Piano Games

Piano Games - Tinkling the ivories six ways from Sunday with our best Piano Games

How many different ways are the to play the piano? Well, if you're talking strictly in the literal sense, then one: you sit in front of a piano and you play with the eight fingers and two thumbs that are afforded to you as a result of you being from the species which you hail from. If you're talking about how many different ways there are to play piano music, then the issue becomes a little more complex since there are thousands of different playing techniques, tempos, style instructions, and other variables. We need a question that's a happy medium, and this question comes in the form of "pow many ways can you play a piano in the flash-game world?", to which the answer is currently "a fair few, but only a selection of these are actually entertaining". And so we come to point of us presenting five top-quality piano games here at Gig Monkey, which you will find are the cream of the crop of this genre.

Drop a Beat Giuseppe

It isn't very often that the aim of a game is to do something badly, but this is exactly what Drop a Beat Giuseppe asks of you. You take the role of a piano player performing in a concert hall in front of a crowd, but this is not a crowd that is pleased. Why are they not pleased? Because the whole premise of the game is to mash the keys on the left and the right side of your keyboard to make the piano move left and right as the audience throw various items at you to express their dissatisfaction with your horrendous performance. The idea is to use the spacebar to deflect as many objects as you possibly can back into the crowd, with bonuses being issued for multiple deflections of the same object if it should happen to be thrown at you again.

In Drop a Beat Giuseppe you have a unique control system that encourages the ordinarily ridiculous behaviour of randomly mashing the keys on your keyboard in order to move your character and his piano in different directions. Making things more interesting is the fact that you get to go on the leader board if you score highly enough. Drop a Beat Giuseppe a simple game with an original concept that no one has tried in this manner before, an achievement for which Major Bueno should be commended.

Mission to Magmanon

If you've ever played a tower defense game before you may be aware that the genre has quite a bit of potential for innovation. You've got Bloons Tower Defense and Kingdom Rush holding the top prizes for their distinctive takes on the genre, and Mission to Magmanon is up there with the best of them as well. The reason why this game deserves recognition is its defense-style format which manages to incorporate the use of music and a piano into the interface (make no mistake, this is a mean feat to accomplish).

Your mission is to rescue a bunch of scientists and the means is to defend your treble clef against notes that are advancing on the stave that runs across the screen. Different notes of varying timing values will make their way from the right of the screen towards your treble clef; you must destroy these notes by using your mouse to shoot the correct notes with the correct timings by using the virtual keyboard layout below. Eight notes require at LEAST a mouse click long enough to fill up the timing bar to the 8th-note level, whole notes require the mouse button to be pressed long enough to fill the power bar up to the whole note level, and so on. If you don't get enough power into your shot, then the notes will multiply and you'll be left with more to deal with.

This is yet another unique interface that proves the tower defense format is fertile soil for great ideas, and Mission to Magmanon is a challenging yet hugely addictive example of this sweet, sweet fertility.

Piano Bar

A more literal adaptation of the "piano game" format can be seen in Piano Bar, a game that merely requires you to play notes that appear on the screen which is taken up by a musical stave, a heart-shaped progress meter, and a depiction of the girl you are trying to seduce through brilliant piano playing just below the music. Various songs will play and music notes will slide across the staves. These notes have corresponding keyboard keys that allow you to play them, but this should only be done when each note passes between the red dotted lines on the left of the screen. Each accurate note you play in time rewards you with the heart meter filling up a little more which denotes victory when it is full.

The design of the game leaves a fair bit to be desired; it is a simply flash-based layout with a little creativity and not much else. The format is also a little lacklustre and predictable. It's still pretty entertaining however, but you may be better off looking at games such as Music Catch if you want to hear a bit of quality piano playing and actually be challenged to a bit of skills-based reaction gaming which goes a little beyond this games game's easy, normal, and free playing modes.

Virtual Keyboard

Virtual Keyboard is pretty much a game that does exactly what it says in the title: it provides you with a platform to tinker away on a few ivories using nothing but your computer keyboard to do so. There are no gameplay formats here, no high scores, no puzzles, or any other kind of goal-based incentives, just pure piano-playing purpose and a few demos/lessons to get you underway.

The design is basic and is limited just over an octave so you won't be playing any complex pieces. You've got demos which play through pieces such as the Mario, Kirby, and Zelda themes automatically, as well as the lesson mode which plays through them slowly to give you a chance to learn them. Virtual Keyboard is more of a casual note-playing experience that could aid someone in song-writing (Step Seq. is better for this purpose however) or just passing five minutes on a lazy afternoon. The keyboard overlay is also helpful in telling you which notes correspond to which keyboard keys as well.

Repeat the Melody

Another example of a title telling you almost everything that you need to know about a game, Repeat the Melody consists of a simple screen with a small section of piano on it. There appears to be no score or purpose to the game aside from the game simply playing notes and you having to repeat them by inputting the melody you think you heard and pressing the play button. You input the desired notes with the mouse and also use the mouse to press the various buttons like play, pause, or the 'next' button.

Make no mistake about it, Repeat the Melody is a very simple game without much flash or polish. It's quite addictive however in the way that fellow repeat-after-me games like Simon Extreme are. The number of notes are limited however and this game isn't very powerful in terms of composition potential, so it's just a bit of Simon-says fun when it comes down to it, as opposed to truly useful music-making tools such as Apple's GarageBand.