Soundtracks can be very important in games. They add another element designed to connect the player to their new reality or signal an emotional attachment to one of the characters. Just as with movies and television shows the musical accompaniment to games often goes unnoticed on all but a subconscious or periphery level.
Some games are all about the soundtrack, using the music in the gameplay itself. The obvious examples are rhythm-action titles such as Guitar Hero and Rock Band that would be nothing without the tunes. Inside My Radio could still work without a soundtrack but it would become a simple, boring platformer rather than the gem that is actually is.
Inside My Radio is a freeware title available on Windows. It was created by the TurboDindon team of three developers and a musician as part of the Ludum Dare 23 competition. The whole game took just 48 hours to program using GameMaker. Not that you’d believe it from the highly polished end product. The only thing stopping Inside My Radio from being a paid-for title is its brevity.
The aim of Inside My Radio is to navigate the playable character – a green boombox wearing headphones – from beginning to end. The setting is, as the title suggests, a radio, complete with transistors, coils, and hanging wires. Inside My Radio is essentially a platformer, but it’s not your typical platforming affair.
The differentiator is the addition of a beat and a musical soundtrack integral to the gameplay. While you can move your character left and right freely, any more complex maneuvers have to be timed to coincide with the beat. These maneuvers include dashes, jumps, wall-hops, and downward smashes.
You start out being given instructions on how to proceed through the game. The controls are kept simple, with a combination of the arrow keys and the Ctrl key getting you through. However what isn’t so simple is keeping up with the beat throughout. Single jumps are generally fine but when you have a tricky dash to perform in which failure means starting that section over things can get a little trickier.
There is the option to turn on a visual representation of the beat that will give you a cue for when to move (press F1 to toggle this on and off). This somewhat defeats the purpose of the game though, and Inside My Radio is much more fun if you tune in to the beat in order to play the game properly. I actually recommend wearing headphones for the most fulfilling experience.
Every move and maneuver you make adds to the overall soundtrack of the game, and it is this aspect which kept me playing. Once you have finished the game you’ll probably want to go back and play through again in order to gain a more satisfactory aural experience. Or perhaps that only applies to the anally-retentive folk such as myself.
This is by no means an easy game, and it gets quite difficult quite quickly with puzzles requiring some measure of dexterity and hand-eye coordination cropping up early. Thankfully it never gets too difficult or frustrating enough that you’ll want to stop playing and uninstall the game.
If your character fails to time a jump correctly and perishes as a result you’ll be transported back to one of the strategically placed save points scattered liberally throughout. And you have an unlimited supply of green boomboxes to fall back on.
This game isn’t all about the soundtrack, although this quintessential aspect obviously dominates proceedings. Inside My Radio is also visually appealing, with a moody color scheme and tight corridors to traverse. The simple 2D view gives a real sense of being inside a piece of consumer technology and really adds to the atmosphere of the whole thing.
Inside My Radio is a cracking game that any fan of platformers or rhythm games should consider playing. It can be downloaded for Windows here. For lovers of both music and gaming (as all right-minded people are) it’s a perfect blend of the two. Its quality is made more incredible by the manner in which it was created; both the speed and the generic software used.
If you play, or have already played, Inside My Radio then let us know what you think in the comments section below. We’re always pleased to hear feedback, both positive and negative.