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Sound Strider

title:Sound Strider
download page:No link!
platform:Web, Windows, Mac, Linux
features:sound, visuals
last edit by:pitermach


Sound Strider is, without the shadow of a doubt, one of the most unique releases of this year, maybe even the last few years. It's genre is very hard to pin down. The best way that it can be described is part walking simulator, part adventure and exploration game, part relaxation tool and part musical instrument.


At its core, Sound Strider is played in first person, with your choice of the many control methods supported. WSAD or the arrow keys to walk, with Q and E letting you turn. You can also keep your hands completely off the keyboard with mouse or gamepad controls. So what do you do from this first person perspective? The game can be played in either the adventure or free roam mode. In adventure mode, you need to explore the world to complete various objectives, such as picking up beacons to link a path which will help you discover new areas, to recovering pieces of broken arpeggiators or finding keys to wind clockwork music boxes which, when rewound or reconstructed, will play beautiful, evolving music. You will also occasionally get followed by various animals inhabiting the world that you'll need to escort to a new destination. Completing all of these quests is counted in the game's statistics screen. However, all of these objectives serve a different purpose, getting you to explore the world.


This is where the other genres come into play. The main draw of Sound Strider is that the entire world is procedurally generated using random values, and its audio is created using completely synthesized sound in real-time. This means that the world is always changing and will be different for every person in every game. As you traverse through the world, you will come across one of many different so called pallets, which are designed to simulate specific environments. From the natural like forests, sunny beaches, dry deserts, windy tundras, underwater areas, thunder storms and mountainous areas, through the industrial like cities, computer mainframes and factories, to the abstract like outer space. Each of these worlds is constantly changing and includes a number of objects that move around and interact with each other. In the forest areas, various animals roam around, from birds to rabbits in the day, and wolves and other dangerous creatures at night. On the beaches, you will be greeted by seagulls and foghorn blasts. The deserts are full of geysers and dangerous snakes which wil poison you if you get too close, causing the audio to distort until the poison wears off. The cities bustle with traffic, with smaller and larger cars and emergency vehicles rushing around to get to their destination, sometimes stopping at a red light and never afraid to honk at you if you stand in their path. Other areas, like the mountain ranges, include musical elements like wind chimes that react to the game's dynamic wind system to give you constantly evolving music.


Because the worlds change so much, the game offers an extensive bookmarking system. If you find a particular spot that sounds beautiful or helps you relax, you can save it using the bookmark feature. These bookmarks can then also be shared with friends so they can also experience the locations you discover. There is also an auto walking feature, activated by pressing R or the middle mouse button, which will make your character continuously walk forward, which is helpful if you want a constantly changing soundscape as you work or if you have difficulties holding a button for long amounts of time. And finally, if you come across something very musical that gives you the urge to play along, the game also includes a very capable musical instrument. It can be played anywhere using either the remaining keys of your keyboard, a connected gamepad or any connected midi keyboards, which are by far the preferred option with the game taking full advantage of the pitch and modulation wheels found on them, allowing you to shape the sound even further. The octave and scale of this instrument will change automatically to match any other musical sounds in the area so that you can get very pleasing results no matter how well you know how to play or what you're playing with. Its sound can also be changed to a number of various presets, with only one being available at first with lots more scattered throughout the world for you to pick up, further encouraging exploration.


Sound strider is created using web technologies. It can be purchased for $10 on either Itch or Steam, with an Itch purchase also coming with a steam key so you can add it to your library. The purchase includes versions for Windows, Mac and Linux, as well as an HTML version that should be playable on all modern browsers. There is also a free demo, which can either be played on-line or downloaded from Steam which includes 3 of the 16 pallets, a single instrument preset and the basic beacon linking quest for the adventure mode. It should however give you a good idea on what you can expect from the full version. The developer also runs a blog which details the development process of the game and reveals just how intricate its workings are. If you like the game, reading through these posts is a must as they will most likely give you a far greater appreciation!


Whether you're looking for something which would help you relax or focus, want to jam out, or simply want to try something completely different, sound strider is an absolute must try with its lush, completely randomised, constantly evolving soundscapes!



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Updates: entry 2 Feb 22 and description 2 Feb 22

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