Sometimes you see a game that just sticks with you and weeks, months… years pass and that game is still in the back of your mind, as we hope one day it will finally see the light of day. For me that happened when I first got to play Drastic Games Soundfall way back at 2018 EGX. A title I seen a few times walking around the show floor, but had passed by until the last day when I decided to give it a go and I was extremely happy that I did. It simply blew me away with its core mechanics – a dungeon crawler that combines looter-shooter action with rhythm-based gameplay. Yes a truly unlikely pairing, but a team-up that is pure magic. Well fast forward to 2022 and a LOT has happened since that brilliant expo weekend in more ways than one. One being that Soundfall has finally been released at long last and it’s every bit as good as I remember, if not better.
You play as Melody who is stuck in a dead end job, when a dream opportunity comes up – based around her true love of music – but she suffers from stage fright. Then before you know it, she is transported to Symphonia where she does a bit of self-discovery and overcomes her issue *spoilers*. It’s a light hearted tale which holds things together when you’re not getting your kicks from the beats. And that is the killer hook of the game, because to attack you must press the button in time to the beat of the music. This means the soundtrack is key to the gameplay and dictates the pace and rhythm that you attack with. It oddly has a lot in common with the likes of Crypt of the Necrodancer and Bullets Per Minute in that way. You can play Soundfall in solo or with three mates in both local or online.
As you explore the procedurally generated fantasy land, collecting loot and timing your actions to the beat of the soundtrack and if you time it perfectly, they become even more powerful. There are 100’s of songs to play along with (there are over 150 in fact), or if you are a PC gamer you can actually import your own music to the game to totally shake things up as you dictate the rhythm and tempo yourself. As you play through the tale, you’ll unlock new characters to play as, each with their own music themed attacks and powers which keep things fresh. There is also an OK loot system that sees you find better and more powerful gear, which you can then strap to yourself to help get the upper hand in a fight.
Visually the game is bright and colourful with Symphonia having an almost Skylanders vibe in an odd way. And shout out to the cutscenes that hold everything together, they are very well animated with a lovely art style. Soundfall is a game you really need to see in action to truly understand. It has criminally gone under a lot of people’s radar, but this is a true hidden gem that you NEED to play… it’s just that good. It’s 100% a contender for GotY thanks to its extremely unique take on well used genres.
An Xbox review copy of Soundfall was provided by Drastic Games PR team, and it’s available now on Xbox, PlayStation, Switch and PC for around £30 depending on platform.