The whole point of Soundodger+ is to steer your tiny sphere around colored arrows that pop out with the beat of a song, much like an old bullet-hell SHUMP.
It sounds simple, but there’s something pretty special about Soundodger+, something that didn’t show itself until I was pretty deep into the game’s 23 song long tracklist. It was in the level set to Austin Wintory’s Lost Age, a sweeping classical tune that’s only slightly reminiscent of his work on the Journey soundtrack.
Everything faded away and, for a brief moment, I was dancing. The aggressive little triangles arced around my fragile little dot as the music soared, pirouetting and looping about like a trained ballerina. All I could do was keep up, following their lead and doing my best to not to step on any toes.
And just like that, everything clicked. I started to see the patterns underlying every seemingly random expulsion of arrows, my frantic dart replaced with a calm sway. I cracked the code, learned the rules, and suddenly I was swooping about the tiny playing field without a care. I was like Neo in the Matrix. I knew kung-fu, and it felt great.
I know a game has me when I catch myself smiling while playing it. Super Hexagon did it, and I’ve put over 20 hours into that game as a result. Practically every song in Soundodger+ has dredged up a primal grin from me, the kind of look that makes you lean forward in your chair and stop blinking for the duration of the level.
It’s not a game for everybody, and I heartily recommend you try out the free version before buying it, but even if you barely know your right foot from your left, Soundodger+ is a fascinating and unique way to experience music.