Hands on with SongArc, the upcoming music jam game for Windows Phone that will be the ultimate time killer

Windows Phone Central first brought you the news about SongArc, a music game that’s reminiscent of Guitar Hero and Audio Surf that will utilize your stored music for exciting gameplay. The game is the brainchild of Turtle Games, who make the popular game Rum Run and András Velvárt, who is the mind behind SurfCube 3D Browser and is an extension of the AppCampus project.

Tonight, we can give you an exclusive first look at the game in action.

We’ll be forthright: this game has all the makings for a hit arcade game on your phone. For one, it’s very well polished in the graphics department, with an eye catching and intuitive UI. Next up, you can bring your own music to the game—who doesn’t want that? Finally, if your song isn't programmed for play, you can just make a “sheet” for it and you’re good to go.

Music, fun and creativity? All checked off.

As you can see in our video above, the game is simple to understand: you play your favorite song and tap the arc when the “notes” (colored shapes) cross the barrier. By holding down for extended notes or tapping for short staccato ones, users have a rainbow of colors to access for visual cues. You can even quickly tilt the device for bass/drum effects, which adds yet another method for interaction.

Toss on a pair of headphones and firing up your favorite tunes with this game? Awesome. Yes, SongArc could be the next big thing for Windows Phone and is perfect for when you’re on the train, airplane or just want to make your music much more interesting.

Do you want in on the beta? Head to the developer’s Facebook page here and follow their directions!

Stay tuned to Windows Phone Central as this game nears release—we think you’re going to love it.

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • so cool
  • This looks really cool! I love rhythm games. As someone who listens to a lot of obscure music, though, I'm not a big fan of having to make my own charts to play them. It's understandable, but do they have a system similar to Audiosurf that makes up its own chart?
  • No, we don't. Two reasons: first, Windows Phone does not allow you to access the music itself, just the metadata. Second, which is the more important: we want the players to get close to the music, and play the actual song, not just play another game along with it. AudioSurf is great, but the way you play has little to do with the actual melody. The whole concept of SongArc is to make you feel like you're part of the band, to make you feel like you are actually contributing to the music. If you've ever played a game like the console version of Guitar Hero or Rock Band, you will know what I mean. It is simply not possible to automatically create this experience with today's technology.
  • Thanks for the explanation. I used to be in love with Guitar Hero, Rock Band and DDR. I like playing rhythm games that are more in-tune with the music like GH and RB, but the big draw of that was being lazy and playing someone else's charts :P Regardless, I'm getting your game and I'll find some fun songs to chart out.
    It seems odd that WP doesn't allow access to the song's spectrum data though. Flash had this function back in CS3 and it was fun to come up with ways to incorporate that data in a game. I've never developed for Windows Phone -- mostly because I don't have Windows 8 -- so I wasn't aware of that limitation.
  • I think you will love SongArc then :) as for the number of sheets, we expect it to be low at launch, but we are doing everything in our power to have a healthy grow. Yeah, it is painful that we can't access the spectrum data or anything else. Even though the quality of hand-crafted Sheets is impossible to match, we could have used the data for making the Sheet Creation process easier.
  • Awesome! Submitted my request! Love to beta test :)
  • I was hoping this would be like that Zune HD game, the one that was like a roller coaster combined with your own music.
  • You're thinking of AudioSurf!  Miss that game...
  • That game was great
  • No, SongArc is different. With SongArc you actually play the music instead of just playing along the music.
  • Yea I love the game so far just no sheets yet a little more difficult than I thought but great none the less
  • When I read Audiosurf, I darn near lost it.... But then the video was the ultimate buzzkill.
  • Common, any app like this is a great addition to the WP app store! We need all the awesome apps we can get. I wonder if this will support 512MB devices
  • Thanks for the support! Yes, SongArc works on 512MB devices.
  • Awesome! good job developer!
  • Same. I was so excited, when I first heard about this. I know its a completely different game, but lets all be honest here, audiosurf looks and is way cooler.
  • Ooh! This game looks interesting. Almost like guitar hero/tap tap for windows phone. I can't wait to try it, especially if it's free.
  • Makes me wish AudioSurf would return to the platform.
  • Very cool. I'll definitely be getting this.
  • Audiosurf need to come back! This game looks OK, but its no AudioSurf.
  • No, it is not. We like to think that SongArc is better for music enthusiasts... :)
  • So Rock Snobs only then?
  • Last time I checked "music enthusiasts" included more than just "Rock Snobs" :) ... it also works great with pop, hip-hop, jazz, blues, classical music and almost anything that deserves to be called music.
  • For audio game fans you can also check out "osu! WP" based on a popular game from the Nintendo DS.
  • OFF TOPIC : 6tag is available in the store now. SWEEEEEEEEEET. :D
  • Thanks for the heads up!
  • No problem. Time to unleash the beast!
  • Not what is expected but after playing a few songs its not bad, nothing will til audiosurf.. Which is supposedly comin to windows phone for like two years now... But with a little know how any song can be great to play or for me creating is fun for just playing along with the songs
  • Looks awesome. There is a game simular to this on IOS named Smule.  @Daniel was that you actually playing the game or just moderating? I kept waiting for you to stress-up a bit at the game when it got more challenging but you never broke stride. lol.
  • Lol, that was me...narrating and playing ay the same time, took like 5 takes!
  • It's not easy to make this look easy - welcome to the club, Daniel! :)
  • Finally! It's about time a music game came along! Definitely going for the beta!
  • Bad Religon! Rad!
  • 7.8 ?
  • We plan to support WP7 at launch. Still, first generation devices may not have optimal framerate all the time.
  • Kind of sucks that you have to follow them on Facebook/Twitter to join the beta. I don't use Facebook really, and I don't have a Twitter account, but I'd love to beta test the game nonetheless.
  • The way Xbox Music handles my media? No thanks. I don't want to hear any skipping and bad encodes. >_>
  • My big question for this is will it support Xbox Music downloaded music (DRMed stuff), I imagine there's no way it can so most of my music from the last 2 years won't be playable? I'd love to be wrong here!
  • Yes, and here's were the storage model chosen for WP hits a brick wall :(
  • It's not really a storage model issue, it's that Xbox Music doesn't provide a way for apps to have DRMed access to media files. I understand why as there'd be concerns over said apps intentionall decrypting or copying the files to remove the DRM, but there should be some way to provide read only access to the audio or something.
  • Hi Jay,
    I am happy to say you're wrong then :) SongArc works great regardless where you got your music from, whether it is DRM-protected from XBox Music, DRM-free MP3 purchased or ... erm ... some other source - as long as it is in your Music Library. SongArc does not analyse the music itself, but relies on your fellow players to create "Sheets" that everybody else can play with. This model works great in games like Frets On Fire or even Rock Band, and we're hoping we can bring it to success here as well.
  • That is fantastic news, I can't wait to start playing it and creating song sheets in that case, always available for beta testing ;)
  • Dude I want it!
  • This will be a must have app/game for me. I hope there will be a huge archive in the end.
  • We certainly plan to get there as soon as possible...
  • MAKE SURE THIS GAME IS ALSO AVAILABLE FOR WINDOWS 7.8 PHONES! Like lumia 710. My level of frustration is super high. I will soon throw my phone to the wall! Stupid Microsoft, forget about windows 7.8 phones, where are all the new apps/games. It's always only available on windows 8 phones. SHlT!
  • Its easier to create games for wp8 way more APIs available than 7.8 takes little to know to time to create awesome apps, he also mentions atvlaunch it will be available to windows phone 7 users
  • Got it.  I'm checking this out with my own music though.  Seems well made.
  • Why wouldn't you be forthright?
  • How do you make stars?