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Review: Musaic Box





Table of Contents

Quick Information

Rating: Average
Gore & Brutality Magic Sex Civility Religion
0 1 0 0 0
Age Rating Suitable for everyone
License: Commercial
System used: Martha
Available From: Gamer's Gate
Steam

Game Screenshots


Assembling a piece of music


Poking around the workshop for outlines


Solving a puzzle lets you listen to the piece

General Notes

This is one of those hidden gems that get overlooked among the big name games. It's fairly short, requiring only about two hours to play through, but at the same time it's just the right length to avoid wearing out its welcome.

If you're a fan of classical music, you'll probably enjoy Musaic Box more than your average gamer, as there's a lot of music related trivia scattered throughout the game.

Story Summary

Your grandfather has always been a little eccentric, and quite a fan of music. In fact, his passion for music seems to be intertwined in everything he does, and now he's requested that you visit him, hinting that your birthday present is waiting for you. But, once you arrive you find that your grandfather is nowhere to be found. His home is a little disordered, with musical instruments left lying around and papers everywhere, and after poking around a little you discover why: being the playful man that he is, he's set up the place as a big scavenger hunt and riddle for you to solve. Good luck!

Gameplay Summary

Musaic Box is a little unique compared to other hidden object games as it goes between interacting with the environment and solving the musical riddles of the music boxes.

Your primary goal is to find "outlines" -- simple patterns that can be used to program a music box. To find these outlines you need to search the various rooms of your grandfather's house and in many cases, you'll need to move something to expose the outline or a fragment of it. Once you find it, the outline will be added to a journal you've been carrying around.

Finding all of the outlines that make up a song allows you to move on to the next step: solving the music box. During these segments you place various pieces in a grid. Each piece describes a portion of the song, and once all of the pieces are placed, the music box engages, the song is performed, and a secret is unlocked. These secrets can be parts of other outlines or keys to one of the house's various rooms.

Once you solve all of the patterns, you earn your birthday present and the ability to play the Creations mode of the game. This new mode is just an expansion of the music box riddles where you can mess around without limits or goals.

Pros

You don't need to be able to read music
The music boxes themselves are controlled by tiles rather than an actual musical score. Each tile features an abstract line that describes the tile's portion of the song. This is pretty easy to follow, as the lines go up or down with the pitch of the piece. You can also play the section of the song a tile represents by clicking on the tile.


Unlimited hints
If you're having trouble figuring out one of the music box puzzles, there's a hint button in the upper left that will highlight any incorrectly placed tiles. There's no penalty for this, so feel free to use it. Additionally, during the hidden object sections outline fragments that you have yet to copy into your journal will randomly sparkle, giving away their positions.


Large amounts of music trivia
While searching around your grandfather's home, you can click on almost anything to get more information about it. Most of this is just trivia that fans of classical music will enjoy, but sometimes there's a hint or two there as well.


Everything syncs up perfectly
Even though the songs are broken up into several fragments, they play without any noticeable skip or pause between them. Likewise, the animations move smoothly and keep in time with the music.


Outlines can be hidden anywhere
When looking around for more outlines, you're going to need to be pretty through. They are hidden just about everywhere: in instruments, behind objects, in wall panels and some are even scribbled in the dust on the floor. While this does mean that you need to be alert, nothing is unfairly difficult.


The music boxes play well known favorites
All of the songs played by the music boxes are remixes of famous or popular classical songs. These include renditions of When the Saints Go Marching In, Good Morning to You or The Entertainer. There's even a peppy version of Jingle Bells and We Wish You a Merry Christmas!


Amusing diary entries
When adding an outline for a song in the journal, a comment about your past history with this song is always included. Apparently you've had quite a few memorable experiences with music, much of it thanks to your grandfather.


Cons

It's a pretty short game for the price
On average, you'll be able to play through the entire game in about two hours. This is pretty short for a modern game, and when you compare it to other games that are the same price, it's just not the best investment.


Concerns and Issues

The birthday present is a magic amulet
The prize you're trying to earn is a charm called the Atlantis Amulet. It is said to have the power to animate things with musical powers. Exactly what this means and how it goes about it are left to the player's imagination, as we never see the amulet used on anything.