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Soundodger 2 – Review

There is a fascinating conversation around whether gaming is art and I’m of the view that yes gaming is art. Soundodger 2 is a game that I’d present as a case in point. This surprise sequel is a stunning game that allows every single frame and beat of it to be a work of moving geometric art. It’s hypnotic, artistic, fluid and colourful as you move your tiny circle around to dodge all the musical attacks being thrown your way. Put simple, Soundodger 2 is a masterpiece.

Every song is a geometric waterfall of artistry. It is mesmerising to watch.

With over 35 tracks, each with multiple difficulties and a special challenge mode, there are over 100 musical patterns that you need to avoid. You can do this by controller or mouse but you’ll need your wits about you because Soundodger 2 is much tougher than its original. This is because each track is beautifully built using a wider selection of attacks. It’s no longer only lazers, arrows, diamonds or orbs firing at you in rhythmic patterns, there’s so much more going on. Gravity switches up, visual filters make things hazy, mirror modes give you multiple circles to keep safe and capture the flag style dotted circles need collecting and capturing to prevent you getting damage. Even the level areas themselves keep changing as the camera pans in and out and an inner circle grows to push you into specific rings of a level rather than having the full space. There’s even a level that makes you run around the outside of the level. The way how each piece of music has tailored patterns that perfectly match it. Soundodger 2 rivals Tetris Effect, Child of Eden, Sayonara Wild Hearts and Just Shapes and Beats in this area. It’s a small top tier but Soundodger 2 is in it.

Keeping your heart (if you can catch it) adds vital points to your score as you chase the S ranks!

The other crucial change is that Soundodger 2 has a fail state. If you get hit too many times too in quick succession you’ll shatter. With patterns also harder, this means that its no longer a given you’ll make the end of the track. If you do shatter you’ll be able to dive directly into practice mode at any specific part of the track and ensure practice makes perfect. It took a while for me to adjust to this but whilst it stung me a few times, it is a good addition. Crucially, to even things up, you can not only use a slow down feature to help you get out of tight spaces but you could equip a shield instead to keep you safe if there is a specific part of a song that troubles you.

What’s more is that Soundodger 2 comes with a level editor. It’s something I’ve only dabbled with for a while so far but it feels easier to get going with than the original. This sentiment seems to be echoed by other creators and that has given the game an additional edge for me. I’m so enamoured by how artistic and poetic the standard levels are – the level editor makes me feel like these artistic levels are much more attainable than before. I can’t wait to get stuck in.

Sometimes its safer to stay still but often the triangles are fired at where you were when they fire from the outside omitters.

I cannot recommended Soundodger 2 enough. It is so much fun to play. The soundtrack is groovy and has a fair bit of variation (mostly electronica based) and some funnily titled rearrangements of songs from the original. Every song feels like its been carefully built to be both artistic and challenging. There is so much here and the level editor has the potential to extend the games’ life span for a good decade already, just like the original. This is how you do a sequel. Hats off to Studio Bean. A perfect 10 from me.

Soundodger 2
Final Thoughts
Soundodger 2 is the bigger, harder, more artistic brother of its original. A work of art to watch and feel part of and with a level editor to boot. I think this is one of the best music based games this decade. A masterpiece.
Every song has an artistic, poetic and glorious to watch visual pattern.
Varied, fun soundtrack.
Over 100 patterns to master.
Much harder than before but with optional powerups and modes for you to learn, practice and master the game.
Level editor is much easier than before - making custom levels more attainable and clever.
Mesmerising to play.
I got nothing.

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