Symphonia - Philemon playing his violin
Games,  Review

Symphonia review

Released in June of 2020, Symphonia looked like the perfect game for me. Beautiful art, fantastic soundtrack and it’s a 2D platformer. It has all the requirements of a perfect game for me, but for some reason, I never took the time to pick it up and give it a go. That’s changed now; I finally decided it was time and, wow, what a game! I’m amazed that it is a student project because it is so polished.

In Symphonia, play as violinist Philemon who is on a quest to bring music back to the world. Run, jump and fling yourself around to activate the machine once more. Symphonia is combat-free, so you have time to stop and enjoy the landscape or play a few bars on the violin.

Gameplay

Symphonia is a simple 2D platformer with the ability to run, jump and use your bow to fling up to platforms. Your violin comes in handy to unlock doors and more. The controls are responsive and never felt like they were getting in the way of the game, though I did scratch my head a bit when working out how the fling ability worked. Initially, I didn’t realise it was a fling mechanic, so it took a bit of experimenting to understand it. There are some great platforming sequences where you have to jump around the inner clockwork style parts of the machine.

Philemon playing their violin
Philemon playing their violin

There are also collectibles called Music Fragments to find. Of the 200 in the game, I collected 186 which isn’t too bad and gave me the title of Prodigious compositor! They are mostly easy to come across, but, as with most collectibles, some will be hidden or feel just out of reach.

Art and sound design

Symphonia is a gorgeous game! The game appears to be quite inspired by Hollow Knight, but that’s not a bad thing. The different rooms are beautiful and intricate, with something to find wherever you look. The character design is also lovely with our violinist looking very dapper indeed.

Promotional posters of Philemon the legendary musician!
Promotional posters for Symphonia and Philemon the legendary musician!

The sound design in Symphonia is impressive! Olivier Esman has done a fantastic job at creating emotion with the soundtrack. Evoking melancholy and later joy, with ease. The sound effects are wonderful too with all elements catered for. The tap tap tap of Philemon’s feet, the sound of their violin and the chimes of the Music Fragments. It’s obvious to see that a lot of thought has been out into the sound design of Symphonia.

Final thoughts

I knew I’d enjoy Symphonia before playing it, though I didn’t realise how much I would enjoy it. The graphics and sound design are amazing, and I found myself wishing it were longer. It is relatively short but delightful at around 30 mins long with three levels. Fortunately, there are hints that a full version might be happening in the future.

Also, did I mention it’s free? Because it is! Symphonia is a beautiful, combat-free, fun and free to play game! An excellent way to spend some time if you enjoy platformers or lovely art and music. Seriously, just play it!

Want to know more?

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Platforms: PC (Itch.io) and Nintendo Switch
Genre: 2D platformer, adventure

2 Comments

  • Kim

    I think I need to pick this one up! It looks absolutely gorgeous! The art style reminds me a bit of something like Fantasia? Also I love that her hair is a music note 😀 How long do you think it took you to finish the game?

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