What is the sound of one hand clapping? Like free-flow vocal warm-ups.
If you vaguely remember this game being released already, you can be forgiven; originally available on itch.io, an earlier version of One Hand Clapping was picked up by famous YouTubers like Markiplier, JackSepticEye, and even PewDiePie back in 2018. Perhaps due to that success, Bad Dream Games was able to grow the game into something bigger and signed on with publisher HandyGames (El Hijo, Through the Darkest of Times). Now, One Hand Clapping graces Steam Early Access and asks players to sing their hearts out to solve puzzles and prance across platforms, one note at a time.
One Hand Clapping’s storyline emerges as players progress in-game with little explained upfront, but one thing is certain: the answer to everything is singing. Need to get around an 0bstacle? Belt out those tunes! Need to create some stairs out of thin air? Open up those pipes! Need to operate a voice-activated lift? Activate that voice! As long as you have a microphone, you can take advantage of these interesting controls — opera training not required.
Although One Hand Clapping does have some controls you’ll need to use a keyboard for, such as heading left or right, jumping, or going through doors, the biggest draw here is obviously the vocal controls. One nice thing is that the game eases you into it — in the first level, you just need to make some noise to solve puzzles, but in the next level, you’ll need to clear obstacles placed at various verticals, meaning you’ll have to sing higher than the floating rocks and rubble to walk over them. As time goes on, you’ll need to hit specific notes for set lengths of time to progress. If you were looking for games that can double as singing lessons, this might be your tune in a bucket with a lid on it!
As for the puzzles, One Hand Clapping features brain teasers that aren’t too tricky to solve but will still provide a tad bit of a challenge. What I liked about the puzzles was that the vocal aspect wasn’t the entire point — for the most part, using a specific note was akin to jumping at the right time or getting to the right platform. Not that specific notes weren’t the keys to answers or anything — sometimes you had to sing the right note in the right order, for example — but vocal controls were sometimes a means to an end and not the entirety of the puzzle itself, which kept the flow of things as a platformer nicely.
It kind of goes without saying that the visuals are darling and delightful, but why not say it anyway? Because the world was so adorable, I didn’t fear failure and felt more courageous to try all kinds of crazy notes. It was so cute watching the little guy’s mouth move in sync with my own voice, belting out tunes as I tried to solve puzzles rather noisily. It was as if a lighthearted Gris met Wandersong, and if you’ve had the pleasure of playing both of those games, you know One Hand Clapping will be an absolute treat.
At first, I wondered if the vocal controls would be too finicky or that I wouldn’t be able to hit the required notes, but One Hand Clapping does a great job of vocal control calibration. By allowing players to set their most comfortable range and adapt the gameplay accordingly, bass, baritone, alto, and soprano voices alike will succeed without worry. Even those who sing off key will be able to figure out how to play and in fact should benefit greatly from gameplay if they’re interested in vocal training.
Be sure to check out One Hand Clapping on Steam today!