While there have been music games for the longest time, they followed the same conventions. There are the rhythm games that came out of Dance Dance Revolution and Elite Beat Agents to name a few. Then there are those in which you can load your own music and generate gameplay out of the current track. However, it seems that a new type of music game has emerged, one that takes it to a different level altogether.
FRACT OSC is a music game developed by Phosfiend Systems that is different from most other music games. It’s neither a rhythm game nor makes use of your own music to shape the gameplay like in Beat Hazard. Instead, the music creates the atmosphere and the environment around you to explore. Think of it as a musical version of MirrorMoon EP, wherein exploration is the point of the gameplay.
It’s a first-person puzzle adventure game that has you explore and solve puzzles, which may sound dreary for some people, but it’s alleviated by the music and how it affects everything around you. The use of simple geometry and bright colors to form the levels go with the music quite well. The different puzzle elements are distinguishable, and the world grows in scale to give a sense of awe and wonder.
Completing sections of the level unlocks more music that lets you open up the world more as you play. This makes for a sense of accomplishment with each unlock, which then leads to more wanderlust. The puzzles are unique and well-designed, although they do feel a bit repetitive after a bit. They still feel rewarding when you solve the ones that unlock more of the world though, so it’s not all too bad.
While the gameplay makes for a fun and immersive experience for the most part, the controls though don’t feel that good at first, so there would be a period of time in which you’ll be feeling your way around. This also makes the platforming anything but super smooth, so you may find yourself having to pull some extra effort to get past them. These maladies do take away from the game’s atmosphere, which is a big part of the point to begin with.
When played with speedrunning in mind, the game can be completed in a matter of a few hours, but that would be missing the point. FRACT OSC goes by the adage of “The journey is better than the destination” quite well, and players would enjoy the exploration with that in mind. As long as you’re willing to go into a game without any apprehension about not knowing what’s ahead, then you may let your curiosity and wanderlust take you through this game as you’d like.
If you can spare a good bit of time and are willing to go on a different kind of adventure, then you’ll like FRACT OSC quite a bit. This game is all about indulging your senses with sights and sounds that amaze and inspire. If you’re someone who doesn’t like not getting to the point right away though, then this game may not be that good for you. FRACT OSC is all about the exploration and nothing less.
Tested in PC. Final Score: 8.5/10