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Music Week: Music as escape in A Musical Story

Play the demo on the 19th.

Look at that font. 70s poster font. Gig font. A font with flares. Lurid and a bit goofy, it tells you so much about the game. More, even, than the title: A Musical Story.

No, that’s probably not fair. A Musical Story is a musical story. A musician lies in a hospital bed with no memories. So you use music to recreate them. It’s a narrative rhythm action game and it’s already pretty special.

The heart-rate monitor is the ultimate baseline. When it appears on screen at first, I find myself pushing buttons in time to it before I’ve even been told to, before there are prompts. From there, a game builds: a piece of music plays and you match the button presses that appear on screen, using just the right and left bumpers. Right, left, both, sustain. It’s simple but you get a lot out of it.

And a story starts to emerge, one drop at a time. A dream of being in a band. A soul-sapping job at a bean canning factory. Nights in front of the dead TV with a joint and angry dreams of the bean company mascot intruding. Match the music – drums one second, distorted guitar the next. Pink Floyd vibes, a touch of Santana, lumpy, looping prog.

Things start to come together. A competition flyer, the chance to be the best band out there. A road trip beckons and a van needs restoring. All of this told with gorgeously simple art, indie comics art, vibrant colours and lots of darkness. Headbands, brows furrowed in concentration, the music dominating.

Where’s it all going? I can’t wait to follow, anyway. In A Musical Story, music is both an escape and, I suspect, a cure. A demo will hit Steam on the 19th giving you the first ten chapters. The game itself will follow in the summer. Can’t wait.

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