Yes, you are reading the title of this review correctly. This is a review of an entire game, rather than just the soundtrack. It seems like an unusual move for Original Sound Version, but this game proves to be an interesting exception. FRACT OSC is a game that is focused on the creation of music as its primary gameplay mechanic. It goes far beyond the usual use of interactive music in a game setting. While we could do a simple review of the soundtrack itself, it’s almost impossible to discuss the music without going into detail how the music is generated in the game. That said, it seems more appropriate to actually discuss the game, as well as the music. So consider this a review an analysis of both the game and the soundtrack.
As mentioned in our PAX East preview, FRACT OSC is a first-person exploration game that revolves around the creation of music. The game was created by Richard E Flanagan, Quynh Nguyen, and Henk Boom of Phosfiend Systems. The gameplay is similar to exploration games like Myst or Riven. It’s all about the puzzles and exploration, with your progress only limited by your ability to solve problems. Originally the game was set to have multiple worlds with each world focusing on different music elements. One world, for example, would be centered around drums and rhythm. Eventually realizing that this approach might be a little too ambitious, the creators scaled it down to one world focusing on synthesizers and oscillation. Hence the subtitle OSC, short for oscillator, in the game’s name. An oscillator, in this case, is referring to the electric circuit that is used to generate electronic sound waves. So does the final product live up to its original premise? Read on to find out. (more…)
The seventh Game Music Bundle was recently released on the music site Loudr. Much like the previous bundles, the albums are available in two tiers. If you pay at least $1, you will receive five videogame music albums. These include Peter McConnell’s Broken Age OST and Austin Wintory’s Banner Saga OST. If you contribute $10 or more, you will unlock twelve more albums, one of which is Austin Wintrory’s newest album Transfiguration. Transfiguration is a piano arrangement album of Wintory’s music from the game Journey. The album is yet to be released on its own, so this is your first chance to get this latest album. The second tier also includes a number of other excellent game music albums, including the soundtracks to Escape Goat 2 and Tribes Ascend. There are also some extra prizes for the top ten contributors. These range from full color promotional posters from Broken Age to physical albums of the Banner Saga OST and Transfiguration.
It’s quite a bargain for so much music. Grabbing the second tier at only $10 will get you over fourteen hours of music. Personally, I’m looking forward to listening to the piano arrangements of the Journey soundtrack on the Transfiguration album. Game Music Bundle 7 will be available for a little more than a week, so grab it while you can. You can check out the bundle at the Game Music Bundle site.
Do you like creepy atmospheric games? Do you like equally creepy and atmospheric music to go along with it? Then you should probably check out the newly released original soundtrack for the dark platformer, SPATE, composed by Mike Raznick.
“We knew that the role of the music would be to enhance SPATE’s dark, rainy atmosphere while allowing the player to feel the emotional arc that Detective Bluth experiences during his slow descent into madness,” reflects Raznick. “The soundtrack would be epic, but it had to be ambient, atmospheric, ethereal, and sometimes atonal. Rather than drive the emotional experience of the game, it would subtly immerse the player.”
Our second PAX East 2014 preview looks at the indie game FRACT OSC. The game was developed by Phosfiend Systems, a team comprising of Richard E Flanagan, Quynh Nguyen, and Henk Boom. FRACT OSC is a first-person music exploration game. While it has exploration elements similar to games like Myst and Riven, the puzzles in this game all center around music. Not only do the puzzles require you to use your listening abilities to help you solve them, the puzzles themselves also generate the game’s soundtrack.
When I started up a game in FRACT OSC, I was dropped into a mysterious, cavernous environment. In this section, the game’s simple controls and interactions were explained. By right clicking with the mouse I entered a mode that allowed me to analyze and manipulate elements of the environment. Outside of this mode, I could just walk around and explore the area. Most of these interactions involved moving slide bars, pushing switches, or dialing frequencies. Each push of a switch or activation of a device caused a pattern of music to start playing. As more puzzles in the area were solved and activated, the individual music elements began to combine and change to form a complete piece of music. (more…)
While there were many games presented on the PAX East 2014 show floor, there were only a handful that featured music as their central gameplay mechanic. Since OSV is a site which focuses on game music, we thought it would be nice to give some previews of games that featured music as their core element. The first of these is a game titled Crypt of the NecroDancer.
For those of you have not heard of it, Crypt of the NecroDancer is a roguelike dungeon crawler, created by Brace Yourself Games, that requires you to time your movements and attacks to the game’s soundtrack. Your movement, attacks, and other abilities are all triggered with the four direction buttons. In order to successfully move, attack, or use an ability, you need to enter the command on the beat. A beat meter on the bottom of the screen helps indicate when you can take action. When I spoke with the developers at the show, they emphasized that they wanted to make a rogelike that relied a little more heavily on player skill, rather than luck of what the dungeon will throw at you on a particular run. Theoretically, if you have good rhythm and timing, you can make it through most situations in one piece. (more…)
Back in July of 2013, the game cover band Playing with Power launched and raised funds via a Kickstarter campaign towards the release of their new album, thanks to the generous donations of a bunch of dedicated followers of the band. Now, 10 months later the album, “You’re a Great Zombie” will be released for the world tonight for all to consume the tasty innards of!
Streaming tonight on 8bitx.com, the release party will feature a preview of the album tracks before the official launch of the album, as well as an interview with the band members and assorted other shenanigans. The album track list was released on the band’s Facebook page and feature several Kickstarter pledge requests:
1. Contra Force – Player Select
2. Shatterhand Medley
3. Crystalis Medley
4. Battletoads – Intro
5. Wizards & Warriors – Low Health
6. TMNT 3 – Theme of Halfshell
7. StarTropics – Dungeon Theme
8. Zombies Ate My Neighbors Medley
9. Double Dragon – Mission 1
10. Wizards & Warriors – Invincibility
11. Mega Man V Medley
12. TMNT 1 Medley
13. Tecmo Super Bowl – Sound Mode No. 32
14. Blades of Steel – Menu
15. Super Mario Super Medley
16. Duck Hunt – Title
17. Mighty Final Fight – Bay Area
18. DuckTales – Moon Stage
Be sure to tune into 8bitx tonight for the show and check out the Playing with Power album when it drops later tonight!
Update: And here it is!
“Other Album” is an 8-track digital album released on the band’s Bandcamp for a going price of $6 and features arrangements of music from Metroid 2, Super Metroid, Metroid Fusion and Metroid Prime 2 as well as their “Autobot Decepticon Battle” piece from Transformers: The Motion Picture.
‘Other Album’ is 40 minutes of MM tracks we’ve been playing live, but didn’t exist on an album until now. If the other albums were guitar albums, this is a rhythm section album. It’s the most visceral, pounding, and dark album we’ve done – hope you kids enjoy it! <3
Metroid Metal performs at the Friday night concerts at PAX East, so be sure to check them out and possibly hear some of this awesome tunage!
I think it needs to be said that I have not completed Rogue Legacy. Like Minecraft, it’s the type of game that I can easily dip into every now and then. I’ve only actually killed 2 bosses and it has been a while since I last played the game. So this review will be partly informed by my knowledge of the game and partly in the dark as to where the music was used.
Unlike the Super Mario 3D World OST, some thought has gone into the placement of each track on this album. This is made obvious by the fact the end credits music is the first track, and I think this works well. Like I said, I have not completed the game so I never got to the end credits, which is a shame, because the music is lovely. It starts out with a nice harp ostinato and an almost Japanese style riff on the guitar that repeats throughout the whole track, which is not a bad thing. I found myself humming along quite happily. At 00:34 the very distinctive marching percussion that A Shell in the Pit, the artist name of composer Gordon McGladdery, uses throughout the game comes in with rousing effect. (more…)
The awesome lads over at Year 200X have opened up the pre-orders for their new album “World of Ruin EP”. The 6-track album features arrangements from Mega Man X, Chrono Cross, Final Fantasy 6 and more. It is available for a limited-time pre-order of $5 for the digital album, and $7 for the physical which includes the physical disk in digipak and liner notes that fold out into a six-panel poster. Artwork by Kurt Horsfall!
Go check it out over on their Bandcamp and grab yourself some awesome tunes!
The folks over at GameChops and Loudr are promoting a special deal starting now until the end of this weekend. To celebrate the two year anniversary of the GameChops label, you can pick up two different videogame music bundles, featuring various albums from the GameChops catalog. Each $10 bundle contains 5 albums of videogame remixes.
There is an EDM Bundle, which features the albums Club Needlemouse (Sonic the Hedgehog), VLAD (Castlevania), NESteryears (Nintendo Classics), Boss Beats (Mega Man), and Triple Triad: Booster Pack (Final Fantasy VI, VII, VIII). The second bundle is a Chillout Electronica Bundle, which contains the KK and Friends (Animal Crossing), Ridge Racer Arrange, Hydrocity (Sonic the Hedgehog), Goombette (Super Mario RPG), and MeowMeow and BowWow (Zelda: Link’s Awakening) albums.
Each bundle features music by some great remix artists. These artists include Ben Briggs, Joshua Morse, DJ Cutman, ABSRDST, VLAD, and many more. There’s something for any fan of EDM and Electronica VGM remixes. Both the EDM Bundle and the Chillout Bundle can be found on Loudr and will be available through April 6th. Grab these while you can.
Videogame music arrange albums are nothing new. Every year, musicians and artists create new interpretations of classic game soundtracks, which are enjoyed by a wide range of fans. However, there is a tendency for many of these arrangements to focus on more well-known pieces. We get many of the familiar Mario, Zelda, and Final Fantasy pieces orchestrated and re-imagined, while many perfectly good pieces of music are ignored. A new Kickstarter aims to change that.
The Nintendo Underdogs Reorchestrated project is a new Kickstarter campaign started by Colin McIsaac. This project aims to re-orchestrate music from Nintendo’s game library. In addition to some classic tracks, McIsaac wants to focus on pieces that rarely get the remix or re-orchestrated treatment. The music will be constructed using high quality MIDI instruments to produce fully orchestral arrangements of these pieces.
The Kickstarter is looking to raise $6000 for a successful campaign. Rewards include digital downloads of the full album, physical albums, and the ability to request a specific game track to be orchestrated. There are also a few stretch goals which include bringing in live soloists and guest arrangers for the album. While he doesn’t list specific pieces for this album, McIsaac mentions music from games like Pikmin, Animal Crossing, and Golden Sun as potential candidates. This is looking like it could be an interesting project. Check this Kickstarter out if it sounds like something you could get behind.
During this past week’s Game Developer’s Conference the Game Audio Network Guild (G.A.N.G.) held the 12th annual G.A.N.G. Awards. These awards focus on the audio and music produced in games during the previous year. The guild also takes this time to honor and recognize important figures in the game audio industry. This year’s 12th annual awards were recorded and will be broadcast on the Video Games Live Twitch channel at a later date. For those of you who can’t wait, the winners have been announced. Read on to find out who this year’s winners were. (more…)