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In Otocky, the player controls a small, flying character who shoots orbs at enemies and bubbles.
With each shot, a musical note plays in time with the music already heard. Players can change the instrument that is playing when they fire by collecting 'A' bubbles and they can fire percussive bombs with 'B' bubbles. Other bubbles include stop (freezes time), record (which memorizes the player's shooting pattern and then plays it back), fast (speeds up song), and slow (slows down song).
The player advances through each of the eleven levels by collecting musical notes and then defeating a boss by shooting the notes collected at it.
The game also features "B.G.M." and "Music Maker" modes. B.G.M. mode allows the player to play through a level without being damaged, simply to allow for musical improvisation. "Music Maker" mode allows players to create their own soundtracks.
Otocky has had an apparent influence on games like Tetsuya Mizuguchi
. Toshio Iwai
, creator of Otocky, went on to make SimTunes
, which also generate music through gameplay.