Symphony

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
Symphony Game Poster Image
Fun arcade space shooter set to your own music collection.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

Symphony wasn't created with educational intent, and we don't recommend it for learning.

Positive Messages

The game doesn't contain much messaging since it's a music-focused arcade space shooter with a loose story wrapped around it. You spend your time shooting enemy ships.

Positive Role Models & Representations

There is no information about who you are in the game. You are just the "player" who is tasked with destroying evil.

 

Ease of Play

The arcade shooter is very easy to play, employing a mouse and keyboard combination to move your ship and fire at enemies.

Violence & Scariness

You shoot enemy spaceships and other objects but there are no aliens for you to see, plus there is no blood, gore, or realistic explosions.

 

Language

Only if the music on your computer contains profanity or suggestive lyrics will you hear it in the game.

Consumerism

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Symphony is an arcade space shooter set to your own music. You spend your time shooting at alien ships, but no aliens are shown being shot, just ships. Players see flashes of light representing the shooting. The deep voice and enemy eyes seen at the start of the game might bother some kids.

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What's it about?

Why simply listen to your music when you can interact with it? A new independent PC game called SYMPHONY uses your own personal music collection to provide an intense arcade shooter for your mouse-clicking finger. It might not have the depth or replayability as other computer games, but this digital download is fun and frantic. Winner of two awards at the 2012 Indie Game Challenge – namely, the \"GameStop PC Digital Download Award\" and \"Technical Achievement\" -- SYMPHONY tells of a sinister entity that’s imprisoning your music and you must liberate your songs one by one. After the brief introduction to the story, the game then asks your permission to scan your hard drive for music. At the start of each level, you can choose which song you want to play or let the game play a random track for you (or select one of the songs bundled with the game). The game can best be described as vertical shooter reminiscent of '80s arcade hits like Galaga, but with \"vector\"-like graphics seen in classic coin-op games like Asteroids, Missile Command, and Battlezone.

Is it any good?

Symphony is good, but its gameplay isn't unique -– save, maybe, for working with your existing music collection. You'll see your ship at the bottom of the screen and must fire projectiles at various enemy ships. You can move your ship around on the battlefield, which is necessary to avoid enemy fire and collect the power-ups and other items left behind by fallen ships. While it's more apparent in some songs over others, the enemy ship movement is tied to the melodies and beats of each song, rather than simply playing your music in the background. While it's a single-player game, Symphony offers a per-song leaderboard so you can compare your scores with others, plus there are 30 achievements and medals to unlock. Over time, you'll unlock new weapons, power-ups, achievements, and other items; repair and customize your ship; and defeat tougher bosses.

The fast-paced and family-friendly game is accessible and fun -- but repetition sets in after a few songs. Sure, upgrading your ship and earning medals serve as dangling carrots, but don't expect to stay engaged for long periods of time. Instead, Symphony offers a quick arcade shooter fix, set to your own music. The $10 game can be downloaded at EA's Origin network, GOG.com (Good Old Games), Playism, and GameSpot's ImpulseDriven.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the appeal of independent games. Affordable indie games are different from expensive, blockbuster titles. In what ways? Why do you like playing indie games?

  • Families can also talk about playing music games. Did you like controlling the music of this game? Did it make you like it better?

Game details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love music and action games

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