Music and games. Most people reading this like both, so the merging of the two sounds like a brilliant idea. It's worked with Audiosurf and Beat Hazard, two very popular and succesful games, and rightfully so. As these two games set a benchmark for people in one way or another, Symphony will no doubt be compared to them, and obviously is not as good as either. What is disappointing is that there's so much that went wrong with Symphony that leaves it a mess of a game in comparrison.
First and foremost, the gameplay. Putting aside how badly the music is filtered, the gameplay tries to be Beat Hazard and has all of the effects flashy and bright. It's a nice feature, but when you, the enemies and even the background are all stylised the same way, and trying to distinguish what's going to kill you is increasingly difficult, even on the easiest settings. Another feature that doesn't help is how limited the movement is. In Beat Hazard, you controlled the ship with WASD and the shooting with your mouse. Now all of it is simplified to just the mouse, which controls rather awkwardly. You have four weapons which can be customised in direction and firing modes, and that's it. Accuracy and power have to be balanced, which would work in other games, but for what you're tasked to do it becomes a chore when you end up fighting demons which cower behind walls and take an unfair amount of time to kill off.
The demons lead me to the story. Why is there a story for this game? Beat Hazard and Audiosurf didn't need an excuse plot, niether does Symphony. Apparently some Shodan wannabe is holding captive the souls of my greatest composers, and I need to collect the Symphony of Souls to defeat it. This is completely forgotten in-game and only re-surfaces on the odd occasion to make you fight a demon, or rather hold down the fire button and hope it doesn't hide behind cover. These sections drag on for too long and just adds another thing to gripe about, as thinking into it makes it even worse. A story should be better the more you think about it, and if they had left it out completely Symphony would've been much better off and perhaps even worth reccomending.
It's sad, because I wanted to like Symphony. I went into it with high hopes and came out disappointed. Symphony isn't a good game, nor is it terrible, and that's truely the worst thing about it. With nothing original to it, no memorable moments to salvage the mediocrately of the majority of the game, it's simply forgettable. This is a sub-par shmup with no reason to exist except to provide incentive to play Beat Hazard again, and if you jump back into Beat Hazard, you don't think "Wow, this is much better implemented than it was in Symphony", as Symphony is completely forgettable and not worth playing.
For more reviews check out http://steamcommunity.com/groups/truereview