So I recently downloaded this game off of Steam, it was 50% off and it intrigued me as all games of this genre tend to do. It’s a rhythm based music game that uses your own song library from your computer to create these obstacle course-like tracks. Obviously this isn’t the first game to do this, but it’s the first one I’ve played that actually does it well. The surprising thing about it is that it’s in early access, so it’s not even fully complete.
Now when I say that it’s the first game to do it well, that doesn’t mean that games like Audiosurf and Symphony are bad games, far from it, but those games I don’t actually feel is in time with the rhythm of my music. Audiosurf just speeds up or slows down based upon the current tempo of the song and Symphony is just too chaotic to really see any resemblance to my music, it’s just sort of playing in the background. The closest to pretty much perfect that I had previously seen was TapStudio and that was just an iOS app, not a PC game.
So what makes Melody’s Escape better than those other games? Well it actually seems to be pretty much in time with my music, which is pretty important when it comes to these types of games (just a side note, I’ve never played Beat Hazard, so I can’t comment on how good or bad it is compared to this game). A lot of it seems to be in time to the drum beat, while there are elongated obstacles that are generally in time to sustained notes or long vocals. The game also speeds up and slows down based on the current tempo of the song (like in Audiosurf).
So all of that is really good, so what’s wrong with the game? Well, a couple of things. First of all, it’s only going to hold your attention for so long. One thing that those other games currently have over this one is different modes to play around with. Audiosurf (and Audiosurf 2 for that matter) has a lot of different variations on it including local multiplayer modes. Symphony has a grand story line about an otherworldly creature kidnapping famous composers and trapping music and how you have to defeat him to save music. It’s pretty fun and it keeps things entertaining enough. Melody’s Escape unfortunately only has one mode, play to your music and run along an obstacle course. Granted there are different difficulties but that’s another problem I have with it…
The difficulties go Relaxing, Medium, Intense and Overload. Relaxing is pretty easy, it’s only worrying about one button per section. Medium, at least to me, is already pretty much impossible. All four buttons (up, down, left and right OR [if you’re using a Gamepad] A, B, X and Y, not respectively) are used fairly randomly and it gets difficult pretty quickly when there are so many different directions to hit and they’re all coming at you really fast. As a joke I tried overload and…no, just no. There’s also a custom difficulty mode, but it doesn’t actually let you set things to exactly how you want it. I was hoping to be able to set it so that instead of one button per section, maybe it could do two per section so that I can slowly ease my way to the medium difficulty, but it wouldn’t let me do that. Custom is actually just choosing through a set of preset difficulty modes which to me, isn’t really custom after all.
Now the game is in early access, which to me should mean that they’re going to fix these issues, add more modes and make the game’s lifespan a lot longer, because the one mode can only hold people’s attention for so long. But according to the developers, the game is basically done. They’re just keeping it in early access for the time being so they can keep smoothing things out, maybe add a few more skins, but nothing else big is going to be happening for the game it seems, which is a shame. My suggestion (and I wrote this in the community page for the game on Steam and a couple people there agreed with me) is that they make a story mode. The game is called Melody’s Escape after all and you clearly are playing as Melody and she’s running along the obstacle course, she could be running away from something. Maybe music is outlawed and she’s on the run from the police. They could have cutscenes and include a few boss fights that move along with whatever songs I pick. That sort of thing, because that would be pretty cool. The developers have not commented on that post.
Or at least add more obstacles. I’ve only played for a couple hours and I’m already getting kind of bored of seeing the same obstacles over and over again with very little variety.
So do I recommend this game? I do, but only if you find it on sale like I did. As it stands, it’s fun and it works but it isn’t worth ten bucks. Five bucks, sure. If they add a story mode, maybe some multiplayer modes or something else to keep the game more interesting, then it would be worth ten bucks easy.
Also, before I sign off on this review, I would just like to point out that, for one reason or another, this game really worked out surprisingly well with the How I Met Your Mother song “Nothing Suits Me Like a Suit”.
Thanks for reading. Have you played this game? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments below. Or maybe you know of another game that’s similar that you think I’ll like. You can comment that, too. Also feel free to like this post, share it, or whatever. You can also subscribe to my blog or YouTube channel to never miss anything I do.