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.