Cosmic DJ, from developer Gl33k and publisher Devolver Digital, is a weird and trippy music game that’s also essentially a music sequencing tool.
The basic idea is to press four on-screen buttons in whatever order you like to create your own beat. During each stage, there are several different instruments to choose from to make that beat. Most of the time it’s traditional ones like guitar, bass, or keyboard, but sometimes they’re just bursts of melodious sounds or even a corgi barking. After making enough of a beat with one instrument you move onto the next and after you’ve used several of them enough you can move on to the next stage.
What’s happening on the screen while you’re making the music is what’s truly trippy about Cosmic DJ. Everything happening is just pure weirdness. Sometimes I was assembling a giant space corgi to herd galactic sheep, others I was some sort of spaceship flying through corridors and blasting lasers at enemies.
Little of what you do actually results in anything on screen, however. Bursts of light and color or similar things will occur in time with button presses, but aren’t really interactive. In the spaceship sequence, the ship would fire lasers whenever I made a beat, but it wasn’t like I had to make those lasers hit anything. There’s no halting of progress or any obstacles in your way.
After clearing all the stages the track you just recorded becomes available to upload to music-sharing service Soundcloud. While waiting for mine to encode and upload I was able to take a picture with the iPad’s camera and doodle over it with different stickers, backgrounds, patterns, and other MS Paint sort of tools. I ended up just giving myself a perfectly straight mustache and a sticker of a cheeseburger and soda.
Devolver said Cosmic DJ will be releasing for iOS, Mac and Windows in several months. An early build was released as part of the publisher’s Humble Bundle last year, but you’ll have to wait until later this year for the full version.