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Synthesizer Puzzles And Drum Machine Riddles In The Game Of FRACT

If the words Rez, Myst, and Tron sound like the names of cough medicines to you, you probably don’t belong to the core demographic targeted by FRACT. This new adventure puzzle game, currently under development, is a sort of mash up of those three classic fantasy and sci-fi games, combined with the basic tenets of synthetic music production.

It doesn’t exactly look like a 21st century update of Tetris or anything that falls neatly in the category of “puzzle game." It’s a first-person game set in an abstract world of geometric shapes built on electronic sounds. The developers wanted to create a broken, strange, and convoluted world that the players must tidy and reorganize in order to unravel hidden machinery that will ultimately allow them to make music. It may not sound like a ton of fun to the musical layman, but the integrated instruments are basic enough for anyone to figure out. The only way to get through the riddles and puzzles of the game is by using rhythm and melody.

The developing team is Phosfiend Systems, a Montreal-based indie studio that created this playful gaming world as an independent student project for the Game Design program at the Université de Montréal/Ubisoft Campus.

The preview videos and screengrabs reveal an eerie world, somewhat invoking the look and feel of Portal. It’s like playing an FPS without the automatic laser rifle blast and the subsequent feeling of guilt that often results from killing pixel people. Borrowing elements from both sci-fi movies and modern art, the universe achieves a zen-like aesthetic, with the combination of images, patterns, and sounds giving the game a sophisticated feel. It’s refreshing to see indie games like this pop up once in a while, where rather than your aim and the size or your weapon, creativity and ingenuity ultimately win the game.

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