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I've always enjoyed the mechanical stylings of chiptune artist Trash80. My favorite tune (next to the gorgeous "Icarus") is "Robot Sneakers" a bouncy little tune that I must have listened to a hundred times. I've never wanted it to end as badly as I do when playing it within Empty Clip Studios' PC indie music shooter, Symphony.
Similar to games like Beat Hazard and the always lovely Audiosurf, Symphony is a game that takes any musical track, analyzes it, and spits out a game level custom-crafted from the peaks and valleys of your preferred audio entertainment. In this case, a top-down space shooter, shades of Space Invaders or Galaga.
A mysterious being is attempting to break into our world through your music. Why yours? I don't know, you're special. What matters here is that it's on you to save your music and the universe. Or me, I suppose. I guess somebody should.
You save your music by taking on waves of enemies that spiral and swoop in and out of the play field as your music plays, riding the waves and exposing the subtle undertones you might have missed. Your goal is to reach set score goals in each level in order to win points and unlock new weapons with which to enhance your ship. Certain songs unlock rare weapons, enhancing the power of your ship and allowing for even higher scores. It's a real good time.
Every so often your song battle will be interrupted by a Demon, like this one that popped out in the middle of Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know". Serves me right.
There are five boss types. Destroying three of each type unlocks the next highest difficulty level, until you can't move a fraction of an inch without running into a ship or a bullet.
This is "Impossible Rebel" from the amazing Green Day mash-up album American Edit, played on the third of six difficulty levels. As you can see, I die multiple times. Repetition is the key to a big score and a spot atop the leaderboards for whatever tune you might be playing. Since my music collection contains some incredibly obscure stuff, I'm at the top of a lot of leaderboards. At least for now.
Symphony is far from perfect. Players (myself included) have been experiencing lag and jumpiness, and on one occasion the entire game locked up, though I suspect that might have been out of self-defense (see below to find out which song killed it). The Empty Clip Studios team is on the case, however, working diligently to make the people that purchased the $9.99 game happy.
I'm incredibly happy with Symphony myself, all things considered. Especially when it lets me do this...
The last song goes out to all the Jason Schrieiers out there.