Sonority is a music-based puzzle game from the creative minds of Hanging Gardens Interactive and published by Application Systems Heidelberg. The game is set to release in the first quarter of 2021, but I was recently able to check out a demo that helps give a taste of what to expect when the full game launches.
Sonority follows Esther, a young girl trying to “unveil the secrets of music.” She uses her trusty panpipe to solve puzzles and unravel the mysteries surrounding her in a wonderfully animated world. While the demo does not go too in-depth with the story, it does a wonderful job of introducing Esther and gives an excellent taste of what the game world will feel like in the full release. There are not a ton of side characters present here, but there is a talking raccoon. You can’t really ask for much more than that! Storywise, the demo gives just enough to intrigue me without giving away too much information about what is coming next. It is a tricky balance, but one I feel is struck pretty well.
While having a decent story is nice, it is definitely not what the Sonority demo is meant to display. The real highlight of the demo is the ingenious music-based gameplay. While most music-based games focus on timing up moves with the rhythm of the music, Sonority throws that tradition aside and tries something truly unique. Each puzzle is solved by using a combination of musical pitch intervals to move objects. For example, you use a one-note interval if you want to move a block up one level. If you want to move it up three levels, you use a three-note interval. The puzzles start relatively simple but increase in difficulty throughout. The options for Hanging Gardens to create truly challenging puzzles in the full game are seemingly boundless and present a really fascinating concept.
My only real hesitancy with the gameplay is that I’m not sure how well it will translate to players who are not musically inclined. I am a professional musician and music teacher, so it made sense that the puzzles would seem cool to me while also being possible to solve. However, there is a chance that the design could be difficult for people who do not have prior musical knowledge. Still, the demo keeps things relatively simple and gives me hope that it will be accessible for musicians and non-musicians alike. The balance of finding ways to challenge both of those groups is going to be difficult, and I am interested to see how Hanging Gardens approaches this challenge when the full game comes out.
Sonority is a fascinating premise with a wonderfully designed world and creative puzzles that absolutely belongs at the top of any Steam wishlist. There is a massive amount of potential here, and the number of options for Hanging Gardens going forward has me absolutely salivating at the prospect of playing the full game in the next few months. Keep an eye out for this one; I know I will be!
Sonority is releasing in Q1 2022 on Steam.