Developer: David Szymanski
Publisher: David Szymanski
Available On: PC
Released: May 6, 2015
When games like The Music Machine come around, it often seems that even many of the people who would enjoy them feel reluctant to give them a try. Sometimes a game looks a little too strange and people (at least, people like me) get anxious about the idea of wasting their money; there are, after all, an incalculably vast amount of atrocious first-person horror games polluting Steam. In the hopes of addressing some of the fence-sitters, let me simply say that The Music Machine is the best horror game I played in all of 2015.
When The Music Machine begins, all you know is that you’re a spirit controlling the body of a young girl. To say more could constitute major spoilers, but even from this fairly unique premise, the story takes some unexpected turns. Speaking of story, the plot of The Music Machine is tenuously connected to the plot of The Moon Sliver, David Szymanski’s previous game, but The Music Machine is not a sequel and either game can be enjoyed without having played the other.
Depending on how often you stop to smell the roses, you’ll likely spend about two hours exploring the various monochromatic areas of the abandoned island, and it’s in this exploration that The Music Machine shines. Almost every object can be examined and doing so will usually trigger a short conversation between the two main characters. The dialogue is superbly written and you can even keep walking around once a conversation has been initiated, unbound by the object you were examining. I found myself wanting to explore each area just to see what the two leads would say about it. Each area in the game has a different color scheme and does a good job of cultivating it’s own atmosphere; accompanied by a genuinely excellent score.
When a game is this short, a discussion of its length is unavoidable, which is why I feel I need to mention that the length of The Music Machine is absolutely perfect. When a game can be completed in a single sitting, it’s story stays fresh in your mind throughout it’s running time. Arbitrarily padding a game like this to extend it’s length would only lessen the experience in the long run. Keeping a story succinct means it never gets dull.
Yeah, this review is pretty short, but so is the game. What do you want from me?
It’s Great. Buy it.
+ Well Written Story, Characters
+ Compelling Score
+ Wonderfully Atmospheric
– Art Style Can Sometimes Make It Difficult To Make Things Out
Also Try: Gone Home, Dear Esther, The Moon Sliver