Who says advertising never contributed anything of worth to humanity? After playing this game, I went out and bought a pack of Trident vitality gum. I don’t chew gum, but I wanted to show my appreciation.
In this game, you click on stars at the top of the screen and they start falling. You then draw lines representing different types of plants (oddly) which the falling stars hit producing a sound. As the falling stars hit the drawn lines, they bounce, changing their trajectory. This allows you to place lines in such a way as to create rhythms with the bouncing and rebounding stars. Where you place the lines on the screen determines the tonality of the emitted sound. The object of the game, such as it is, is to create a musical composition with the falling, bouncing and bobbing stars.
This game has a couple of characteristics I love. First, the mechanic is extremely simple: draw lines on the screen. There are no complicated rules, no meters, nothing. Not even much of a game objective. You just start. And discover. If you bother with the tutorial, don’t bother: it’s beautifully useless. The game leverages the reward inherent in discovery.
The game is player driven; that is, you don’t respond to anything, the game responds to you. It’s kinda like pinball in reverse: instead of controlling flippers to propel the ball you get to design the bumpers, and the balls, or in this case ‘stars,’ fall through. As a result, the fun of the game is essentially creative as you learn new and inventive ways to deploy your line drawing to create new and interesting sound compositions.
The aesthetics are simple. Other than the rudimentry ‘dreamscape’ background, all the sound and graphics are integral to the mechanic of the game. The lines that you draw are all white and have very simple shapes and animations that correspond to the type of sound they emit when struck by a falling star. The simplicity of the graphics and interface make the game almost like drawing on an animated chalk board—the white lines you draw and the white bouncing stars stand out against a green-gray background. As you become engaged, you only see the white lines and bouncing stars. The interface elegantly distills the heart of your interaction with the game, highlighting and reinforcing the player skill at its core.
And its free, unless you feel obligated to buy some gum. The gum? It’s not bad. But it’s, well, gum. In a fancy box. With a fancy name. And a fancy price. But then, in marketing terms, what are you gonna do with gum?