An Audio-Visual Trip, In Progress.
Once in a while, a game comes along that’s not really a game, but more so an an interactive experience. The folks behind Muse are aiming to produce a collaborative music tool that allows users to share their creations online with other users. The post-Testuya Mizuguchi era has spawned many inspired by the audio-visual works of Q Entertainment. So what are Aussie developers Current Circus bringing to the interactive music making genre?
You might think Muse looks a little bit like Child of Eden, but Muse is not a rail-shooter.
Muse is a first-person free roaming (or should I say a ‘free floating’) exploration game that lets users navigate surreal organic environments on an almost cellular level, like an amoeba in the ocean, only you don’t see yourself.
As the player you gather glowing particles or ‘creatures’ that combine into a flock adding to your soundtrack, and as you interact with objects in the environment called ‘Wonders’ this changes the style of in-game music. The music created, can be shared with the online Muse community. The developers hope this inspires an organic musical collaboration composed by using Muse as an instrument.
While the Alpha demo version of Muse on display at PAX Aus 2013, offered only a slight glimpse at the overall vision intended with the game, I left the booth wanting more. The underwater 3D environment was nicely rendered, though somewhat limiting in scale.
The motion of the player moving through the environment is basic — no speed boosting, or fancy barrel rolls. As you play a floating camera, like a ghost without a body, the lack of the user avatar, or cross-hair on-screen makes it difficult to perceive distances from objects, like a weird disconnect from yourself, and the environment. No user interface makes for a lack of feedback, and a bit of a guessing game.
The music was mostly chilled out background audio, but I didn’t feel like I was making much of an impact on the creation of my own soundtrack.
There’s definitely room to expand on this. However, as ‘art games’ go, sometimes developers who distance themselves from solid gameplay for the sake of arty self-expression just kills what could possibly be a fun gaming experience.
Lets see how Muse comes along.
In the mean time, check out the trailer and some screen shots.