Music Box Music Box Hot

Music Box

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7.0  (1)
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Music Box 2011-06-17 19:21:19 Vanhelgan
Overall Fun Level 
 
7.0
Vanhelgan Reviewed by Vanhelgan    June 17, 2011
Top 500 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews

Music Box Review (By Vanhelgan)

It's difficult to approach a music generation game with a typical review style simply because these types of games are in many respects 'non-games', therefore it must simply be analysed as a piece of creational software.

Of course, there are many comparisons to be made alongside the more well known examples in the games industry ('MTV music generator' and the 'Dance eJay' series from yesteryear) but this indie game will be reviewed on it's own merit to entertain.

Developed by 'Facetious Creations', 'Music Box' comes as a minor breath of fresh air among similar music generation efforts, it excels in it's simplicity to broadcast a sense of musical construction without being too overbearing in how it represents it. Upon starting up the game the player is presented with a 16x16 grid in which every box on that grid represents the tone of an electronica style note, you are given eight tabs that display an exact duplicate grid but each with a different ‘electronica’ instrument.

The player navigates this grid with the left analogue stick and can control the tempo, volume, accentuation and echo of a note with a combination of the D-Pad and right analogue stick. The note position can be entered and cleared in said grid with the 'A' button.


COMPARISONS – Music creation games, ‘MTV Music Generator’, ‘Dance eJay’, and to an extent the recently internet popularised ‘Mario Paint Composer’


GAMEPLAY – Upon first starting up the game, the control method seems slightly imposing but literally in the space of a minute you are capable of whizzing around the grid and churning out electronic tunes that sing to your inner rave beast. Of course, this immediately wouldn’t seem like a game that anyone but a dance music enthusiast would love but when you are actually in control of creating the music, you immediately endear yourself to the current project you’re messing around with despite of the genre in which the music is sampled.

The nature of the game is ‘simplicity’ and the gameplay and control method excel to that extent. There is no need whatsoever to reference the ‘help’ button that fervently tries to catch your attention on the left side of the screen as the design of the game allows you to generate your dance tunes with ease which is the real achievement of this title: Simplified music creation.


AESTHETIC – Again, simplified, clean, white, Apple-product-like presentation with an inspired hint of the music/puzzle game ‘Lumines’ thrown in. White and grey squares fade in and out of the background as you generate your music on the grid while each instrumental tab is colour coded for easy reference while editing a track.

The only downside is that it feels like a missed opportunity to not have the moving background square’s react to the music beats that you create, along with other possible attached effects following suit, it would have added a great sense of visual interaction that would propel the gamer into creating more and more diverse tracks just to have the background thumping along with it and by proxy, increase your enjoyment of the game tenfold.


VALUE – For 80 microsoft points (approx. $1) It’s hard to fault an enjoyable little package like ‘Music Box’. It further enhances its worth with the ability to save tracks which was a genuine surprise, but only has the capacity to save up to three at a time, so unfortunately there won’t be an album’s worth of content for people to hoard in-game.

The ease with which to create a track however keeps you coming back to make more and more diverse tunes that play to your own individual tastes, I myself have been back and forth to one track to routinely edit it based on my passing tastes which shows it has legs on it (even if they are Gnome sized legs).

The one true problem that players will encounter however is that the range of electronic instrumentals is sadly not enough to keep you coming back to whet your creative appetites. Each of the numerous tracks that I created ended up sounding more or less the same regardless of the depth of detail I put into each one.

The biggest difference that could have made this little music generation package a creative powerhouse would have been the addition of exterior sampling via the ‘Xbox LIVE’ headset. The possibilities for track creation if you could record via the headset’s mic attachment (despite it’s lack of recording quality) would be endless. Alas, it was not to be for this game but it is a thoroughly enjoyable little package all the same that reminds you of ‘Juicy-Fruit’ gum. Packs a sweet and tasty punch then fades out shortly after.

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