Fract OSC Review: This Game is Frackin’ Awesome!
Upon loading the game, the player is dropped immediately into a dark room that later is discovered to be a nonfunctioning studio. Shortly after, the player becomes immersed in an outdoor citadel filled with obscure objects, trails and lighting patterns. There is hardly a tutorial of any kind. Basic actions of interacting and dragging are taught, but the overall goal or purpose of the game is never disclosed. A high IQ is not required to figure out that somehow the functions of the studio need to be unlocked. How to go about doing that is never instructed. This can be risky from a developer’s standpoint because the game can quickly distance itself from a player with low interest span. However, a small level of persistent curiosity and aimless exploration will greatly be rewarded. In hindsight, the game provides a better sense of accomplishment and appeasement once certain protocols are discovered. The game throughout is very nifty in toggling between emotions of mild hopelessness and optimism. At one moment, everything can seem stale and stagnant followed by a moment of stunning realizations.
The player enters ‘interact mode’ by clicking a button enabling the visual and movement of select objects in certain areas.
“OMG… what the hell do I do now…” *palm to cheek, squinting eyes at screen, fidgeting right hand on mouse*
“Ohhhhhhh, so I move this here, turn this there, run here, and then I do that.”
I found the magenta section quite difficult.
FRACT combines brain twisting puzzles while illuminating the imagination simultaneously. The term ‘puzzle’ will not be used any further because it could make the game sound boring which is far from what is true. Instead, the word ‘obstacle’ will be used. The game is most certainly fun, just not the celtic beerfest type fun.
The equilateral triangle emblem represents three separate parts of the audible realm that must be explored. Each of these trisectors have their own unique type of obstacles to enjoy and ponder over that tests timing and visual intelligence. Sounds can be heard that reflect the progression. Upon completing the increasingly more difficult but pleasantly challenging obstacles, effects are unlocked in the studio enabling more experimentation and expression when composing.
Truly a remarkable visual display.
The game is essentially separated into two parts: the studio and the actual game. If the puzzles obstacles in the game portion become too overwhelming at some point, simply return to the studio and work on that new Kesha song that is almost ready to be submitted. Similar to the gameplay, the three vertexes of magenta, cyan, and green, serve a specific purpose musically. Green provides underlying chords while cyan acts as a more beat keeping, bass bopping tone. Magenta provides the lead, synth type sounds that overlays everything. There is no need to have musical knowledge of scales. Desired frequencies and note patterns are quite easy to pick-up and demonstrate. The studio, once mostly unlocked, is quite ravishing. The player, now composer, has access to a variety of tone and time based effects.
In order to add the authentic effects we will surely be hearing in pop music by the year 2016, we must explore and make the universe zen by completing all challenges. However, if the player is Akon and simply wants his easy-to-use composition studio, unlocking everything by simply clicking to do so in the menu is an option. This action bypasses the game element. In doing this, a music app has simply been purchased. The user can login to YouTube and upload tracks! This is perhaps one of the greatest integrations of social media seen thus far in an indie title. However, if becoming a DJ is an ambition, this studio may not be the best route, for there is no flanger. And what is a DJ without the constant abuse of the flanger effect?
An example of a puzzle in the green section.
The games level design is grand and architecturally unique. One can become ambiguously lost in the citadel of sound leading to conflicting feelings of frustration and enthrallment. It is similar to vacationing in Las Vegas, Nevada, walking on the main strip, and suddenly losing the sight of friends and tour groups with no GPS or map. What is one to do? Call it a night? Not likely.
FRACT OSC awards dumbfounded exploration and delightfully fiddles the strings of mind boggling challenge. The development team has achieved the perfect balance of appeasing the creative and logical sides of the brain. This is without a doubt one of the most unique and greatest games this awestruck, fancy, mean, lowbrow, and usually overly critical game reviewer has ever come across. This is the epitome of simplicity in gameplay that has been maximized to its outmost potential with a diverse and astonishing gameplay environment.
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