Recently, I got my hands on an Alpha copy of Sentris. If you haven’t heard of it, Sentris is a game that very much a cross between Tetris and Guitar Hero. The developers describe it as a chance to explore music only you can make, while, of course, solving the puzzles. Figuring I like bright colors, fun and music, I hopped aboard and decided to to check it out on Steam.
When you fire up the game you notice right away a lot of circles. The one in the middle is empty and the outer circles are colored. Adding the colored Soundblocks to the middle rotating circle is how you not only solve the puzzle but is how music is made. Not exactly the War and Peace of games but if you’re not careful, this gets complicated very quickly.
It’s in its alpha release right now, “core-complete” and completely playable, but still has a few issues, which isn’t a shock with being an alpha release. The biggest issue right now is the lack of anything resembling a tutorial. This is a game where success and failure hinge on how well you know what sound is going to come out of your selected block, and the only way to figure that out right now is trial and error. Your quickly aware of when you mess up since every time your song loops it hits that off-key note. Loudly. There’s also a planned feature to save and export your song to WAV format so you can keep it and share it, which is a great idea.
The game can be played with a controller, but the menu (which is currently horrible, but that’s being worked on thankfully) is mouse control only. When you pause the game, you have to use a keyboard to hit the buttons for reset (which takes you to the main menu) and quit (which is apparently quit to desktop). Hopefully that gets ironed out in the next couple updates
There is a bit of charm to it, but it takes a good amount of work to get to that point. Stringing together a few blocks into a decent sounding song is a great feeling, though, once you’ve done that, all it takes is one misplaced block for the whole thing to come crashing down, which is a bit frustrating. The art style of the backgrounds is nice, and the artwork itself is very nice to look at, but, as I mentioned earlier, the more colorful ones can make it a bit hard to play when you get to the later stages of Medium or Hard. The sound quality is really good, though there are only four instruments in the game at this point.
The biggest hurdle for me, and I think, potentially, for many people, is going to be the price. This game costs $19.99, which isn’t much, but, for a game that’s as feature-incomplete as this one, it might not be worth it at this point. It’s worth keeping an eye on, though. The full game is slated for release in April of 2015.