There are countless mobgames out there now, but few of them use music as a gameplay style. So, when I come across one that isn’t just a Guitar Hero clone, I’m curious. Sometimes there’s a certain level of dubiousness with my curiosity but it interests me all the same. I recently came across Music Puzzle by Indie developer Tagwizz, who used music in a different way. Of course to find out if it was actually any good you’ll have to read this review (or just scroll to the bottom and see the scores, either way.)
The basic idea of Music Puzzle is that a number of musical tracks are split up into sections. Each of these sections now constitutes a puzzle. Each of these sections is now broken into their different instrument tracks and these are then broken up into pieces, and everything is all mixed around. First, you need to figure out which pieces belong to which instrument, and then you have to re-arrange them to put them all back in the right order.
It’s a simple premise, but the game delivers it well. There are also a number of different types of puzzles, some give you the sound wave images and the sound, while others give you only the sound to figure out where each bit will go.
Also, don’t think you can just keep swapping your pieces around until you get the right combination. Each level has a move limit. You have to put the piece of music back together again within that limit or start the whole puzzle again.
This game is difficult. Well, it is for me. Having about as much musical talent as a boiled potato, means I have great difficulty in recognizing which piece should follow where, luckily there are several different tracks of varying difficulties. The easiest track you’re given for free is a French song by Carla Morrison called Eres tu. A beautiful song with a haunting melody, however it’s in French so I had horrendous difficulty putting the voice line in the right order, and let’s be honest the words should be the easiest part.
You do have a few functions at your disposal to make things easier. You can isolate individual pieces or instrument tracks and play only those which helps separate the music from the cacophony. You can also use your coins to buy hints that will show you where a certain piece should be. These coins are earned from completing puzzles or you can simply splash the cash and buy them.
However, I’m not going to mark this game down too much purely due to my own lack of a musician’s ear and lack of patience. Music Puzzle has levels that might take hours to complete. It’s got slow progression certainly, but for those with an ear for music and a level of tenacity their perseverance is rewarded. For tone-deaf musical-ignorati like me the difficulty level may be set a little too high, and may turn some people away.
There are other tracks to purchase, and I did find the Scissor Sister and James Blunt songs easier although still very tricky. These other tracks are available to purchase at around £2.99 each, and bear in mind that each track is around 15 puzzles, it isn’t a bad price for a DLC.
The upside of the game’s difficulty is not only the tremendous sense of achievement when you finally complete that puzzle, but a surprising want to go back and do it again. Maybe not straight away but there is that need. It’s a similar feeling to completing that 5000 piece jigsaw, staring at it for a few minutes, only to break it all up and start again afterwards.