Another of the games I picked up in the big Steam bundle a few weeks ago was a game called Symphony. This is a top-scrolling space shooter with a unique approach to building levels. You feed it a music file from your computer and it builds a level with monster waves timed to the flow of the music. Soft period in the song, fewer enemies. Hectic period, tons of enemies. It's an interesting idea and I like listening to music so I gave it a go. The game is ok, but it has one fatal flaw that's kept me from getting hooked and I probably won't play it again: difficulty levels.
Having variable difficulty levels makes a lot of sense in a game, I think. You want people with poor motor skills, slow reaction time, or just a lack of desire to 'try hard' to be able to have fun and make progress in your game. You want hardcore people to have a challenge that really pushes them as far as they want to go. Symphony has 6 difficulty levels which seems like it should be a pretty reasonable spectrum of difficulty, and I suspect they cover most people with them. The problem is you can't access the harder difficulties without playing for a fair amount of time on an easier one first. I needed to play something like 15 songs on difficulty 2 in order to unlock difficulty 3 which is still way too easy for me. I'm pretty good at these sorts of games so it's likely I want to be playing on difficulty 5 and maybe even difficulty 6. But the prospect of needing to play another 30 songs or 4ish hours to get to the difficulty I want is daunting. I have so many games I want to play that the idea that I might need to spend a couple days playing a game I don't want to play in the hopes of unlocking a game I do want to play is a little silly. I'll go play a game I want to play the whole time, thanks.
This seems like such a stupid design decision. Why do I need to prove I'm good at a game before I can play it on hard? Trust me to know how good I am and make the decision on my own. Especially in a single player game with no DLC! You have nothing to gain by locking me out of the harder difficulties. I guess you have nothing to lose either since I've already bought the game. I guess all I can really do is shell out some bad publicity to the few people who read this. So consider this bad publicity. I don't recommend buying Symphony. It's an interesting idea but a flawed execution.