rotten – or at least stale. By and large, it’s the same basic idea: play along to your music. Run, jump, fight, or dodge while backgrounds morph, dance, and burst with color. I’m hardly burnt out on games like Soundodger, Crypt of the NecroDancer, Audiosurf, and the like, but I do think there’s room for something different, something more. That in mind, I really like where Sentris is headed. It straddles the line between pulsating musical playground and full-on musical production, but in a way that doesn’t rope off those with un-blistered fingers or un-whatever-happens-when-you-play-a-vuvuzela-ed lips. See what it’s all about in video form below.

Watch the video all the way through, if you can. It doesn’t do the best job of explaining, so it takes some time for the idea to fully click. I think I like it, though. Slowly, methodically solve puzzles, experiment, and stitch together your own sonic tapestry in the process. Simple, but with potential for a big payoff.

Here’s the quick elevator pitch, via Sentris’ Kickstarter page:

“I designed Sentris to help everybody feel the thrill of making music. There’s no way to fake this experience. As you solve puzzles you are literally creating your own song. To play, you drop musical building blocks into a rotating circle. The individual blocks stack up to create a song that is uniquely yours. It’s deceptively simple – easy to learn, hard to master. The concept is very new and experimental, and I believe it’s a step forward for music games.”

I think it could make for a nice way to relax, tune out the ceaseless madness of modern life, and – despite that – still come away having created something. That sounds like a magnificent way to unwind, if you ask me.

Sentris is seeking $50,000, and it’s already about halfway there. What do you think of it? Is it music to your ears? Or, I suppose more importantly, to your wallet?

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17 Comments »

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  1. kgoyon says:

    Looks interesting but how can you be that bad at your own game :)

    • mlaskus says:

      Heh, yeah, it’s agonizing to watch. :)
      Just like watching someone play an FPP game for the first time.

      • battles_atlas says:

        I’ve just pressed pause after 30 seconds because if I watch any more of this I’ll have to hunt the player down and slap them

        • LionsPhil says:

          I made it until 2:30 and seeing how multiple colours came into it before running out of patience.

          Also, goddamn, stop talking for just a moment. Just, for a moment, let your game show itself off. Pause. You’re making a musical game yet the only thing I can hear is your voice rambling and gap-filling with ums and ahs. ARGH.

        • Phendron says:

          You’d slap someone for not videogaming right?

    • haowan says:

      I think one of the interesting things about this game is that it’s not hassling you to be correct. Being ‘bad’ at the game is actually being creative and experimenting with different stuff. You still end up producing some music with your interaction.

      • Doganpc says:

        yeap, if you actually listen to her explain the game, its exactly this. Sure there is a puzzle element that gives the illusion of “winning” but really its a playful way to experiment with sound. To me, it seems its more of a parts gate than a puzzle to win at. Forcing you to be experience new ways of thinking about musical patterns and what not.

        However, I am enjoying the reactions from the… don’t get it, crowd.

        • mlaskus says:

          Oh I do get it and I love the idea behind the game, but somehow instinctively I find it painful to watch people play so poorly. I think it has to do with inability to distance myself from the gameplay, they are doing it so differently than I would and that makes me feel weird.

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      tigerfort says:

      It’s almost as though she’s trying to demonstrate the mechanics of the game, rather than simply match the colours as quickly as possible….

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    DantronLesotho says:

    I think it looks really neat. I have a friend that goes gaga over rhythm/music games, so I’ll definitely be sending this along.

  3. SamanthaZero says:

    Thanks for taking a look, everyone! In the video I did focus on explaining the mechanics more than trying to be “good” at the game. I made a conscious effort to make a music game that is not about playing music perfectly. I know that’s really different from most games out there, and I hope you can approach this new kind of music game with an open mind. I really want to help everyone make their own music!

    • mlaskus says:

      I’m sorry if my comment sounded like criticism, I was mostly amused by my own instinctive reaction to watching gameplay. :)
      I do love the idea of your game.

      • SamanthaZero says:

        I really appreciate your enthusiasm! It’s interesting and encouraging that when you watch the game you want to be playing it in your own way. That’s exactly what I want people to do!

  4. dogsolitude_uk says:

    Wow, this looks great. I find mucking about with Ableton and other music software a fantastic way to relax in the evenings after work, and anything that gets folks making their own stuff gets my vote :)

    Wow, imagine jamming with your friends :)

  5. vahnn says:

    pass

    • SamanthaZero says:

      Fair enough. May I ask why you opt to pass? Your feedback could really help me improve the game!

  6. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    I like music-based games. I wonder whether this puzzle idea is complex enough to allow for a great variance in music, though. But it’s a nice idea.