From the creator of Rock Band™ and Amplitude™ comes a fresh new approach to the traditional shoot 'em up! All the action is driven by an entrancing soundtrack- no beatmatching required. The Idol System introduces a tactical layer on top of proven shmup gameplay allowing for a range of play styles.
User reviews: Positive (46 reviews)
Release Date: Oct 16, 2014

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Notice: Microsoft Xbox 360® Controller for Windows® (or equivalent) is strongly recommended.

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Recommended By Curators

"You could call it the spiritual sequel to rock band, and only be partially wrong. It may have nothing to do with it, but hey, it's another bullethell."


“A City Sleeps is a shoot-em-up that can appeal even to people who don't normally love bullet-hell games. It certainly roped me in with Harmonix's fantastic-as-usual audio hooks.”
4/5 – PCWorld

“It makes you feel badass when you can fly around the screen lighting up enemies and consistently swing back in time to catch the healing wave on the bass beat, or pull swarms of homing enemies into an area of effect attack and snuff them out all at once.”
8/10 – Game Informer

Deluxe Edition!

The Deluxe Edition of A City Sleeps is available now for pre-order and contains both the full game, exclusive wallpapers, and the original soundtrack. The soundtrack features an original experimental electro hip hop score by M-Cue (, who also serves as one of the game's level designers.

About This Game

From Harmonix, the creators of Rock Band and Amplitude, comes a fresh new approach to the traditional shoot 'em up! All the action in A City Sleeps is driven by an entrancing experimental hip hop / electronic soundtrack, with no beatmatch required. The game's Idol System also introduces a tactical layer on top of proven shmup gameplay to accommodate a range of play styles.

A City Sleeps follows Poe, the youngest member of The Silk, an ancient clan of dream exorcists that can enter the minds of sleeping hosts to rid their dreams of demons. When the residents of SanLo fall into an endless slumber, only Poe can rescue them from a never-ending nightmare. Equipped with her legendary Koto-sword “Heartstrings”, and flanked by her stable of powerful ghost familiars, she must cleanse their dreams, and uncover the city’s dark secrets.

Driven by an unforgettable original soundtrack that builds through player actions and enemy engagement, A City Sleeps infuses classic twin-stick hardcore shoot ‘em up sensibilities with moment-to-moment tactical choices.


MUSIC / GAMEPLAY SYNCHRONY - Level design and song authoring is done in parallel, ensuring a hand crafted and utterly unique audio-experience. Music drives player projectiles, enemy spawning, movement, and bullet patterns.

THE “IDOL” SYSTEM – Get tactical! Use Poe’s ghost familiars to possess inanimate objects of the dream world; these “Idols” will assist you against an endless enemy horde. The soundtrack builds as you leverage a range of both offensive and defensive abilities including AOE damage bursts, and healing bullets. Experiment with different ghost combinations to compliment your own personal play style.

GIVE UP THE GHOST!! – Reverie, Lucid, Nightmare; multiple difficulties for all skill levels. Need backup? Buff Poe with equip-able relics and unlockable ghosts types for a tactical advantage, or take a stab at the re-mixed “Cursed” variants for an even greater challenge! Compete against friends and the world in the global leaderboads!

System Requirements

Mac OS X
    • OS: Windows 7 / 8
    • Processor: Intel Core2 Duo 3.00GHz
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: ATI Radeon 2400
    • DirectX: Version 9.0
    • Additional Notes: Controller strongly recommended!
    • OS: OSX
    • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo or Faster
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
Helpful customer reviews
22 of 25 people (88%) found this review helpful
2.4 hrs on record
Posted: June 22
Harmonix' A City Sleeps is nothing like their fantastically jolly breakout titles Frequency and Amplitude, nor does it have anything in common with their later Rock Band series. Instead, it tries to fuse shmup and rhythm game.

Unfortunately, the music / rhythm element adds nothing to the game whatsoever, and despite using preset music, the link between music and gameplay isn't any better than in titles like Beat Hazard, where an algorithm generates gameplay elements for the music of your choice.
At the same time, the controls don't feel snappy enough for a bullet hell shooter. There's a fidgety system of 'ghosts' that doesn't really serve a purpose and can be clumsy to use in the middle of combat.
Visual clarity is lacking, and an option to turn off the visuals of your character besides your hitbox is missing. Sadly there's also nothing impactful about your own or the enemies' shots. For all the effort they put into visual fidelity, the development team forgot to make opponents do anything else than just disappear.

At this price (already reduced from an even higher previous one), this feels like an Early Access game sorely lacking in content. It tries to make up for this by offering particularly difficult levels, but still ultimately has three relatively short stages. So far sale discounts are also anything but steep. Other games based around electronic music like Electronic Super Joy offer much better value for money.

To summarize, this is only really worth your time & money as art.
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6 of 6 people (100%) found this review helpful
3.2 hrs on record
Posted: July 19
This review contains my personal opinion about the game A City Sleeps.
I did enjoy this game, and have played it for several hours.

This game does have built in controller support.
I played this game with the hardware specs on my profile and used a ps3 controller.

This game fits into the side scrolling/arcade shooter genre and you play the game as Silk, a "dream exorcist" curing people of demonic possessions. When the people of SanLo fall into an eternal slumber, only you can save them with your exorcisms. The game is played in levels called “dreams” and each dream has three stages.Death results in a penalty to your final score, and restarting at the most current stange in your dream. The easiest way to think of stages is as if they were checkpoints. There are a number of ghosts that you can summon to help you in your tasks, you start with two, and are able to unlock more as the game progresses.

What I liked:
*The ability to equip as many as three ghosts at a time means that you’ll be able to play the game in a manner which fits your personal style.
+Intuitive Controls
*I would recommend playing this game with a controller. The buttons are simply and intuitively mapped, as well as easy to remember.
*The soundtrack was very pleasing to listen to. Most of the tracks are very well composed and easy to listen to. I would consider buying the soundtrack separately to listen to while writing, or doing other tasks.
+Engaging gameplay
*The harder difficulties have some very unique curses that make the level more challenging, and require you to have a different mental approach.

What I didn't like:
-Animation Quality
*The attack animations are somewhat choppy at melee range.
* Even at the lowest difficulty some of the levels can seem frustrating, or overwhelming.
*The points you score take a hit if you have Mercy (the healing ghost) activated. I just dislike this, obviously you’ll need to summon mercy at some point (unless you’re an elitest) and I don't think your points should be penalized for that.
-Boss Fights
*The boss fights, while not extremely challenging in the traditional sense, can be an overwhelming amount of stimuli at once (the whole screen is full of seemingly undodgeable attacks), and if you fail, you begin at the beginning of stage 3. Once you interpret and anticipate the attack patterns the fight isn’t too hard, but it’s more than a little frustrating having to re-do stage three. I think it would have been much more enjoyable if the failed boss fight started back over at the beginning.

Other notes:
>The enemies in the game are very diverse, while you can tell what enemies are based on a similar model, their appearance, sound, and attacks are unique.
>The story is present, but not well explained, and much of the terminology isn’t defined either.
>The dreams all have the same 3 stage format with the boss at the end, which can be a bit repetitive.
>After several hours of gameplay I did not notice any glitches, bugs, or lag. Everything appears to be working as designed.
>I received this game as part of a humble bundle, I did not pay full price for it.

Final Score 7/10

Despite being a little on the frustrating side, the game is a lot of fun to play, and the art backgrounds combined with the soundtrack make this game so much better. I’m not generally a fan of this type of game, but I will continue to play it when I am taking a break from my other games. If you’re a fan of the genre, I think this would be a unique game to add to your collection. if you are easily frustrated, however, you may want to rethink this game.

Would I recommend this game?
Yep, absolutely.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
0.6 hrs on record
Posted: July 14
A City Sleeps is a new title by Guitar Hero developers, Harmonix. It plays like a wave-based side scroller, with intriguing mechanics that contribute both to the over-arching story, as well as add significantly to the gameplay, allowing it to feel very much like a noted title in the near-to-overflowing genre.

You are a girl. I wasn't paying much attention to the story the first time around. You have to attack these robot things, and sometimes they get a little rough. Thankfully, you have spirits that aid in your struggle. So far I've only gotten two spirits, but with all the slots I have available, I'm very anxious to scoop up the rest. Attach a spirit to an altar when the time comes, and they will assist you by attacking, healing, and presumeably in other ways as well.

The game is also heavily based on the music in the background, which, considering the developers, shouldn't come as much of a surprise. The pulse of your weapon is timed to the background music, as well as the rate of fire for any spirits you have. The world moves with the music as well, getting more aggressive as the music does, and vice versa. Many times, it feels like the music is changing with the game, but in this case, it feels like just the opposite.

Currently the price sits at a snug 10 dollars. I wish I could say I've played enough to suggest it's worth the price, but if what I've played is all there is to the title, it feels mildly steep. I might wait for a sale, or even a bundle.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
5.5 hrs on record
Posted: July 31
Really enjoyed this and I Finished the game. (Played with Xbox 360 Controller)

The game consists of 3 "Levels" but completing them unlocks harder variations of the same levels.

I found the longest point in the game was completing the first level boss due to a steep learning curve, once I got the hang of that, the game felt easier. Unfortunately You have to beat each level to unlock the next so if you find it too hard you will be locked out of most of the games content.

I found it enjoyable enough to keep practicing and improving my skills but I could understand if people believe it is repetitive.
All enemy's attack to the beat of the music but dodging doesn't require moving to the beat, apart from a few situations.

Music was great
Always felt in control - Patterns of bullets are possible to dodge at all times due to a tiny hit point on your character.
The "Assist" Idols are interesting - Help out by shooting enemy's/Healing you etc.

High Difficulty curve at the beginning
More levels would be nice (My Full game completion time is around 5 hours)
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27 of 30 people (90%) found this review helpful
1.7 hrs on record
Posted: October 16, 2014
A really well polished game with an amazing art style and soundtrack that go well into the game mechanics, and despite short length offers for a fair amount of fun.

The bad:
-Relatively short at only 3 very short level.
-Not much to do or collect besides the leaderboard and finishing the game on every difficulty.

The good:
-Amazing art style and soundtrack that go right into the game mechanics. You shoot in the beat of the music.
-Great in short bursts. Short level.
-Unlockable special abilities change up the levels and add highly to replayability.
-Although short, the game is relatively challenging and offers a variety of difficulty levels to unlock.

For every fan of the sadly scarce Shoot 'em up genre that enjoy a vibrant soundtrack that compliments the game well this is a must have. With it's beautiful art and fluid gameplay, it offers high replayability despite the short length. It is a sadly (at launch at least) overlooked game that in the terms of production quality and overall gameplay is at the top of its genre. If you enjoy the art style and are a fan of this genre, as well as are intrigued by the idea of the music pretty much dictating the game flow, this is a game you shouldn't miss. For everyone else, at least at a sale, it is worth a shot and will probably end up being a gem in many people's game library.
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