May 21st, 2008

Synaesthete is an action-rhythm game created by four students at DigiPen. It was the winner of the Best Student Game award at the 2007 Independent Games Festival (IGF).

Synaesthete, at first glance, looks far more complicated to play than it actually is. It follows familiar principles that we have come to know in the mainstream rhythm games; watch for “notes” to descend to a certain point, typically denoted by a button, and then hit the corresponding button at the appropriate time. Missing a note in Guitar Hero, for example, will cause your music to skip and it won’t pick up again until you’ve gotten yourself back on track. In Synaesthete, however, missing a note does nothing to disrupt the flow of the music.

In Synaesthete you control an avatar called the Zaikman. The objective is to navigate the Zaikman through a series of rooms. Enemies spawn in these rooms, and Zaikman will be locked inside until he defeats the enemies. You help the Zaikman accomplish this by hitting “notes” successfully; this will fire energy beams at enemies based on his proximity to them. The Zaikman can be damaged and his health is indicated by a meter that is located just below your “note bar”. You don’t have to hit every note, but since the notes are your weapons, you don’t want to miss too many.

Synaesthete is available from a number of sources for free, including but not limited to the students’ official page at Digipen and the DoSu mirror.

  1. I too was interested when I first saw this at IGF 2007 awards. I STILL HAVEN’T GOTTEN AROUND TO PLAYING IT. heh. It makes me want to play all games that way, firing only on the beats and groovin’ with the music of the particular game.