FRACT OSC is an unabashed love letter to TRON, you know, that wonderfully imaginative Disney film where Jeff Bridges is digitised into a computer world where everything is basically black with a neon trim and not much makes sense, but its a feast for the eyes, so it's ok. It also seems to have a sequel that nobody talks about on pain of death.
The world of FRACT OSC is a blocky pseudo-natural landscape littered with abstract buildings and machines all presented from the first person perspective in a TRON-esque style. The hills are alive with the sound of music (thank you, Julie Andrews), literally, much of it moves and reacts to your presence, initially producing simple synthy tones and dull lit paths, often they build into tunes upon paths of neon, and in progress layer into crescendos and brilliant firework displays of light.
Its hard to explain without a video. But, I feel that this is something you should experience for yourself.
There is no story.
You're just unceremoniously dropped into FRACT OSC's world with no narrative whatsoever. This is one of those games where you could assume that there is a narrative behind the world, and you're there to discover/progress it. But you don't have to. It needs no reason to exist beyond having fun. There are no enemies, or characters. You are the only presence here, and your actions alone affect the world, but I can't really explain that without going into the...
So, without a narrative, or antagonist, what do you do? Explore. Solve puzzles. Make music.
The world doesn't always give you a clear idea on where to go, or what to do, but that makes it more interesting. You can often inadvertently start on a puzzle that is a few ahead of the intended order, but it doesn't matter.
The eventual goal is to bring life (represented by light and music) back each of three large areas. They're based on different layers of synth music (Bass, Pad and Lead), each with their own signature flavour and architecture. The Lead area is strawberry pink with large buildings acting as gateways to vertigo-inducing platforms, uneven crystalline formations litter the land. In Bass you direct luminescent beams of energy between industrial columns, toxic pools drown its central citadel. The world oozes detail and you have free reign over its geography. You can fall to your doom, but the penalty is reappearing at the last checkpoint with no progress loss. The puzzles are varied within and between areas, none of them outlive their welcome, they can be a little tricky, but again, you play with them, figure 'em out, and move on forward.
Once you have completely reinvigorated the three primary areas, you ascend into a final area wherein you gain and exact control over the structure itself. Everything culminates together in one big arresting performance that you yourself created in just playing the game.
Then you are left with a synth music creation tool, free to toy with to produce surprisingly varied and complex compositions with relative ease. Granted this part does not hold my interest. FRACT OSC is a game I can love and leave feeling satisfied.
I'm gonna avoid doing the whole what is good/bad/ugly about this game blurb. I don't think it is necessary here.
FRACT OSC is unique. It's short (about 6 hours) and beautiful. A feast for the eyes and ears alike, fun to explore and a competent cognitive challenge. Consider it recommended.