Friday, 24 May 2024

A City Sleeps: A Unique Blend of Music and Action

A City Sleeps

Harmonix, the renowned game development studio behind Dance Central and Fantasia, has surprised us with their latest venture – A City Sleeps. This game is a departure from their usual style, combining the excitement of classic shoot-em-ups with Harmonix’s musical expertise. I had the opportunity to witness an extensive demo of the game, and I must say, it left me captivated by its unique premise.

A Tale of Dreams and Nightmares

A City Sleeps revolves around the captivating story of Poe, a young woman who wakes up in her hometown of SanLo only to discover that its residents are under a curse-induced slumber. Luckily, Poe possesses the ability to exorcise dreams, and she embarks on a journey to free her city by confronting the nightmarish dreamscape of each individual.

The Action Unfolds

The gameplay in A City Sleeps takes the form of a classic side-scrolling shoot-em-up. Poe utilizes her koto sword to slash nearby enemies and fires off attacks while dodging a barrage of incoming projectiles. Unlike traditional shooters with a one-hit kill mechanic, Poe has a hit box on her torso that can sustain multiple shots, allowing for more strategic gameplay.

Music as a Key Element

Music plays a crucial role in the game’s battles. Each object on the screen, including Poe and her enemies, contribute their own sounds to the musical soundscape. The entire stage pulsates within this musical framework. Poe’s attacks are synchronized with the beat of the music, with each track offering a unique rhythm – from intense machine gun-like beats to slow and irregular firing patterns. Additionally, each stage in A City Sleeps boasts its own distinct audio and visual aesthetic, ensuring a diverse and immersive experience.

A City Sleeps Gameplay

Strategy and Complexity

The game introduces strategic elements through the inclusion of ghosts and idols. Defeating enemies fuels three different types of ghosts, which can then possess various idols. The placement of each ghost influences the type of assistance they provide. The angry ghost can transform into a helpful machine gun or an area-effect blast, while the mercy ghost offers healing pellets or area-effect healing. The master ghost presents more complex options, such as a rail gun or an enemy-damaging tripwire connecting Poe and the idol. The presence of multiple idols and numerous enemies results in intense and chaotic gameplay, both visually and audibly.

Customizable Challenge

For hardcore shoot-em-up enthusiasts, Harmonix has included various ways to adjust and tweak the game’s difficulty. Five difficulty settings are available, each with the option to further modify the experience by adding curses that make the game more challenging or talismans that make it easier. Score multipliers contribute to the excitement by rewarding players for chaining together enemy kills in quick succession.

Coming Soon to Steam

Crafted using Unity by Harmonix’s talented internal team, A City Sleeps is set to release on Steam in October. This game represents a new direction for the studio, and from what I’ve seen, it promises to be an exceptional addition to the shoot-em-up genre. I’m eagerly anticipating its release and can’t wait to see how it compares to more traditional titles in the genre.


Q: When will A City Sleeps be released?
A: The game is slated for an October release on Steam.

Q: What platform will A City Sleeps be available on?
A: A City Sleeps will be available on Steam.

Q: Can the game’s difficulty be adjusted?
A: Yes, there are five difficulty settings, and players can further customize the challenge by adding curses or talismans.

Q: What is the gameplay style of A City Sleeps?
A: A City Sleeps is a side-scrolling shoot-em-up game with strategic elements and a strong emphasis on music.


As a fan of shoot-em-ups, I am genuinely excited about A City Sleeps. Harmonix’s innovative combination of music and action, along with the game’s captivating storyline, sets it apart from its counterparts. Whether you’re a hardcore shooter enthusiast or simply looking for a unique gaming experience, A City Sleeps promises to deliver an unforgettable adventure. Stay tuned for its release on Steam this October.