Flea Symphony is part of a recent wave of music based games that have making their way onto the App Store. It comes from developers Odd Gentleman, makers of the Xbox Live indie darling, The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom. Now they’ve given us Flea Symphony, an interesting little curio that shows a lot of promise.
Flea Symphony puts you in charge of a Flea Circus. Your role in the act is to get fleas that shoot out of a horn safely into a bucket placed somewhere else on the screen. You navigate your little buddies around the stages with a bunch of different kinds of instruments: You’ll fly, shoot and bounce them around with drums and guitar strings, blow them out of horns and more.
Band on the Run.
The trick with Flea Symphony, is that you have to do everything in the correct order. This is indicated by a musical bar at the top of the screen. As the fleas fly out and interact with the instruments, little drums on the bar light up and give you a musical cue. You have to light up the drums in the right order or else you can’t progress through the level. This means spending a lot of time trying to figure out the right order to use the instruments in (and some have to be used more than once) and also trying to make sense of the game’s logic to boot.
There’s a massive amount of trial and error with this game. The solutions are far from obvious, the mechanics can be difficult to get a handle on, and the scoring system is a bit of a mystery as well. There are a 100 levels, divided between five worlds. You can skip levels if you want, which is nice, but you can’t move on to the next world unless you successfully complete every level of the current world.
Down with noise reduction laws!
This also isn’t a passive game. You have to interact and manipulate some of the instruments while the fleas are shooting around the screen, and quite often the instruments don’t react the way you need them to. We’ve even had times where the instruments wouldn’t do anything at all, or just freeze up while we were using them.
Flea Symphony is a quirky, interesting little game with a lot of imagination driving it. The puzzles and levels have an offbeat, clever atmosphere to them and can be really fun to play through. If you’re willing to put in the time to get a handle on the way this circus works then you’ll have a blast. And most importantly, if the Odd Gentlemen can work out the kinks, none of which are gamekillers but are extremely annoying, then this is a game that can have a very bright and bouncy future.