Day 20: Groov

Posted: 2010/11/29 in Indie Games
Tags: , ,

I’m purchasing an Xbox Live Indie Game every day, seeking out the quality titles that got lost in the shuffle and no longer appear in the top 50 downloads. Today is day #20, and today’s game is “Groov”.

Yesterday’s game we did another foray into an “Indie Game” that aims to teach you something with “German 101”. Sticking with the theme of software that starts with “G”, but moving back into gameplay, today I bought Groov.

This is the love-child of Geometry Wars (hey, another game that starts with “G”) and Rez. Like with Geometry Wars it’s an arena-based twin-stick shooter where you fight off simple looking shapes. Like with Rez, your actions create a soundtrack (every shot from you, every enemy destroyed, adds to the chorus, guaranteeing the music is never the same twice). But like chocolate and peanut butter, these are two great things that go great together. You end up with a game that is greater than the sum of its parts.

At first the music creation elements seem limited, like a toddler hitting the odd note on a toy piano, at least on the easy skill level. Give the game time, however: as the difficulty slowly ramps up, so too do the number of enemies on screen and your power-ups. As the enemies increase the musical notes being played increase, which increases the franticness and tension. Periodically you earn a power-up, and each power-up also changes the symphony. Before long, you really have the sense of composing a jazz-fusion sountrack simply by playing the game.

The graphics are minimalist, but that never held Geometry Wars back. The music-creation-through gameplay has been done before, but somehow seemed fresh to me in the context of a twin-stick shooter. Anyone who liked either Geometry Wars or Rez should check it out. Anyone who liked both should just go buy it now.

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