Here's a rhythm game powered entirely by chill vibes

Here's a cute game coming this week: Melatonin, a rhythmic indie that is for all appearances powered entirely by chill vibes and doodles of pizza. It's composed of miniature rhythm games united by the overall aesthetic and dreamlike themes, but also by an interesting twist: It doesn't have the overlays you'd expect from a rhythm game.

Rather than the genre-ubiquitous overlays, Melatonin "uses animations and sound cues to keep you on beat without any intimidating overlays or interfaces." It's always interesting when a game throws out the conventions of a genre, especially when they're so entrenched you'd be hard-pressed to find games without them. I'd say that intrusive, stressful timing indicators and overlays are just that for the rhythm genre.

Melatonins minigames and environments are hand-drawn, colorful, and intended to harmonize with the music. They certainly have a unified aesthetic, drawing on a pastel palette rich with purples, greens, and blues.

Plot-wise, Melatonin is about the relationship between dreams and reality. It'll unveil more and more about the protagonist, and his story, as the night's dreams go on and connect to waking events.  "Harmonize through a variety of dreamy levels containing surprising challenges, hand-drawn art, and vibrant music," says the game description.

Melatonin will take place over 20 levels split between five chapters. Each level will introduce a new piece of music. There'll also be an unlockable hard mode if that's your jam, or a practice mode to guide you along and "plenty of assist features if you’re feeling lost." It'll have a built-in level editor, which I think we all know is standard practice by now for many rhythm games, but still—customizable features are always a treat in an indie.

You can find Melatonin on Steam, where it will release December 15th, 2022. You can also watch a nice long gameplay explainer either embedded below or on YouTube.

Jon Bolding is a games writer and critic with an extensive background in strategy games. When he's not on his PC, he can be found playing every tabletop game under the sun.