Monday, February 27, 2017

Video Game Review: The Music Machine (Spectator)

Haley, an eccentric 13 year old girl, has a complicated relationship with her old friend Quintin. He's a ghost now, and he's puppeting her body with the intent of finding a satisfactory way of killing her. This dubious quest has led them to a mysterious abandoned island, where several people were recently murdered. And where, among the rotting cabins and dense trees, a strange new building hides a bizarre secret... 

"He met a man an eyeless man a toothless man and he looked at the man and the man looked at him and he saw that the man was beloved and dearest of friends and the man spoke to him 'how long since you've tasted bone marrow' and he told him he told him truthfully and the man said 'come' and he came with the man and they vomited pure cold clean water into the endless eternal infinite sea and then, the end." 

From the game's Steam page



Indie-horror games can be a unique experience for either players or spectators, such as myself. They offer something the big, commercial games can't and that is a different experience each game. There are exceptions to that rule, because there are a lot of indie-horror games full of tired cliches, horrible writing or no writing at all, and just a mess. But what I'm talking about is a few gems and this game is a gem.

Not to put big title horror games under the bus. Sure, I enjoy the commercial games like Alien: Isolation or Silent Hill, but you're to expect the multi million dollar graphics, with cinematic cut scenes, and motion capture technology. But what I love about indie-horror games is that you're not to expect that. What you will expect though is a different experience each and every single game. A labor of love. And if it's not a quick cash crab, which unfortunately a lot of these indie-horror games can be, the ones that are not, can provide a riveting experience.

Sure, indie-horror games do tend to be pretentious and repetitive with over the top scares, no storyline, or laughable dialogue, but then you have these gems. These gems that become icons, Gods amongst the masses. Maybe not the latter, but they're so good you find yourself listing them as your favorites above the triple A games. When an indie-horror game is done right, it gives birth to innovation and revelation to a new generation of game creators. Look at what Amnesia: The Dark Descent did, Five Nights at Freddy's did, and Slenderman (the link leads to Slenderman: The Arrival. I never reviewed the original, which is the one I'm referring to). They were made by a small team independent video game maker (in some cases, a lone maker, like FNAF) and they changed the scene of horror games forever. These game creators (or most of the time, lone creator) do this for the simple joy of taking a blue print from their mind and making it a reality. That's awesome.

My Review: 

That's what The Music Machine has accomplished. A new, innovative experience that I can truly say I enjoyed thoroughly. The game has received rave reviews on its Steam page, with rarely any lukewarmness. The design is something to behold. It seems so simple, like Into the Gloom (another indie-horror favorite of mine), yet effective. The colors of black, red, and orange create this mysterious effect. It's also different that this game doesn't follow the old mold of other horror games by relying solely on jumpscares and viscera, but rather focuses on atmosphere, story, and it does deliver on both fronts. 

Needless did I know when I began watching this that this is a successor to another title called The Moon Sliver. Once I found that out, I figured I would be lost in the loop. But instead, I found it easy to follow. I do plan on reviewing The Moon Silver as well soon.

The story's protagonist(s) are Quintin and a 13-year old girl named, Haley. There is a catch though, Quintin is dead and has possessed Haley. This may seem as a bit cliche, although I've never seen it in horror games. Also, I like it, because even though Haley's actions are influenced by Quintin, a majority of the game has them talking to each other as if they're standing next to each other. And you would think Haley would be pissed about her life being violated by a spirit, but she seems okay with it. At the beginning of the game, their first conversation, Haley asks if Quintin wants to kill her, and he says, he does. Haley says he doesn't. He hasn't made her do it yet,

I found the dialogue between these characters interesting. Haley can be annoying though sometimes, but she's a teenager, so they can be irritating, so I'm not going to mark that against the review.

The music is fantastic and is a mood setter.

The environments are really neat.

And the fact that a lone creator made all this possible is quite the accomplishment. Very good job, David Szymanski.

Other than that, I think you should experience the game yourself. Either buy the game on Steam or watch the game. Either way, it's quite the experience. 

Final Verdict: 

The Music Machine presents itself in an interesting fashion. Though the storyline of a ghost possessing someone has been done before, the execution is well done. The lack of a variety of colors creates an interesting appeal. The environments are otherworldly and neat. If I was to grade this on the story, it would probably be a 7/10. 

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