Embarking on a Melodic Journey: "Mixtape" Unveils a Symphony of Youth and ESCAPE

‘Teddy Perkins’ by 6lack, Ry Cooder and Manuel Galbán’s ‘Santiago’ (from Paris, Texas) and Patti LaBelle singing ‘New Attitude’ … Add to the mix the magic of childhood, the complexities of growing up, and some classic videogame action-adventure, and you’d have the synaesthetic recipe for a coming-of-age title that’s as close as videogames might ever get to being a universal language of music. Out now for PC and Playstation, published by Annapurna Interactive, Mixtape is a musical coming-of-age action adventure developed by Beethoven and Dinosaur, the Seattle-based collective behind ‘The Artful Escape’, a wonderful musical platformer about an aspiring rockstar. Every song on your stereo back when was so much more than a song. It was the soundtrack of your life It was a personal task of rediscovery, and a whirlwind tour through your audio history. We’re used to videogames telling stories with sound, of course – but Mixtape weds narrative and timing to beat and melody with a zeal and a craftsmanship that could well be a new high-water mark for videogame storytelling. Here is the heartstring on which ‘Mixtape’ promises to pluck.

A Symphony of Sound and Soul

Its ‘mixtape’ tracklist is pure wish-fulfilment: Devo, Roxy Music, Lush, The Smashing Pumpkins, Iggy Pop, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Joy Division, and so many other legends, all beating out each other to be the player’s accompaniment. The soundtrack carries much of the game’s story but also propels it along, plunging the player headlong into a world in which music provides both an ESCAPE and a mirror that reflects life’s most bittersweet moments.

Crafting the Perfect Playlist: The Story of "Mixtape"

Set in Northern California, Mixtape tells the story of three friends on the verge of high-school graduation and falling off into the dizzying void of adulthood. Their friendship is the story’s main arc, bookmarked by a final, epic party and interrupted by a mixtape that inadvertently stitches together a series of dream-like vignettes from their shared memories. The game echoes the format and themes of the critically acclaimed Life is Strange series.

Gameplay Harmonized with Heart

‘Mixtape’ invites players into a sensory experience that reflects the wider teenage project: skating through cities, photographing the beauty of an abandoned fun fair, and setting off midnight fireworks. Each activity is a note in the running song of love, friendship and goodbye, of firsts and lasts, of remembering and saying farewell.

An Ode to Adolescent ESCAPADES

Inspired by classic coming-of-age films, Mixtape is truly a love letter to the mark of adolescence – where mischief, music and maturity collide to create the ultimate coming-of-age experience. Both story and gameplay drive a desire to revisit those halcyon days of youth, but more profoundly want players to experience the highs and lows, the initial feelings that make teen drama so powerful. Mixtape gives players a fantastical ESCAPE painting the universal backdrop of growing up.

A Launch into the Future

The anticipation for Mixtape is building ahead of its 2025 release date. You can play Mixtape day one with Xbox Game Pass (Series X|S, Windows) and on PlayStation 5 and Steam. On game day, plug into Mixtape and let the music and story carry you.

What is an ESCAPE?

And in this larger framework, ‘escape’ becomes the central word, beating like a heart, pumping the blood of meaning out to the game’s limbs. It is no longer about literal escape, but about the meaning of the word where the game owes its being to an emotional entreaty, and the emergence of a world built around nostalgia, music and emotion. It is the ESCAPE of the heart, a way to enter into the word’s meaning by leaving the mundane for a crafted world – to rediscover the feeling of being young, to revisit all of those firsts that pass like a whipcrack, and time. It is about sharing music, to recognise the common thread of being human, to be there when the crescendos of a life reach their summits. The gameplay and the storytelling offer so much more than escape because they are built around an imaginative core. If you are tempted to play Mixtape, make sure you know where to press the record button before it ends.

Ultimately, ‘Mixtape’ is a game that invites you to shed your body and live in the mind and, as you balance grip and release, you’ll discover that every note of our lives are worth celebrating.

Jun 10, 2024
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