Music has always been an important part of my life. I’ve used it on several occasions to get through some pretty difficult times, though lately I’ve used it as a motivator to get me focused on the task at hand. “Symphony” is a rare gem them I’ve recently come across that combines the music I love with an arcade shooter. Before we begin shooting treble clefs into the wind, I’d like to thank Francois Bertrand for setting me up with a free review copy.
“Symphony” gives you a ship which you’ll be using to liberate your own music. An evil force is relentlessly attacking your music and is harvesting the souls of their composers. Okay, so it’s not a Final Fantasy plot…but it doesn’t have to be. While the back story is simple and wouldn’t exactly win awards for the “best drama”, it sets the mood nicely when this evil force shows up on occasion to harass you.
The game’s main menu is fairly self-explanatory, allowing you to create a new game, continue an existing one, and scan music into the game’s library. There isn’t an options menu located here, but there’s one you can access both in-game and during music selection. I appreciate that you’ll have the ability to adjust the sound effects to music ratio…that is…you can turn down the “pew pew” to better listen to your music. You’ll also be able to set screen resolution, V-Sync, and all of that jazz (no pun intended).
Firstly, the game will direct you to select the music folders on your PC that you’d like it to load into the game’s library. You can select one folder containing all of your music, folders containing all of the albums of a particular group, or just one album if you prefer. I personally scanned the entire library in…you’ll be able to pick and choose what song you’d like to play later on.
Once you find a song you like from the list you’ve loaded, the game will scan the song and prepare the level. Hint boxes pop up from time to time in your first few levels to introduce you to the game’s mechanics. To sum it up, you’ll want to shoot all of the bad guys and pick up drops as they appear in order to earn points (called inspiration). Inspiration repairs your ship on top of giving you points, so you’ll want to pick them up as you see them. Other power ups appear that increase the power of your weapons, among other things.
After completing a song, you’ll be able to view your score and use the inspiration you’ve earned to possibly unlock new things. Songs reward you with new items that you can unlock, and you can replay songs on multiple difficulty levels to earn even more inspiration. You’ll also be able to customize your ship’s four weapon ports with the items you’ve unlocked, and you can upgrade those weapons to make them more powerful. In essence, “play” more music, earn more inspiration, and unlock more stuff.
I have to say, I really enjoy playing “Symphony.” I have a rather odd collection of music, so needless to say I tried playing songs from Nightwish, Super Mario Compact Disco, Star Trek, Command & Conquer, The Piano Guys, Battlestar Galactica…well, you get the idea. Each and every time, I caught myself chair dancing…luckily I had the day off and the kids were in school. My two cats and the dog were present, however, and proceeded to give me odd looks.
Those of you looking for an in-depth strategy / zombie shooter / story driven RPG need to look elsewhere. For those of you looking to enjoy the evening with your speakers turned up and have a need to scratch that “Galaga” itch, you’d do well to pick this game up. It’s pretty, it’s intense, it’s musical, and best of all, it’s a lot of fun.
Final Verdict: 9/10
You can learn more about “Symphony” by visiting the following website:
You can find the game on Steam here: