Beat The Game Preview
Beat the Game places you in the role of Mistik, a musician in a surreal new world after a motorcycle accident. Your job is simply to explore the world around you, collect the sounds you discover and blend them into new musical compositions. I was able to spend a few minutes with the demo. It’s more or less a Salvador Dali painting brought to life, assuming Dali listened to a lot of skeletal European House music.
You have one major tool at your disposal, a portable mixer/recorder. Any other items you pick up are deployed automatically when certain conditions are met. Mistik will smack drumsticks against cans, activate machines, snatch old tapes and startle local residents in an effort to get the samples he needs. Every time you collect another one, you’re taken to the mixer screen. From there, you can adjust volume levels and choose which sounds are playing. Whatever composition you cook up is what serves as the soundtrack for the level. In an impressive feat of audio engineering, the music felt perfect for the stage no matter what bizarre combos I served up.
Although this is a musical game first and foremost, I can’t overstate how much the graphics contribute to the overall atmosphere. The Salvador Dali influence is writ large across every component of this world. The color composition is precise and moody, the background is graced with living abstractions and the citizens are pure expressions of geometry and hue.
“In an impressive feat of audio engineering, the music felt perfect for the stage no matter what bizarre combos I served up.”
The soundtrack and all of its components were composed by Marc Houle. His style is a combination of minimalist and invasive, a whip-smart selection of sounds that pierce your skin and rattle your cortex. My time with the demo was short, but what I heard was impressive. Houle’s work dissembles with ease, a Lego block collection of noise. Each piece works in isolation and in concert to create the atmosphere as you traverse it. You can find one of his sets here. While probably not for everyone (much like all music on earth), the contained tracks evoke that same sense of otherworldly exploration as his selections for Beat the Game.
I was unable to successfully complete the short-timed demo before it locked out on me, having spent too much time wandering the wastes. I was engrossed with the movements of one of the creatures, a huge abstraction that sort of slid sideways in a rhythmic shuffle. They must have been 100 feet tall, and they only started moving after I messed around with the Sound Scanner enough. If you actually collect all the sounds, you’re taken to the stage to perform a live show for the locals. If they like what they hear, you move on to the next world. The premise lends itself to replays, remixes, and recordings. I imagine the full release will generate an incredible amount of user uploads when it arrives. Even if this style of music doesn’t initially appeal to you, the blend it creates with the graphics is too entrancing to pass up. I’ll be keeping my ear to the ground for Beat the Game, and I highly recommend you do the same.
*** Steam key provided by the publisher ***