Ubisoft Reflections, the studio behind Grow Home and Atomega, has a new indie-styled "music exploration adventure"out today called Ode. The game tells the tale of Joy, a "small blobby creature" who lives to collect fallen stars and spread joy—hence the name, I suppose—across strange alien worlds.
That's not the most specific bit of game description I've ever read, and the launch trailer doesn't do much to really break down what it's all about either. But that's kind of the intent. Ode has no tutorial or guide: Instead, "you’re encouraged to explore its four garden worlds at your own pace," Ubisoft said.
"Ode lets you experiment in open environments where everything reacts to you. As you collect the orb-like fallen stars scattered throughout each level, you’ll be able to throw them, attract them, and even use them to alter Joy’s form, assuming different shapes to reach new areas," Ubisoft sort-of explained. "By investigating your surroundings and solving Ode’s musical puzzles, you’ll light up the landscape and add new layers to the soundtrack, gradually creating a musical and visual backdrop tailored to your play style."
There is a deeper dive into what it's all about in this Ubisoft UK interview with producer Anne Langourieux, but it's prefaced with a warning that "Ode is a tricky game to explain without spoiling some of its magic," and a suggestion that you play it first and then come back to read about it. With that in mind, I won't spoil any surprises here, but it's probably okay to say that there are four levels to explore plus a bonus level offering "a more traditional game experience," and that each level "has soft challenges [and] musical puzzles which unlock layers and create a symphony of sound."
Ode is available from the Ubisoft Store (no Steam, sorry) and will set you back $5/£4.50.