Sonority
Gameplay 8
Graphics 8
Sound 9

Sonority is a music puzzle adventure that is also very accessible for players without any previous musical knowledge. Players take control of a young woman named Esther, who is on a quest to save her friend Batama. To do so, she must solve the musical mysteries of a mysterious place called the rockery. Thanks to the whimsical story, charming characters, and relaxing gameworld, Sonority is an easy recommendation to puzzle fans.

Gameplay: The puzzles become steadily more complicated but are never illogical or unfair.

Graphics: The art style is simple but very vibrant, and each area has a distinct look and feel.

Sound: Music plays an integral part in the game, and the soundtrack definitely contributes to the experience

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Sonority

Developer: Hanging Gardens Interactive | Publisher: Application Systems Heidelberg | Release Date: 2022 | Genre: Puzzle / Adventure / Indie | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

Sonority is a game set in a world that has lapsed into silence. The heroine, Esther, breaks this silence with her panflute as she sets out on a quest to save a friend. Esther is the only person gifted with the ability to speak to animals, which is how she befriends a bear named Batama. However, when Batama becomes ill, Esther realizes that the only cure is a magical melody. Esther travels to a mysterious place called the rockery to find this melody. Unfortunately, instead of the legendary preceptors of music, all Esther finds is a talking raccoon and some singing stones. While the raccoon makes it very clear that Esther is not welcome at the rockery, she does not give up on her mission.

Although the rockery was once a magical place, it is also apparent that something terrible had happened. As Esther makes her way through the ruins, temples, forts, and towers of the rockery, she learns more about what happened to the place. Still, the rockery doesn’t give up its secrets easily, and Esther has a multitude of musical puzzles to solve every step of the way.

Even though all the puzzles in Sonority are based around music and melodies, the game isn’t only designed for those with musical skills. Instead, there is a logic to all the puzzles that means anyone can figure out what to do after wrapping their heads around the game’s mechanics. Initially, Esther is armed only with her trusty panflute and limited notes, but as her journey progresses, she unlocks new notes as well as new instruments. Eventually, Esther will have three different instruments at her disposal, each with eight different notes to play. These notes can be played into special receptors and played back, which causes something to happen in the game world. At first, it’s only a matter of playing the right notes in the right spots, but eventually, players will also have to move the receptors into the correct positions along set paths. Playing back the musical notes can cause anything from platforms raising or lowering to rotating bridges, but it is up to players to figure out the correct sequences. We won’t spoil anything, but the solutions are all quite logical, and there’s more to them than just beautiful melodies.

Visually, Sonority is a vibrant game with bright, colorful graphics. The grass and water, in particular, look great, and despite the loneliness of Esther’s surroundings, they are filled with beauty. Each area is also unique in terms of style, and some sections take place at night, which allows for nice lighting effects to be displayed. Sonority is viewed from an overhead isometric viewpoint, but players can move the camera around manually a bit for a better view of their surroundings. In addition, the game shows Esther’s outline in instances where her path takes her behind objects in the foreground.

As expected from a game with music at its core, the soundtrack of Sonority is really good. Generally, each area is quiet except for some ambient sounds, but as soon as players solve a nearby puzzle, the notes contribute to the melody of the location. There’s even one spot in the game with a bunch of receptors where musically inclined players can compose their own melody and listen to the playback. Sonority is also fully voiced, and while it doesn’t feature a massive cast of characters, the quality is acceptable for an indie game. Some of the characters even surprised us by breaking into song. Furthermore, the game features both English and German versions of these original songs. Seeing as the developers are from Germany, the songs were presumably composed with German in mind, but they don’t sound too bad in English either.

Sonority can be played with a keyboard or controller, but we found the former to be a better fit for the style of the game. In addition to using WASD for movement, players can press 1-8 to play notes on whatever instrument Esther has equipped. Since most puzzles are based on the intervals between notes, it is easier to keep track of these on a keyboard. In fact, the game even allows players to display the numbers one to eight instead of the musical notes if they prefer. Playing with a controller makes for smoother movement but makes it harder to keep track of the notes as they are not laid out in a linear fashion. This isn’t an issue for most of the game, but some of the puzzles have time limits, which makes them trickier. Players can start or reset puzzles by standing on specific points, but we did encounter one or two instances where we had to restart because Esther got stuck on a platform after we input the wrong notes. However, the game appears to autosave before each puzzle, so we never lost any progress due to this.

While Sonority features a large map to explore, it is split into distinct areas. Generally, it is easy to figure out where to go next, so not much exploration is required to stay on track. However, players can find collectible music symbols and special chests if they pay attention to their surroundings. However, these are optional but can unlock some additional lore and achievements. Sonority also tells players how many symbols are in each area and how many they have found, which is helpful. The game definitely doesn’t skimp on puzzles either, and Esther is challenged every step of the way. Although there is no difficulty selection, the game is accessible enough that most players should be able to have fun with it.

Overall, Sonority delivers a unique musical-based puzzle experience without alienating players who are not musically inclined. This is quite a feat as the puzzles are not just random assortments of notes either. We definitely enjoyed the time we spent with Esther and the cast of Sonority, and hopefully, this is not her last adventure.

System Requirements

  • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
  • OS: Windows 10
  • Processor: Intel Core i3-6100
  • Memory: 2000 MB RAM
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce 540
  • Storage: 3000 MB available space
  • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
  • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
  • OS: High Sierra 10.15+
  • Processor: X64 architecture with SSE2 instruction set support, supports Apple Silicon natively
  • Memory: 2000 MB RAM
  • Graphics: Metal-capable Intel and AMD GPUs
  • Storage: 1000 MB available space
  • Additional Notes: Apple officially supported drivers
  • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
  • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
  • OS: Ubuntu 20.04, Ubuntu 18.04, and CentOS 7
  • Processor: X64 architecture with SSE2 instruction set support
  • Memory: 2000 MB RAM
  • Graphics: Vulkan-capable, Nvidia and AMD GPUs.
  • Storage: 1000 MB available space
  • Additional Notes: Gnome desktop environment running on top of X11 windowing system, Nvidia official proprietary graphics driver or AMD Mesa graphics driver. Other configuration and user environment as provided stock with the supported distribution (Kernel, Compositor, etc.)
  • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system

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