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Compose musical attacks in this rhythm RPG

And a diorama I want to live in

a character wearing plaid shorts and high socks looks into the distance. they stand against a white background. Image: Sword of Symphony/Stephen Ddungu
Ana Diaz (she/her) is a culture writer at Polygon, covering internet culture, fandom, and video games. Her work has previously appeared at NPR, Wired, and The Verge.

Games with the best fighting mechanics tend to have a rhythm. As a player parries, dodges, and swings their sword, it’s easy to get into a groove that matches the opponents you face. The RPG Sword of Symphony takes this to the next level by adding classic rhythms to oh-so-smooth sword swings, as you fight off enemies inspired by musical notation.

We have musical battles and more in Cool WIP, Polygon’s weekly roundup of eye-catching clips and screenshots of works in progress. Each week, the Polygon staff scours the internet for the most interesting games still under construction, to give you a sampler of the coolest up-and-coming projects.

Read on to check out a charming diorama game with stunning environments and the most excited zombie you’ve ever seen. There are also a few other goodies as well, like an in-depth thread on how one developer made the silliest rag-doll physics and a really neat bridge-building tool.

The smoothest melody you’ll ever see

If you happen to love video game content on TikTok, you might have seen the musically driven RPG, Sword of Symphony. Developer Stephen Ddungu posted a clip showing a “rest variant” enemy based off musical notation on Friday. The video shows what appears to be a perfect composition, one that marries gameplay and concept. While it looks like it’s an especially fun play for a musician, its smooth and rhythmic fighting paired with a unique soundtrack puts it high on my list of anticipated releases. You can follow updates about the game on Ddungu’s Twitter account as well as on the game’s website.

I’m ready to pack it all up and travel to this fictional town

Sometimes I see a game environment that stops my scrolling and allows me to take in the scene. This scene from Nick Carver is from a WIP called Spy-O-Ramas which, according to Carver, will be an “exploration game set in a series of interactive dioramas.” Carver posted one of its vibrant scenes, and it didn’t disappoint. The curved lines of the building and pink color scheme just lend a sense of whimsy and charm to this town that made me want to sit down and drink a cup of coffee there. There is no release date, but you can catch updates on Carver’s Twitter account.

This zombie is just thrilled to see you

Typically, I associate zombies with slow, brainless movements, but this animation from indie developer Vin Hill brings new life to the monsters. In the clip, we can see a pixelated zombie trying to break down a fence and reach another character. The contrast between the crunchy pixels and smooth background makes for an eye-catching visual style. The clip is for a WIP called Long Gone and you can catch updates on Hill’s Twitter page.

Rag-doll physics unpacked

A developer who goes by Wabbaboy posted an in-depth tutorial for how they approached making the physics in their game, Sorceress. While there are details on the nuts and bolts for developers, the video is just a fantastic compilation showing off the physics in a great supercut of goofy test-dummy shenanigans. As Wabbaboy explains, the characters’ bones stay in place but react using animations making for a fun effect. You can check out the thread and Wabbaboy’s other work on their Twitter account.

Build and bend bridges at your leisure

We love a good game development tool here on Cool WIP. In this clip, developer Joyen shows off a procedural bridge-building tool. Not only can it be used to pave a bridge, but you can curve it as well. As they demo it, you can see the bricks and architecture perfectly flex to the new shape. It’s a little thing, but it’s all in the details.

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