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PREVIEW / Sentris (PC)

 

Sentris is a very colorful, rhythm puzzle game that has great potential. Sadly, in its current alpha state, Sentris is almost impossible to play. The developers, Timber Interactive, were very excited to get gamer hands on Sentris. Perhaps too excited. They released an early access version of the game on Steam, but without a tutorial or proper menu. In fact, calling it a menu is even stretching it. Check it out in the screenshot below:

 

sentris menu

Even the developers make fun of this menu, calling it “horrible” and “not shoddy at all.”

 

The game itself looks awesome though. Billed as a new kind of music game that transforms every player into a musician, it delights the senses with gorgeous abstract visuals and ethereal synthesized beats.  I just had no idea how to play it! I kinda clicked around and hoped for the best. I can usually pass the first level, but the second level is a complete crap shoot. Take a look for yourself in the trailer below:

The developers describe Sentris as a puzzle game where players can create their own song by dropping sound blocks from different instruments, pitches and lengths into the rotating sound circle. In order to advance through the game, players will need to fill highlighted segments of the center circle with specific colors or rhythms. Press the space bar to play sounds. Press up or down to change instruments. Sounds simple, right? According to Samantha Kalman, Sentris‘ creative lead, the game’s “simplicity is deceptive,”  as fitting all of the right Sound Blocks into the right place at the same time can be “extremely difficult.” This proved to be a understatement in the extreme.

 

 

sentris2

 

As an experimental game, where the experience of playing is more important than the imaginary stakes for which you could possibly be playing, Sentris can be forgiven for wanting you to dive right into the music making process. In a game like this, figuring out how to play is part of the game. But that doesn’t mean a little bit of hand holding isn’t needed, especially with something this different.

 

sentris3

 

That’s where Sentris excels – in creating a music game that’s wholly different from any other music game before it. Sentris doesn’t have you following an existing track, like Rock Band or Guitar Hero. It really is more a puzzle game than a music game, it’s just that in the process of solving the puzzle you happen to create some strange, trance-like music.

Upon final release, Sentris will have four different game modes:

  • Puzzle Mode – Solve colorful puzzles and make your own music at the same time.
  • Freestyle Mode – An expanded musical creation experience, without puzzles and with more control over the instruments and progressions of each song.
  • Local Multiplayer – Make music with your friends, just like being in a band.
  • Level Composer – Create your own musical challenges to inspire other players.

I have only been able to play in Puzzle Mode but the Level Composer sounds pretty awesome. No pun intended.

 

Sentris1

 

My only issue with the Sentris – besides the major lack of instructions/tutorial – is the anticipated $20 price tag. Despite the variety of game modes, that still seems steep for the amount of content provided. Hopefully the price will drop before its expected first quarter release. If not, this will definitely be a wishlist game. To try out Sentris for yourself, check out its Steam early access page. If you wish to learn more about Sentris and follow its development visit the official Sentris blog.

 

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