Sonority: our official proof

Sonority we had already tested it during its preview and already from there we had seen some defects that, over time, could be improved. Let’s say that the test on the final product was not so different and this lowers the score a lot, dampening a little that enthusiasm we had felt at the time.

Developed by Hanging Gardens with Unity, using 3D graphics with an isometric view, we see a title where music is the real protagonist. Nothing too complicated, as it is mentioned at the start of the game; it doesn’t matter to be a musician or to have studied in this field to be able to play Sonority.

And indeed it is true; the difficulty, at least in the low levels, is almost nil guaranteeing a good result on the learning of the game mechanics. The title will be released on May 25 for PC thanks to virtual platforms such as Steambut has already received the “Best Prototype” award at the German Computer Game Awards.

The expectations were really high, already starting from this extraordinary win, and we hope that the developers will be able to fix what we personally found to be “wrong”. Yes, there are quotation marks and this is because they are not real mistakes that compromise the experience, but tricks to make the title very high-level.

Let’s go into more detail, but first we recommend that you read the preview tested during the month of December 2021.

Sonority is a musical puzzle game

Let’s start with the plot of Sonority; in this fantasy world, where melodies intersect each other creating puzzles of various kinds, you will impersonate Esther: an enterprising young woman who hopes to help a friend in need. The friend in question is Batana, a sick bear whose recovery will depend on the discovery of a melody now lost in time.

To find her, Esther will have to undertake this journey to a place ruined by the passing of days; ancient ruins will appear in front of her eyes and, together with them, many puzzles to be solved with music.

Because this place is not only ancient, it does not give off that feeling of visual wonder that you might have even with a vase from Ancient Rome. We are talking about an intricate place of music, of magic, and they work together to be able to solve as many puzzles as possible and move on. As Esther progresses on the adventure, with the help of a talking raccoon and singing stonesthere are many references to the past and how the population lived together in this huge rock garden.

It turns out that the inhabitants used the same musical magic to stay in touch with everything on the spot and, thanks to the skills of Esther and her pan flute (found after a few minutes inside the rock garden), you can get to the end of the game.

Basically it is the same plot found in the preview and that has quite fascinated us. You don’t often find such a story in modern video games, although there are quite similar situations, and the use of music has been introduced well. Nothing different from the final game was to be expected and that’s okay.


Same game, same flaws

As you could have read at the beginning of this review, Sonority had already been tried before by my colleague Maria Grazia; she talked about every single detail within the game, expressing a favorable opinion that I would have given myself. This is precisely why I expected to find the correct errors, which did not happen. Let’s go in order; let’s start from the fact that already from the preview, the movements of the protagonist appeared to have many imperfections. Months have passed and this detail has not been corrected, bringing to light a title that brings me back to 2010.

For a game that passes from an early access to the final product, coming out on the market, I was hoping not to find these imperfections and it’s a real shame. The title is graphically satisfying, with the right details highlighted without too many complications, and to see Esther interpenetrate somewhere It is not pleasant. We are not just talking about these little bugs, which can also have bigger titles like triple A’s, but about Esther flying instead of walking. Or maybe it moves diagonally when we literally try to make it go a straight path. Even worse is when the protagonist herself flaps his arms while walking.

I have personally encountered the same problems with the talking raccoon; I’m not talking about the fact that his voice comes from a cute and perpetually closed nose, the problem is always related to the movements. Aside from that, however, Sonority has no other complications (although I’ll talk about them again in the next few paragraphs) and holds up very well without crashing. Also game difficulty is based on making the player learn as much as possible from the puzzlesnever getting stuck for too long.


Puzzles, perhaps, too easy

There is no real difficulty, as Sonority is based on the player’s experience within the adventure. This means that the first musical puzzles will be simple, only to become more and more difficult as the hours go by. The mechanics are basic: compose the melody with the notes at your disposal. During the game you will find musical symbols to use through the numeric keypad or thanks to the controller (and I recommend using the latter, much smoother than the keyboard). The musical notes will go inside some towering platforms.

Once activated, they will form a link between them able to solve the puzzle and move on. Sometimes you will need it to move some boulders, sometimes to raise or lower a ladder and many other nice mechanisms; each note is equivalent to an action and you could get one wrong to see how a platform disappears into thin air or not.

Speaking of which, I found another bug that honestly made me gasp. It doesn’t always happen, but sometimes these double levels of height exist to allow the player to go to the lower part and take a few more notes or the key to proceeding into new areas.

Well, it happened to see the boulder disappear under the ground and to see Esther floating in the air. Personally I thought I had to go to some secret area, so I remember she went to that point quite firmly and the fact of seeing the protagonist in mid-air had left me very perplexed. Not bad, it was enough for me to go back and use the right note to see everything return to the way it was. Doubt that the developers used the same mechanism for each platformregardless of everything, it is strong.


A musical reward is what the player does not expect

Within Sonority there are chests, obviously to be opened with the notes held by the protagonist. Don’t expect to find equipment or whatever other rewards for the player; what you will find inside the treasures are small scrolls that will come out of their ancient container, almost magically taking life, and continuously producing a melody. There is nothing else and this made me turn up my nose a little. It literally is in line with the rest of the gamebut it could be an opportunity to give the player an extra reward.

Maybe, that same melody could be present inside the collectibles or it could be exploited for a more complex game mechanics; I am not a developer, I am just a gamer with a few years of experience and I would have liked to see something other than just finding the chests to unlock a couple of achievements.

Which, literally, they are “Find three chests” or similar. Positive note is the fact that Sonority is dubbed in English, but has also been translated into Italian and this makes it accessible to all. To be able to play it on PC you will need to meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Operating system: Windows 10 or higher;
  • Processor: Intel Core i3-6100;
  • Memory: 2000 MB of RAM;
  • Video card: Nvidia GeForce 540;
  • Dedicated memory: 1000 MB of available space.