It’s here! Nine months after its initial concept, Music Island has arrived on the Xbox Live Indie Games market! That’s right, it is now available for 240 MS Points ($3)! So put down what you’re doing, turn on that Xbox, and give it a go! There’s a trial version to dip your feet in, or the full game for the price of a coffee at Starbucks.
Or! For those of you without an Xbox, or who just can’t wait, try out the demo right here on your PC! Keep in mind it’s best played with an Xbox controller! Keyboard’s fine, but controller’s better.
Music Island, or Project Earthworm as it was code-named, is a music-rhythm game where you are tasked with defending the island’s sole palm tree from advancing sea creatures. Now, there’s a groove rumblin’ about the island, and all the turtles, crabs, fish, and squids are jamming out to the beat as they advance towards the tree! So you, the masked protagonist, cast the proper spells on these guys right as they land on the beat. Miss it, and there goes your chance! You take a hit, and that little fish keeps on getting closer and closer.
Started back in July of 2011, four of the first members of Thunderfish Entertainment got together to create the flagship game: Project Earthworm. With producer Justin Britch at the helm, programmer Brian MacIntosh ready to code things up, designer/artist Jacob Anderson juggling two roles, and sound guy Bryan Ploof (myself) tapping on the meeting room’s desk, the team was set. As co-founders, Justin and I brought the concept of a single-screen, circle-shaped, music game to the table, and let the design ideas start flowing.
Weekly meetings continued until November, when the game entered its feature-lock, and was submitted to XBLIG for the first time. We were new to the process, and didn’t know what to expect. That said, it wasn’t much of a surprise when we were rejected for the first time due to Xbox specific bugs. We fixed those and moved on. However, for the next 4 months, the rejection process continued. This aggravated the team more and more, but luckily Brian stayed optimistic and fixed the bugs. There was one point where we considered completely reverting back to an old build, from our finalized WAV engine back to the MP3 engine which contained sync issues, which are no bueno for a music game.
The Sunday before heading off to GDC however, we received the notification that Music Island had been approved! A very proud smile and a relieved “Finally!” flashed across all of our faces. And so not to get mixed up in all the big GDC news, we held off on our release, did a little publicity with our trailer, and built up to the big moment. And that moment has now come!
So, featuring 6 original songs (5 playable), custom sound effects, all original art (turtles, crabs, squids, oh my!), a WAV-based music engine and its XML encoded songs, some fancy multi-threading for the loading screens, and a little shout-out to Tim Schafer in the default high scores table, Music Island has some fun stuff to offer!
On behalf of the dev team, and of Thunderfish Entertainment, we hope you enjoy the game! Please tell your friends, and let us know what you think in the comments!
– Thunderfish Bryan