Musaic Box Review and Guide
If you’re looking for a different gaming experience on your Android or BlackBerry smartphone then you shouldn’t miss Musaic Box. This inventive title combines hidden object gameplay with musical puzzles and it looks gorgeous.
We’ll start off with a review of the game and then run through some handy tips and hints.
The basic premise sees you visit your grandfather’s house and embark on a kind of treasure hunt. You have to uncover clues in the beautifully drawn, but crammed full of stuff, rooms of the old house. The hidden object gameplay is pretty straightforward and you simply tap on various objects to get a text description. Sometimes you’ll uncover a clue and some of them are hidden behind things so that you need move other objects out of the way.
Clues mostly take the form of fragments of sheet music and once you have all the fragments for a particular piece you move to the musical puzzle interface. The tunes are all familiar, or at least they will be to most people, and they take you on a kind of musical journey through the classic origins of many famous ditties from Yankee Doodle to Old McDonald.
The tune is broken into tiles and you can play each individual grouping by tapping on it. You then have to fit them together on the puzzle board. Different elements of each tune are color-coded so there is a visual aspect to it as well, but you’ll need to listen to the musical fragments to put them together correctly. Once you have them in place you can play the music box and if the full tune plays correctly then you have solved that puzzle. There are hints in case you are struggling and wrongly placed tiles are highlighted so it isn’t too challenging.
Since you need one of each color of tile in each column the early puzzle boards are quite simple. The groupings of tiles are almost like Tetris blocks so just figuring out how to fit them together is enough with the early puzzles. As the boards get bigger and the tunes more complex, you’ll need to listen and really think about the tune.
Gorgeous Style and Sound
Musaic Box is a very good-looking game. The menus, the background art and the music box animations are all nicely produced and they tie together well. The individual rooms are very detailed and there are plenty of objects to explore. This side of the game is typical point-and-click hidden object fare so it’s not terribly exciting, but the musical puzzles really elevate the game.
The sound quality is also excellent and the way the tunes are layered is very clever. It should definitely appeal to any classical music fan. Even the animation of the music box and the effects that sparkle as you get a tune correct are beautifully realized.
Well Worth Buying
You can get Musaic Box for $1.49 on sale in the Android Market and $1.99 at BlackBerry App World. At that price it is well worth splashing out on. It is a gentle, charming title that proves quite relaxing to play. The back story is a bit weak, and really just serves to hold things together, because the unusual musical puzzles are the real star of the show. Musaic Box won a design award at the Independent Game Festival back in 2009 and you’ll see why when you try it. It’s nice to see game like this appearing on mobile platforms. However, you do need somewhere quiet to play it so you can hear the music and the hidden object part could prove awkward if your touch screen is too small.
Tips for Searching
Musaic Box works just like a traditional point-and-click adventure so make sure you click on everything in each room. You will sometimes have to move objects or turn things on or off in order to uncover a new clue so look for sequences that might reveal something new.
You can open things, turn lamps on and off and move things to reveal fragments of sheet music. Sometimes you will need to put something together. The text that appears when you click on an object often offers hints on what you should be doing so pay attention. You’ll also see sparkles in some areas that highlight where there is something to be revealed.
Remember that sometimes pieces of the score will be spread across different rooms. You can also unlock pieces by completing existing puzzles in the music box.
Once you have found everything in a room, the game won’t necessarily prompt you to move on so remember that you can tap the top right icon with the number on it to move to another room whenever you like. The number up here tells you how many clues remain to be found in each room so if it hits 0 then move onto another room with a number of clues still to uncover.
Solving Musical Puzzles
Remember that each column (up and down) should only have one of each color of tile in it. The different colors represent different instruments. The pink and orange tiles are the easiest to work out as they will normally contain the main element of the melody.
If one of your pieces is placed in the puzzle board incorrectly you can use the Hint button and it will go dark so that you know you have to move it. Obviously if you place all the pieces in and the puzzle doesn’t complete, you know you need to make changes.
You need to listen to the pieces to understand how they fit together to make the tune. If it’s an unfamiliar tune then it will help to listen to the complete tune elsewhere first. Once you have the order it’s simply a matter of fitting the shapes together in the puzzle board. On some of the boards you can figure out the placement simply by ensuring that you don’t double up on any color in a single column.