Synaesthete is a free 3D isometric game that introduces some very interesting innovations to the shoot em up genre. It aims to synchronize visuals and audio in a unified whole, where both interact and are an part of the gaming experience.
The objective of this game is not new: make your way from room to room inside a 3D Isometric universe, dispensing of bad guys along the way, collecting health power-ups and the like that are scattered around the terrain, and using spells that have various effects (such as killing all baddies within a certain range).
Its all woven together within the sub-text of your character, termed a “Zaikman”, protecting the collective unconscious.
It all sounds all too familiar, you might say, except for the way your Zaikman’s firepower is deployed. This is done with the help of a device called the “tracker” which sits prominently in the middle of the screen.
Both the intensity and accuracy of your firepower depends on how accurately you can mimic the patterns of colored blips that cascade down the screen (and into the tracker) using three keys on your keyboard, basically the same principle as that employed by games such as “Dance Dance Revolution” or “Guitar Hero”.
The net effect of this is as follows: with your left hand you will be maneuvering your guy to dodge bad guys, while with your right hand you will be frantically tapping three keys and trying to match the falling patterns. Add to this the pulsating beats of music, and the patterns and colors that are exploding all over the screen, and it all makes for some very intense gameplay (see video below).
One of the very interesting and features of this game is that the falling blips are synchronized to the (generally fantastic) music, which can give you another cue (aside from the visual) that can help you match the pattern of falling elements. The game’s website states that the game “creates a harmony between player actions and in-game music, in a way that each influences the other”. The game’s purported aim is to synchronise the rhythm of music and the gameplay in general, so that “that the visual and audio are not two experiences, but one”. I’m not sure if that’s entirely the resulting effect, but it certainly is a very good attempt, and very innovative.
This is a game that you can download and try casually and it will provide lots of entertainment. However, I have a feeling that it will probably be much more satisfying for those dedicated gamers who might want to take its challenge all the way to the end of the game.
One final note: if you like the music (as I did) the entire OST is available for download. Look for it on the game website.
A video of the game in action:
Version Tested: 1.0.1
Go to the game website to download the latest version (approx 90 Megs).