Melody's Escape is a deceptively simple yet challenging obstacle-based rhythm game with a lot of potential versatility in playstyle. While still in Early Access, it has almost no technical errors and the developer is extremely active, so I would recommend it to people who enjoy rhythm games, especially people who are looking for a different type of procedurally-generated music gameplay. I am terrible at obstacle running games, but I have never ever found the platforming element of this game to be obtrusive or overwhelming because it integrates so well with the beat and feels so smooth on a sensory level.
The visuals are quite polished and clear, with a striking and elegant aesthetic; they are also easily modded and customised. The colours are rich without being distracting and can be altered both ingame and via a modding interface, and provide lovely implicit feedback for passing obstacles. The gameplay is rewarding immersively with the flow of the music and quite addictive. Melody's Escape primarily syncs to tempo and tests rhythm, beat awareness, and precision in timing, so it works less efficiently with noisy tracks, but its level generation otherwise handles most genres I have thrown at it quite well and has a good fallback method for dealing with offtempo songs.
Low BPM songs are as pleasing to play as high BPM songs, although they generally have fewer obstacles and the running pace is slower, and there are difficulty settings which treat songs with <150 BPM as if they had double their actual BPM for the purposes of level generation if that annoys you. Instrumentals and vocal songs work equally well.
While the strength of Melody's Escape generally lies in its concept and its simplicity, the game is easy to recommend because of its many difficulty settings. There are four preset difficulty modes with different input and then a custom mode which can be used to alter obstacle density, running speed, input timing window, and input methods, which gives the player the opportunity to emphasise the challenges they would like the most.
The four input methods in order of difficulty are one colour (the track is divided into segments of different running speed based on intensity of the song, and to pass an obstacle you must press or hold the associated colour key), all colours (all obstacles have their own individual colour assigned to them regardless of segment), colour or direction (solid obstacles -- jumping, sliding, diving -- require direction key input, either from the gamepad or using the arrow buttons, while colour orbs require their individual colour key input), and tandem colour and direction (passing an obstacle requires both the correct colour and direction key).
Monochrome play is relaxing and purely a test of precision, while tandem colour and direction play is a frenetic test of reaction timing and mechanics.
The sync with the track is quite good and failing to pass certain obstacles results in stumbling or respawning, so there is no way to actually fail a song as in other rhythm games which involve shooting elements, etc. The only real ingame objective that exists is to pass every obstacle (a perfect chain), but the game assigns ratings based on score and keeps track of your high score, so you can play as you wish on the mode that suits you best. This is why I have accrued so much playtime so quickly, because I found exploring the full potential of the game challenging and enjoyable.
Essentially, you get out of Melody's Escape what you put into it, which is hopefully a huge and diverse music collection. It is absolutely worth its current price and even more so on sale. It is an easy pick-up-and-play game with almost no set-up overhead and a low skill floor, but possesses depth, complexity, and replay value as you attempt to master it.
I disagree with some of the other reviewers on one thing; I am a keyboard-only player and really enjoy this game. I have no doubt the game is more intuitive with a Microsoft controller, but do not feel as if anything is lacking from keyboard play.
Technically, the game can be played with either keyboard or gamepad quite well, and no clicking is necessary. There is a slight learning curve for the colour input scheme for keyboard players because the colours are by default designed to match Microsoft controllers, but it translates fine to WASD/SZXC/etc. keyboard schemes. The visual processing can be demanding but there is an FPS counter ingame and many options to increase performance at the expense of graphical intensity (mostly bloom), which is also a matter of subjective preference anyway. Input windows etc. are all smooth assuming consistent 60 FPS.
The game has very good file handling options and does not require pre-indexing directories. You can save tracks as favourites and generate favourite folders. From experience it supports a wide variety of formats (mp3, m4a, ogg, wav, flac, aac, aiff, mpeg, wmv, and more) and also playlists (.m3u files), which sets it apart in endurance play from other rhythm games. Handles large and long tracks fine.
It does lack support for kanji, hangul, some unusual Latin characters with diacritics, etc. which can make track selection a difficulty for songs with names entirely in those characters. (Katakana and hiragana are supported, for the record). This appears to be unlikely to change in the near future and is the only potential sticking point I see for rhythm game fans.
As I have stated, this game is very much alive and being worked on, and developer support is extremely prompt. However, were the developer to suddenly disappear, I would still recommend this game as is. The primary focuses of development now are perfecting visuals (which are already on par with the available rhythm games on Steam) and fixing some very uncommon errors. For almost every player this game should be in a well-functional state and require minimal or no tweaking to maximise performance.
Overall I completely recommend Melody's Escape to any fan of rhythm games or procedurally generated music games such as Audiosurf, Osu, etc. It is well-made, performs smoothly, has active developer support, and copes well with virtually all music types. The tracks are varied enough for such a simple set of obstacles to keep you entertained for quite some time. There are few technical issues, the levels are graceful, and the aesthetics of the game are beautiful in a way that only enhances the music. Nothing ingame detracts from the music itself but the gameplay itself is still rewarding and intense, which is to me a perfect and mesmerising balance.