Available on PC

Permit me to take a short break from Melody’s Escape to tell you how awesome this game is. On the surface Melody’s Escape may look like a trimmed down version of a standard rhythm game, but there’s a lot more under the surface than you might expect.

After a lengthy beta test, Melody’s Escape is now available on Steam for both Windows PCs and Mac. The game lacks a PEGI or ESRB rating, but I assure you the game is absolutely fine for anyone. There is no narrative and the action is simply running through an obstacle course. The worst thing that happens to your heroine is falling down.

It’s true the mechanics of Melody’s Escape are pretty basic. You guide Melody through an obstacle course by using the right WASD and arrow keys timed to the beat of the song. The game’s simplicity makes it a great choice for players at any age or experience level. You can up the difficulty of the game, which increases the complexity of the keys you use. You can also just stick to whatever difficulty level you feel most comfortable with.

melody's escape

Where Melody’s Escape really shines is its capacity to use your own music library. Every time I’ve introduced a person to Rock Band, the first question is “Can I play ANY song?” Sadly, the answer to that question is no for Rock Band and Guitar Hero. By contrast, Melody’s Escape not only lets you utilize your music library, it can use your songs to create a custom obstacle course for each tune. The game matches the actions happening on screen with your music shockingly well.

Some complex procedural analysis of the music beyond my comprehension takes place within the game behind the scenes. You can tell they put a great deal of work fine-tuning this to get it just right. Dance music with regular beats may be what Melody’s Escape was designed around, but I’ve tried Hip Hop/R&B, Rock and Roll, and even some Classical. The game can handle any song at least decently well.

The ability to easily use your own music – and use it well – really sets Melody’s Escape apart. By simply playing your own music library it bypasses the expensive licensing that restricts other rhythm games. I can see games like the Rock Band and Guitar Hero titles picking up this technology before too long, but for now I am grooving on helping Melody run over rocks and through tunnels to the beats of my own tunes.

This article was written by

Jason grew up a PC gamer from the days games came on cassette tapes. He has worked as a writing teacher, and knows his continued interest in gaming creates a shared vocabulary with young people. Jason loves bringing new players into the gaming hobby. His preference is for multiplayer games–particularly ones where players can form their own communities to work together. You can catch him blathering on at length about various issues with geek culture at KitschKobold.blogspot.com.