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Twang your lute as you explore a musical land in this cute indie game

Stomp Plonk is a fun first-person luter

Grab your lute and set off for adventure in Stomp Plonk, a lovely new indie game about exploring a musical fantasy land. Delightfully, its soundtrack is built from loops tied to the animations of people doing things around the world: xylophone plings from little guys tossing coins into a fountain; drum beats from jesters dancing or goblins smashing dead gnomes; barbershop mutterings from pipe-smoking fishermen; long horns from passing ships; organ notes from giant seabirds stretching their necks; and so many more. A bit like Proteus meets Bernband and Alien Caseno with the added ability to make annoying noises by slamming on your lute.

Turn your sound on to hear the tunes as I nose around for sources of music in this video

Made by Marek Kapolka, Stomp Plonk is set in a cute fantasy land built of 3D models with 2D sprites and details, a look I still really like. There you are, a lutist, out to explore and summon five lost knights home by playing a special regal tune for them (do make a note of the notes when it tells you them). A lot is walking simulator-y, about wandering around, seeing what you can find, and enjoying the vibes. The vibes are good.

It is great to wander into a new area and try to figure out who's performing which loop in its soundtrack. The big bass drum beats, oh those are clearly the women beating rugs out their windows. The faster little drums... are those the revellers dancing in the streets? No, no look, it's this little guy on the corner doing a jig. Okay but who's behind the jingling morris bells and the crystalline chimes? You're not only finding the strange sights (some good hidden bits in here), you're figuring out the music. Lovely.

You can add your own notes to the mix. Hitting number keys at any time twangs notes on your lute. Sometimes people in the world respond to your tunes, whether that's characters repeating tunes back to you or an audience of ghosts rising from a spooky lake in response to your shredding. I think it might have musical quests to perform songs too? Maybe. One of the gems on my lute glows when I'm near a lost knight. The other, I'm not sure.

The problem, I suspect, is my tin ear. It's hard to figure out if I should be doing something when my attempts to echo music are... let's generously describe them as 'painful'. But bless it, the game does its best to make my noodling sound nice and lutey.

Oh! And every time you jump, you shout a little "Hey!" I am always pleased to discover characters who react to that too.

Stomp Plonk is available pay-what-you-want (with no minimum) from Itch.io for Windows, Mac, and Linux. If it looks familiar, that might be because I've posted work-in-progress snippets a a couple times with Screenshot Saturday Mondays, my weekly pick of interesting indie games from Twitter's #ScreenshotSaturday.

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Alice O'Connor

Associate Editor

Alice is likely in the sea.

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