De­vel­oper Beethoven And Di­nosaur Pub­lisher Annapurna In­ter­ac­tive For­mat PC, Xbox One Re­lease TBA


Annapurna In­ter­ac­tive’s win­ning form con­tin­ues with this psy­che­delic rock opera, the brain­child of Aus­tralian de­vel­oper Johnny Gal­va­tron. As well as de­sign­ing the game, he’s sup­plied the fran­tic fret­work that pro­vides The Art­ful Es­cape with its beat­ing heart. Tap the jump but­ton twice and, as you’d ex­pect, our lanky, be­spec­ta­cled hero per­forms a dou­ble jump. But keep press­ing it and he’ll whip out a mag­i­cal gui­tar and play a light­ning-paced lick that’s pure Bill & Ted. These air­borne sonic ex­cur­sions sync up per­fectly with the ethe­real back­ing track; never be­fore has run­ning from left to right felt so wrong. This is a game that begs to be played in the air.

It’s not just for show, ad­mit­tedly – from time to time you’ll come to a chasm that must be crossed by a beam of light that will only carry you if you’re wail­ing away like an overex­cited Steve Vai – but it’s sim­ple, overtly play­ful stuff that is per­fectly happy to be more about style than sub­stance. Thank­fully both el­e­ments are to be found in boss bat­tles, which root you to the spot and charge you with match­ing note pat­terns us­ing all four face but­tons and both bumpers. While its cen­tral hook and sump­tu­ous vis­ual style mace it ideal for the E3 show floor, it re­mains to be seen whether the nov­elty can last the full length of the game – wor­ry­ingly, the demo ends with a for­get­table down­hill sec­tion that trans­forms your gui­tar into a surf­board – but this was one of the most talked-about games at this year’s E3. Not bad for a project that com­fort­ably missed its mea­gre Kick­starter goal a lit­tle over a year ago.

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