This weekend we got to spend some hands-on time with Songbringer, the brainchild of solo indie developer Nathanael Weiss, AKA Wizard Fu.
He’s live streamed the coding, art, music and testing of the game five days a week for well over two years. If you’re interested in game development, you should check out his Twitch channel. Or if you’re curious about the evolution of the game, and want to start from the beginning, you can binge on the 540+ youtube videos he’s uploaded to date.
This sci-fi action RPG is pitched as a pixelated, procedurally generated Legend of Zelda. But it’s so much more.
Where the original Zelda has just one world, Songbringer has the possibility for millions of worlds. Hear me out on this one.
At the start of each adventure, you enter in a six letter code that acts as the world seed. Whatever combination of letters you chose, a new world is generated. Not to worry, though. If you enter in the same code again, or share the code with a friend, you’ll get the same world.
With this, you can replay your favorite worlds, or challenge your friends to clear them with a better time.
Find a particularly exciting world with an awesome secret? Then pass along that code and see if others can find it too.
We didn’t get to use one of these codes for the demo at PAX East, but there was still plenty to explore. On release, you won’t begin the game with a full kit of items, but we had access to a sword, a top-hat boomerang, bombs, and a teleport dash. Along the way, you can find items and upgrades for each of these, as well as some single use abilities, like a scanner that revealed points of interest in the first dungeon I ran across.
Following us along on our adventure was our floating robot sidekick, Jib. There’s local co-op for the game, so a second player can jump in to support you on your journey.
True to its inspirations, Songbringer doesn’t tell you where to go or what to do. You’ve crashed on this alien planet, and weird stuff starts to happen. It’s up to you to figure out the rest.
To its credit, the gameplay was almost instantly familiar. I felt right at home hacking, slashing, dashing, and laying bombs to blow up bosses or uncover hidden items. The variety of enemies, beautifully pixelated art style, and lighting effects kept me happily exploring every square inch of the dungeon.
It’s daunting knowing full well that I’d only cleared one of thirteen bosses, and one of the ten dungeons, in a single world out of millions. I’m eager to see what players uncover, and how much they’ll share with one another once the game is out.
Songbringer is coming to PC, Xbox One, and PS4 this summer.