Sonority is a music-based puzzle game from the creative minds of Hanging Gardens Interactive and published by Application Systems Heidelberg. I had the opportunity to play the demo back in December of 2021, and I was really excited by what I saw just from the start. Thankfully, the developer delivers a delightful and beautiful journey.
Sonority puts players in the shoes of Esther, a young adventurer working to uncover the secrets of music. Music is magical in the world of Sonority, where humans and animals live together in peace and harmony. Esther is determined to help her friend Batama the bear by rediscovering a melody that has the power to cure illnesses. So she sets off on her journey to find the teachers of music, but what she thinks will be a short journey becomes a much longer, more emotional adventure. Alongside characters like Raccoon and the magical stone heads known collectively as Zuzu, Esther manages to learn a lot about herself and the world she lives in. It is a delightful journey that left me feeling quite hopeful by the end, something the musical aspects of the game really helped drive home.
Esther starts equipped with just her pan flute and a singular note to play, but there are more instruments and notes to discover as you progress. Each discovery also adds to the complexity of the puzzles you have to solve. Speaking of puzzles, to progress along Esther’s journey, countless musical puzzles need to be solved. They start as simple as inputting two notes into stone pillars to lift a platform but become increasingly complex as the game goes on. The complexity of the puzzles also ties in nicely with the advancement of the story, but it isn’t easy to get into that more without spoiling what makes the journey so unique.
The most important question I had coming out of the demo was how accessible the music-based gameplay would be for someone who does not have a musical background. I was not surprised that I could pick up on the note intervals and how they correlated with the puzzles that needed solving, but would that be accessible for someone who does not have 20 years of musical experience? Thankfully, the developer took their time making sure the game felt approachable to people without any music background. Even the more challenging puzzles still feel like they should be solvable without a deep understanding of music.
In addition to an interesting story and innovative puzzles, the world of Sonority is an absolute blast to venture through. Each location is designed with meticulous attention to detail, and the looks and feel of the world impress at every turn. The combination of the importance of music with a beautiful design makes me wish I could spend time in that world in real life, which is quite an impressive feat. Most of my time spent playing Sonority was on my Steam Deck (Sonority has native Linux support, and I did not encounter a single issue running it), and it was difficult to pull myself away from the wonderful world they created.
Sonority is a beautiful tale that will take you on an emotional ride as you discover the importance of music. While players with musical backgrounds will have a special love for the game, it has a broad appeal that will make it a blast for anyone interested in the premise. I loved every second of my time with Sonority, and I just wish I could experience it for the first time all over again.
Sonority releases May 25th on Steam.
- Rating - 9/109/10
Sonority is a beautiful tale that will take you on an emotional ride as you discover the importance of music. While players with musical backgrounds will have a special love for the game, it has a broad appeal that will make it a blast for anyone interested in the premise.