With One Hand Clapping, the Americans of Bad Dream Games offer us an original title where it is not your dexterity or your reflexes that will be called upon but the accuracy of your voice and your sense of rhythm. Published by the German studio Handy Games, now owned by THQ Nordic, this 2D puzzle and platform game was able to stand out and win several titles in 2018 (Indiecade, International Play Summit, USC Game Expo Jam City). Expected for 2021 on PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch and Stadia, he is available in early access on Steam since June 10, 2021 at € 9.99. Intrigued, we wanted to see for ourselves the potential of the software, so we took a little honey to clear our throats and we threw ourselves in the bath.
The little character you control, with his big dark eyes, begins his adventure in a city where strange, unsafe creatures roam in the dark. If he seems very weak in this universe, he knows on the other hand use your voice to spread the light and repel the beings of the shadows. It thus creates passages and can advance until it manages to leave the city and reach the desert where a winged friend will guide him.
He will indicate to him the melodies to reproduce in order to be able to create a path.
In order to assist him, the latter will indeed indicate to him the melodies to reproduce in order to be able to create a path. However, beware of the wind, which is quite violent in the region, but it can also be of significant help. He will then cross the mountains where other joking beings will support him to continue his journey by reproducing the rhythms that you indicate to them. It will also have to walk through caves and get to the forest with incessantly on his heels the darkness he seems to flee.
The story that Bad Dream Games tells us is quite obscure, we do not yet really know the ins and outs, if there are any, but its magical atmosphere works. Your voice, which echoes in passing in your ears, being put in the spotlight, background music knows how to be discreet while proving to be efficient and pleasant. Better to have anyway a minimum musical ear since you have to reproduce certain tones and know how to mark the rhythm. However, it is not about being perfectly fair, more or less remains acceptedfortunately for us. However, this is not not always so obvious and that certain passages will have been able to make us rage by dint of having to start again several times before managing to cross them.
you have to reproduce certain tones and know how to mark the rhythm.
This difficulty is certainly linked to our vocal ease, but also unfortunately to a not always very precise reaction from the sensor. As a result, it is not necessarily easy to move up the treble and down to the bass smoothly, which is problematic when this is what is required of us. To draw an ascending path for example, or to place the starting point of this one, sudden reactions are problematic. What’s more, better to have calm around you, otherwise if your microphone picks up any sound, it will compromise the whole application you put in maintaining a correct note. Conversely, those around you could be bothered by your vocalizations or at least wonder what is happening to you. Better to prevent them.
On the screen, the game displays simple colorful 2D graphics with a charming aesthetic. The few texts are translated into French and one hand with three keys is enough to move left, right and to jump. Impossible on the other hand to run, although on a few occasions we would have liked to be able to do so. But as the title and our titles remind, what counts above all is to have “A headset, a microphone, a voice”. It is effectively by doing vary the tone emitted by your vocal cords as you draw the paths that you can then take, avoiding the obstacles that interrupt your creation, but also as you move objects, turn on lights, manipulate elevators, unlock passages by reproducing sounds …
An adventure that will have marked us.
Besides its musical aspect, One Hand Clapping is also a platform game where you have to move following a certain rhythm, as well as a puzzle game. It is indeed necessary to discover the mechanisms which allow you to move forward and which generally take the form of rhythmic puzzles as with the mountain maestros who slap their stomachs to activate or deactivate platforms. So you not only need to sing in time, but also type in time, as well as skip in time. Finally, exploring every nook and cranny of each level has in store for you some hidden surprises, like little music-loving foxes to collect. The title, which seems for the moment unfinished, thus occupied us a little less than 5 hours to use our voice in an adventure that will have marked us.