Friday, 24 May 2024

A City Sleeps: Harmonix’s Unique Take on Shoot-em-Ups

A City Sleeps

Harmonix, the renowned game development studio behind hits like Dance Central and Fantasia, surprised everyone with their latest game announcement. A City Sleeps is a departure from their usual style, combining the excitement of classic shoot-em-ups with the studio’s musical heritage. Having had the opportunity to witness an extensive demo of the game, I am thrilled to share my insights on this unique and promising title.

Embracing the Unusual Premise

In A City Sleeps, players follow the story of Poe, a young woman who awakens in her hometown of SanLo to discover that its residents are trapped in a curse-induced slumber. As a dream exorcist, Poe takes it upon herself to free her city by navigating through the nightmarish dreamscape of each individual.

A Harmonious Blend of Music and Action

The gameplay of A City Sleeps features a classic side-scrolling shoot-em-up format. Armed with her koto sword, Poe engages in intense combat, firing off attacks and slashing enemies while dodging a relentless barrage of bullets. Unlike many shooters where a single hit spells defeat, Poe has some flexibility with a hit box on her torso that can withstand multiple shots.

The integration of music into the battles is where A City Sleeps truly shines. Each object on the screen, including Poe and her enemies, contribute their own sounds to the musical soundscape. As a result, the entire stage pulsates to the rhythm of the music. Poe’s attacks are perfectly synchronized with the beat, with each track offering a unique musical experience – from rapid-fire machine gun-style beats to slow and irregular patterns. Every stage has its distinctive audio and visual aesthetic, providing a fresh and captivating experience with every level.

Strategy Unleashed: Ghosts and Idols

A City Sleeps adds an additional layer of strategy through the inclusion of ghosts and idols. Defeating enemies fuels three different types of ghosts, each with its own style. These ghosts can then possess various idols, and the choice of idol determines the kind of assistance Poe receives. The angry ghost, for example, can transform into a helpful machine gun or unleash an area effect blast, depending on the idol. Meanwhile, the mercy ghost offers healing pellets or a periodic area effect blast of healing. The master ghost introduces even more complexity, serving as either a rail gun or an enemy-damaging tripwire that connects Poe and the idol.

With multiple idols in play and enemies swarming the screen, the audio and visual spectacle becomes intense and chaotic – offering a thrilling challenge for players.

Customizable Challenge and High Scores

For hardcore shoot-em-up enthusiasts, Harmonix has thoughtfully included various ways to adjust and tweak the game’s challenge. A City Sleeps offers five difficulty settings, along with the option to further personalize the experience. Players can add curses that introduce additional challenges or talismans that provide assistance. By stringing together enemy kills in quick succession, score multipliers come into play, encouraging players to aim for higher and higher scores.

Release Date and Platform

Crafted using Unity, A City Sleeps is set to release on October 16 on Steam. This game marks a new direction for Harmonix, and I am genuinely intrigued to see how it compares to more traditional shoot-em-ups upon its release.


  • Q: What is A City Sleeps?

  • A: A City Sleeps is a unique shoot-em-up game developed by Harmonix that combines classic gameplay with a musical twist.

  • Q: When will A City Sleeps be released?

  • A: The game is set to release on October 16 on Steam.

  • Q: Can players adjust the game’s difficulty?

  • A: Yes, A City Sleeps offers five difficulty settings and additional customization options to tailor the challenge to individual preferences.


A City Sleeps promises to be a refreshing and engaging addition to the shoot-em-up genre. With its imaginative premise, seamless integration of music, strategic gameplay mechanics, and customizable challenge, Harmonix has crafted a game that offers a unique experience for players. Mark your calendars for October 16 and get ready to embark on an unforgettable journey through the dreamworld of A City Sleeps.

For more information about A City Sleeps and other exciting projects by Harmonix, visit Wqaindia.