Wow! Fiona Apple’s new album “The Idler Wheel” is now available to stream in full over at NPR. I’m am trying so hard to not click and listen away. I’ve only caved into the music video today and my word – what a music video it is. That octopus needs to have its own monster movie – preferably vs MegaSquid or something!
I’m trying to wait until release day… it may be a futile effort!
OCR continue to break new ground as they release their first album covering the original Final Fantasy NES/Famicom titles. Some of the arrangements sound absolutely bonkers as we veer from the usual hard rock to some awesome vocal sample trickery. I love that OCR still manages to surprise as the community expands time and time again. The album is out soon and as always, we can’t wait!
Laura Shigihara has worked on some beautiful music in her time and this wonderful live/recorded hybrid cover of the sumptuous Inochi no Namae from the anime Spirited Away showcases her delicate voice to perfection. There’s some wonderful piano playing from Zorsy too.
Higher Plain Music does love a bit of industrial folk music and that’s why we love its pioneer Jordan Reyne! Here is a live clip from a recent show in London I sadly wasn’t able to get to from her new album which we will be reviewing shortly. Vocal overdubs for the win!
Tori Amos certainly has gone all things orchestral lately and it seems to suit her. Now she’s revisiting old songs for a fully orchestrated re-imagining. The album to be entitled “Gold Dust”, which in itself is a heartfelt string drenched number, is to feature songs reworked such as Silent All These Years, Precious Things and Jackie’s Strength. It also appears to have Flavor and Snow Cherries From France on it too.
To go with it will be a small tour and tickets/dates are available at http://www.toriamos.com as and when, although three dates are already up. The album is due October.
Whilst I’m not always good at them, I love me a puzzler and Fractal: Make Blooms Not War is certainly puzzling. Cipher Prime continue their mix of music and puzzle elements from their previous fantastic efforts Auditorium and Pulse by turning to blocks like a more traditional puzzle game but that’s where a lot of similarities end.
Fractal is all about pushing and forming. Where you click on the board basically pushes all the connecting blocks to where you push one space outwards. Those of the edge of the map fall off and hopefully after some well placed pushes you’ll get yourself a “bloom” which is a circle of 6 same coloured hexes surrounding one hex of the same colour. This bloom will then explode and push your hexes around a bit more and others will be replaced. The key is to try to time it all perfectly so you can gain some fantastic combos. You see whilst there’s no time limit, there’s a push limit so every push counts and even on the opening levels things are extremely tight as you try desperately to work out what’s going to happen. It may be just me but there does seem to be a random element that can really tip the scales either way.
What is already a hard method to explain (it makes more sense when put in practice) is made harder when different colours are introduced early on. Suddenly you’ve got to get the right coloured bloom, with the right coloured push to combo to a different colour afterwards. It gets very technical and sometimes very frustrating – but it will keep you coming back.
The musical side of the game has dimmed down compared to Cipher’s previous efforts where the music slowly gets more dramatic for each push until it starts to wind down to a slow halt. It all adds to the feel of the game which is clean, clinical and classy without losing character.
~Interesting pushing and detonation game mechanics
~Lengthy simple player campaign
~Utterly hard as nails
~Sometimes it feels a bit random, although this could be me not grasping all the mechanics in play
~No Steam Achievements
It has a steep learning curve but then the game is aimed at the puzzle hardcore crowd. It’s far more complex than a usual block buster game and you need to invest time and patience to get the most out of it. If it clicks though, you could be lost for quite some time. A fantastic challenge for puzzle enthusiasts!
Paper is something that’s really only been introduced into video games in the last decade or so from my memory and very few games take it to such a level as And Yet It Moves which has two specific game play traits in its weapons hold.
The first is that our main character is a fragile little man-made of paper. He’s easily broken. He’s not the fastest nor the most agile character to control. He’s having a bad day! The second is that it’s not just the character you move, it’s the world around you itself.
You see the crux of And Yet It Moves is that often the platforms you need to get to require you to rotate the world around you. Suddenly that wall next to you can be the floor and quickly the ceiling is the floor too. Everytime you twist the world and your lil man goes flying he seems to fall that bit faster and if he hits the ground too fast or at the wrong angle – snap! Literally! This main game mechanic is introduced immediately and by literally turning the game on its head it stays refreshing throughout as you move into more and more complex situations with boulders, enemies and all kinds of twisting shindiggery being added to the mix before the first area is over!
~Wonderful unique game mechanics which does not become gimmicky
~Inventive puzzles that require time and patience
~Excellent art and audio style
~May mack you dizzy?!
Originally coming from the Wii and being ported to PC, I can see this working excellently with motion controls but with the PC it works just fine. Inventive, intuitive and engrossing with its abstract art style and game play direction. A great display of what you can do by just running with one single idea all the way through to its full potential.