Musiac Box is a unique combination of a puzzle game and a musical toy that will challenge your brain and delight your ears all at the same time. Using tiles that represent individual musician's portions of a song, arrange the Tetris-like pieces on the grid and listen to the results. It's an extraordinarily simple premise for a game and the "match the tiles to the melody" puzzle solving is surprisingly enjoyable, even for non-music lovers.
The story, though light and hardly necessary, begins with your grandfather calling you to his place promising a spectacular birthday gift. When you arrive you find his "musaic box" along with note telling you to seek outlines for compositions that can be reconstructed with the box. You'll scour the rooms of this dusty old house searching for pieces of outlines hidden all over the place, turning over items and assembling a few simple machines along the way. You'll also be treated to tons of music-related facts as your cursor slides over the scenery before you. The variety of songs you'll assemble is great, featuring classical music from the likes of Mozart and Strauss to well-known folk songs and much more.
Once you find pieces and assemble a composition, head over to the musaic puzzle screen to start the show. At the bottom of the screen is a player that will sound the basic tune of the song you're attempting to compose. There are four musicians, each with his or her window at a corner of the screen and each corresponding to a block color. The columns of the grid can contain only one of each color, which makes sense, as a musican can only play one thing at a time. Listen to the sample, click on a few block pieces to hear their sounds, then start arranging. You'll listen to small snippets of songs over and over again as you try and piece together the whole tune, and the single-click system for listening to sounds works wonders.
You'll have to use a mix of spatial logic and your musical ear to solve puzzles in this game, sometimes more of the former than the latter. The unlimited-use hint button will highlight pieces that are placed in the wrong column, but its up to you to find where to orient them on the Y-axis. A little trial and error goes a long way.
Analysis: Music games always strike a chord with me (yeah, sorry for the pun), as the simple reward of a perfectly arranged song is pleasing on many different levels. Musaic Box taps into this by breaking pieces of music into four parts (instruments), distributing them across a grid, arranging them in block patterns, and tasking you with re-assembling the whole mess. It's great to sit and fiddle with tiles (yes, another pun, but I'm not sorry for that one) and work out both visually and aurally what needs to be changed, tweaking as you go along. When you finish a puzzle a grand sense of accomplishment settles over you.
On the not-so-bright side, Musaic Box offers little replay value (although the "create a tune" unlockable is interesting) and practically no incentive to keep playing other than seeing what kind of music you'll be creating next. The game's adventure/hidden object elements are poorly developed but they do serve as a nice break between puzzle levels.
Despite falling short of bending game genres. Musaic Box is riveting for the several hours you'll spend playing through it. Creating famous songs by arranging blocks is surprisingly fun and offers just the right amount of challenge.