Sound wasn’t the thing most of us focused on while playing childhood platform games. We waited on visual cues to know when to jump, or grab the feather, or dodge a flaming rock. Yet the audio soundtracks were actually hugely important–the sounds of Super Mario are still crisply imprinted on my brain (anytime I hear the dull bass growl of Bowser, I still react like this).
140, a much-hyped retro platform game by Danish designer Jeppe Carlsen, exploits sound to its fullest potential. The minimalist game–which has no storyline or characters–forces you to sync your movements to an “energetic, yet melancholic” soundtrack. The stripped-down landscape of the game changes along with the noises–keep up with the rhythm and visual cues, and you’re catapulted into different landscapes. The only real inkling of character development? Your avatar changes from a triangle to a square to a circle according to your location.
When 140 is released later this year, you’ll be able to play it with two simple controls–left and right, plus jump. “The challenge lies in syncing up your moves and jumps to the music-controlled elements,” Carlsen told one European gaming blog. “The soundtrack evolves in each level as you progress, introducing new elements for you to tackle, and ultimately leads to intense rhythm-based boss fights.” The game has already won two awards for audio design and technical excellence, though it had humble beginnings as Carlson’s pet project. He and his team have plans to release it this summer. Check it out here.