Ocarina Of Tide: Shrug Song Is Gorgeous, Musical

Goodness, Shrug Song is a delightful little thing. It’s basically The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time’s titular instrument distilled down into a core game mechanic, but with more immediate one-to-one effects on a gloriously serene island-like world. You play as a musical “Shrug,” morphing and contorting your wispy body into whatever shape best sings along with nature. The collaboration between creator Alina Constantin and Knytt Underground developer Nifflas is actually an intro to a larger experience called Shrug Island, but for now just let the music out of your wailing bones. Purse your lips. Snap your fingers. Tap your toes. Play us the song of your people.

It’s a brief, somewhat slight experience, but an exceedingly charming one. The world and its inhabitants are wonderful disasters of shape and sound, bizarre but beautiful. The only interaction is song. No dialogue. No text. Puzzles are rooted in discovery. Play a tone and something will happen. Then you judge what it means and put the pieces together accordingly.

Admittedly, the whole thing’s pretty much bereft of challenge, but it functions quite nicely as a window into a world all at once inviting and utterly alien. It’s like being hummed into a gentle sleep by your mother, and also your mother is ET.

So then, what will Shrug Island be like? Apparently kind of like Shrug Song, but with multiple characters at once and puzzles about color and shape as well as sound. Here’s the basic story:

“The Shrug people live in symbiosis with a home seasonally covered by the ocean tides. This intimate connection can bring them both harmony and dischord as the Island and the Shrugs are but reflections of each other. If they forget how to communicate, the balance quickly breaks.”

“In this game you´ll explore the Island and its people, as you follow the story of the time it got sick. One season at low tide colors started disappearing, the nature began to stop, and the Shrug Island’s magic was in danger of vanishing forever.”

It’s quite a nice place, so I think I’ll be up for exploring it and, you know, saving it from certain doom. There doesn’t appear to be a release date for Shrug Island just yet, but I definitely plan to keep an eye on it. For now, though, Shrug Song is available for download here.

Thanks, Indie Statik.


  1. Jstn says:

    Looks like Loom meets Aquaria. Which makes me wonder, where is the Loom remake and sequel Kickstarter? That would be a huge success!

    • Isair says:

      Bah, I was going to post almost the exact same thing, down to the Loom kickstarter and now I don’t know what to say. Guess I’ll just go play the game instead.

      • Stoygroff says:

        Well, aren’t we a like-minded bunch of nerds! I too thought the exact same thing as soon as I saw the screenshot.
        Also: I would absolutely back a Loom Kickstarter, be it a remake or a sequel!

  2. mikmanner says:

    That was really cool, looking forward to the full thing

  3. Suits says:

    ◄▲► ◄▲►

  4. Alina C. says:

    A very delayed expression of gratitude for this article. It boosted the beginning of our development!
    If you still see potential in this game here’s an update;

    We experimented a long time on different formats last year, tried another casual game for the mobiles audiences, Shrug Tides. released in December. It showcases more of the art but the gameplay is unoriginal, and the vision and appeal of the project live in its fullest in Shrug Song.
    So we are deepening THAT experience, and to get beyond the alpha prototype with its several characters, we have launched a Kickstarter last week.
    Thanks for having a look, and sharing on; link to kck.st