FRACT is a musical exploration game. You arrive in a forgotten place and explore the vast and unfamiliar landscape to discover the secrets of a world built on sound. You rebuild its machinery by solving puzzles and bring the world back to life by shaping sound and creating music in the game.
User reviews:
Overall:
Very Positive (424 reviews) - 88% of the 424 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Apr 22, 2014

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Reviews

“FRACT OSC is one of the best original games released on Steam in a long time. It is abundantly clear that it has been created by a team that shares an equal passion for both music and games, and its unique concept and gorgeous, vibrant world deserve to be explored by as many people possible. If you’re in ownership of functioning eyes and ears, then you owe it to yourself to play this game.”
9/10 – Game Revolution

“When you succeed and the final piece of the puzzle slots into place, your reward isn’t a text backslap, achievement popup or skill point, but a drop. Beats and bass crash in as the record you’ve been piecing together reaches a crescendo. It’s like having Boards Of Canada noodling away behind you as you work on the world’s hardest jigsaw puzzle and both of you having two very different eureka moments at the same time.”
8/10 – Edge

“If [HP Lovecraft] had been a coder rather than a writer and had been into Autechre and Aphex Twin rather than gross racism, I can't help thinking this is the sort of game he would have come up with . . . Like all great interactive experiences, this is a game that happens almost entirely in your own head, an ongoing internal narrative that pushes and pulls between questions of how and why that are never given an easy resolution.”
8/10 – Eurogamer

About This Game

FRACT is a musical exploration game. You arrive in a forgotten place and explore the vast and unfamiliar landscape to discover the secrets of an abandoned world that was once built on sound. As you start to make sense of this strange new environment, you work to rebuild its machinery by solving puzzles and bring the world back to life by shaping sound and creating music within the game.



FRACT features a beautiful open world to explore and decipher with music-based puzzles, stunning visuals, and an amazing score that evolves as you play. As you progress through the game, you unlock tools to make your own music in the FRACT studio, where you can also export and share your creations with others.

Features:

  • Explore and decipher a beautiful open world.
  • Make music and shape sound as you progress through the game.
  • Compose your own music in the Studio.
  • Save, export and share your musical creations with others.
  • Experience unique TRON-inspired visuals.
  • Enjoy an evolving score composed by Mogi Grumbles and you.



System Requirements

Windows
Mac OS X
    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows 7
    • Processor: Core i5 2.2 GHz or equivalent
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Radeon 5850 or equivalent
    • DirectX: Version 9.0c
    • Storage: 1500 MB available space
    • Sound Card: Required
    • Additional Notes: Headphones and/or external speakers recommended
    Recommended:
    • OS: Windows 7/8
    • Processor: Core i7 2.4 GHz or better
    • Memory: 8 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Radeon 6850 series or equivalent
    • DirectX: Version 11
    • Storage: 2 GB available space
    • Sound Card: Required
    • Additional Notes: Headphones and/or dedicated speakers recommended
    Minimum:
    • OS: OS X 10.7 or higher
    • Processor: Core i5 2.2 GHz or equivalent
    • Memory: 6 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Radeon 6750M or equivalent
    • Storage: 1500 MB available space
    • Sound Card: Required
    • Additional Notes: Headphones and/or external speakers recommended
    Recommended:
    • OS: OS X 10.7 or higher
    • Processor: Quad Core i5 or i7 2.2+ GHz or equivalent
    • Memory: 8 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Radeon 6970M or equivalent
    • Storage: 2 GB available space
    • Sound Card: Required
    • Additional Notes: Headphones and/or dedicated speakers recommended
Customer reviews
Customer Review system updated! Learn more
Overall:
Very Positive (424 reviews)
Recently Posted
snagglewolf
( 7.7 hrs on record )
Posted: May 6
I loved this game. I'm not even a huge puzzle game guy but the visuals and the sound hooked me, I love the way it builds puzzles around music. There's a bit too much on the exploring side, I occasionally felt lost but overall this game is rad, and the payoff at the end when you finish everything melted my brain. So cool.
Plus having a pretty fully featured synth to play with and make your own music on after is awesome. Can't recommend this game enough.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
jespertheend
( 6.1 hrs on record )
Posted: May 6
If you like music and puzzles and you want to explore a strange universe, this game is for you.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
snydermahler
( 8.5 hrs on record )
Posted: May 6
I love this game. It's like walking around inside some kind of crazy magical synthesizer, mixing and changing the music via puzzles.
Great music, cool visuals, challenging and fun puzzles.
Also you get a synthesizer to play with when you beat it!
Highly recommended.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
MikeASchneider
( 14.5 hrs on record )
Posted: May 6
My favorite game of 2014. Beautiful aesthetic, challenging puzzles, great soundtrack. A really satisfying world to explore, put back together, and make your own.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Newton64
( 7.6 hrs on record )
Posted: May 4
dubstep myst remix.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Turrets turret
( 18.7 hrs on record )
Posted: April 29
it's experience was amazing! the puzzles is about sounds and music.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Krez42
( 4.7 hrs on record )
Posted: April 24
Fantastic exploration/ puzzle game, with great soundtrack and stylish neon graphics. Very atmospheric.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
DJ Setty
( 9.9 hrs on record )
Posted: April 10
Love this game, its soo amazing.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
SatiricalAnarchist
( 5.1 hrs on record )
Posted: April 2
10/10 would vapourwave again
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Subtle Roy
( 24.5 hrs on record )
Posted: March 29
One of the most innovative and fresh games I've played in a long time. Tron meets spatial puzzle game meets sequencer. There isn't much in the way of instruction, but I think it promotes exploring the world in the way the developers intended. Give this a play through, you'll love it.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
KungFuOpera
( 6.1 hrs on record )
Posted: March 28
If "Wreck It Ralph" took place inside a mixdeck... Professional remixing skills aren't required, but a base sense of rhythm and maybe even tone do help a LOT.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Mr.Banana
( 0.4 hrs on record )
Posted: March 24
The biggest wtf in gaming sinc e yume nikki
Helpful? Yes No Funny
microcreep
( 9.6 hrs on record )
Posted: March 21
A lot of you already have this one. You should play it.
I had to use some trial and error on a few of the puzzles, but most of it made sense in its own way eventually.
Plus the aesthetic is just really cool. Easy on the eyes.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
PyroTyger
( 11.3 hrs on record )
Posted: March 20
To put it plainly: the reward for finishing FRACT is the closest a game has ever come to a spiritual high.

This is a first-person puzzle game, and it is abstract in the extreme. The world starts cold and grey, not dead but dormant. You explore the geometric caverns & bizarre, daunting structures, figuring out what the world wants you to do, solving its puzzles bit by bit, slowly bringing music and colour and life back into it.

When I say music, I MEAN music. While each puzzle has a logical solution (with some creative wiggle room), that solution also turns out to be a musical phrase, coarsing through the pulsing neon around you.

And the puzzles themselves all come together. First in sections, as you complete each of the three themed sections, and then finally in one huge, elaborate chamber, you compose your own conclusion. Unique to your play and your aesthetic, but also carefully curated by the games puzzles to be coherent and beautiful. The world it turns out, is nothing less than an enormous, powerful synthesizer.

To say this game is orginal and unusual would be an understatement: I've never known a game do anything even remotely like this, before or since.
This game is also very well-designed, carefully walking the line between guiding you to an understanding as the puzzles increase in complexity, and leaving you to explore and figure things out on your own.

But more than anything else, this game is utterly, sublimely beautiful. The aesthetic is simple - textureless polygons and bold neon primaries are pretty much the only graphics - but the way it gently coaxes you towards creating something beautiful and unique, until the world around you erupts into an ecstatic epiphany, an explosion of life and light and music...

I will never forget this game, as long as I live.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
The Jumping Ghost
( 8.7 hrs on record )
Posted: March 17
I have never been this impressed by a game's visuals before. Every single part of the game has had obvious work put into it, and the world reacts to your presence in increasingly surprising ways. As you explore through the game and solve more puzzles, the areas around you evolve increasingly, giving a sense of progress and satisfaction that kept me motivated to continue. The music builds gradually as you solve a puzzle and seeing the area that you just traversed light up and make a great song continues to be rewarding every time.

I was afraid to buy this game for a while due to my computer not meeting the minimum system requirements, but it somehow ran the game just fine with only a few problems. Even if the audio was interrupted in several places, Fract OSC was a wonderful experience regardless.

Unfortunately because of how intricate the game is, it is also extremely confusing in certain places. You will likely be spending a long time trying to find the correct path, and may need to watch video walkthroughs at certain points, as some of the paths are darker and less noticeable than the scenery, causing me to wander very far in the wrong direction. This is especially inconvenient when backtracking through each level once the end has been reached. The teleportation hubs mitigate this a bit, but they were sometimes located relatively out of the way and made travelling a bit inconvenient. The solutions to certain puzzles were also placed in very strange locations, and were sometimes presented in ways that were difficult to decipher. The vibrant design of Fract OSC can be disorienting, but it still proves to be enjoyable for its mind-blowing architecture.

Aside from that, there will likely be more than a few instances where you are so amazed by what's happening around you that you walk straight off ledges and fall to your death. This is an unavoidable side effect of such a beautiful game.

Ultimately, I'm very happy with what I got for my money, and if you like exploration games with maximum freedom, then I highly recommend that you buy this one.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Crona
( 1.8 hrs on record )
Posted: March 12
The puzzles do not give any instructions at all. You are just dropped into a huge world with no direction at all. You have no idea where you are supposed to go next.Theres also a huge lack of communication.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
DeadPixel
( 6.6 hrs on record )
Posted: March 11
Graphisme: Polygons. Polygons everywhere!
Level design: Wow, wtf. Oh ok, here!
Music: 11/10 i'm a DJ.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Beepin
( 10.4 hrs on record )
Posted: March 10
An absolute musical thrill.

There are no words and the game expects you to be intelligent enough to find out how everything works. You will get frustrated, but you will also feel rewarded for figuring things out on your own... Which is what the game is centered around; exploration/discovery.

You really learn to appreciate the impact music has on a game, and will most-likely groove-out and try certain things to make new beats.

Overall, the game is about trial and error, and does a fantastic job of keeping the player interested and wanting to try more. It also has a built-in dope sheet to create your own music and upload straight to youtube.

Discover your inner DJ.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
rogermorse
( 0.5 hrs on record )
Posted: February 24
I was excited by the words 'world built on sound' from the description, 'solving puzzles', and by the nice colours of an extremely abstract landscape depicted in the screenshots on the game store page on steam. Pay attention: I didn't play the game long because it got me bored and frustrated very quickly (and I am a classical musician with perfect pitch, I was intrigued by this game).

World built on sound: it is not built on sound. You hear sounds, exclusively electronic/synthetic. How the world is built on sound I don't know. No, it is not as interesting as it "sounds".

Solving puzzles: that's not solving, that's messing around with something until it triggers something else. In no way the game tells you what to do (I don't say it should), and the puzzles have no way of getting your interest. Also the interaction system is quite confusing and you have to constantly stand in the right spot or you won't see the things you can interact with (rapid transport is an example).

Abstract landscape: it does not look as nice as in the screenshots. The colors are not as vivid, the lighting is not as good, everything looks quite plain. Plus, your character (even while sprinting) is so slow that getting from one place to the other (even though there are rapid transports) is a pain.

I will give it a second chance I hope, but really, don't make my same mistake, know more about the game, I was just intrigued by the description and the screenshots, I should have known better.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
6.1 hrs on record
Posted: May 6
If you like music and puzzles and you want to explore a strange universe, this game is for you.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Recommended
7.6 hrs on record
Posted: May 4
dubstep myst remix.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
7.7 hrs on record
Posted: May 6
I loved this game. I'm not even a huge puzzle game guy but the visuals and the sound hooked me, I love the way it builds puzzles around music. There's a bit too much on the exploring side, I occasionally felt lost but overall this game is rad, and the payoff at the end when you finish everything melted my brain. So cool.
Plus having a pretty fully featured synth to play with and make your own music on after is awesome. Can't recommend this game enough.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
8.5 hrs on record
Posted: May 6
I love this game. It's like walking around inside some kind of crazy magical synthesizer, mixing and changing the music via puzzles.
Great music, cool visuals, challenging and fun puzzles.
Also you get a synthesizer to play with when you beat it!
Highly recommended.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
14.5 hrs on record
Posted: May 6
My favorite game of 2014. Beautiful aesthetic, challenging puzzles, great soundtrack. A really satisfying world to explore, put back together, and make your own.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 90 days
5 of 5 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
11.3 hrs on record
Posted: March 20
To put it plainly: the reward for finishing FRACT is the closest a game has ever come to a spiritual high.

This is a first-person puzzle game, and it is abstract in the extreme. The world starts cold and grey, not dead but dormant. You explore the geometric caverns & bizarre, daunting structures, figuring out what the world wants you to do, solving its puzzles bit by bit, slowly bringing music and colour and life back into it.

When I say music, I MEAN music. While each puzzle has a logical solution (with some creative wiggle room), that solution also turns out to be a musical phrase, coarsing through the pulsing neon around you.

And the puzzles themselves all come together. First in sections, as you complete each of the three themed sections, and then finally in one huge, elaborate chamber, you compose your own conclusion. Unique to your play and your aesthetic, but also carefully curated by the games puzzles to be coherent and beautiful. The world it turns out, is nothing less than an enormous, powerful synthesizer.

To say this game is orginal and unusual would be an understatement: I've never known a game do anything even remotely like this, before or since.
This game is also very well-designed, carefully walking the line between guiding you to an understanding as the puzzles increase in complexity, and leaving you to explore and figure things out on your own.

But more than anything else, this game is utterly, sublimely beautiful. The aesthetic is simple - textureless polygons and bold neon primaries are pretty much the only graphics - but the way it gently coaxes you towards creating something beautiful and unique, until the world around you erupts into an ecstatic epiphany, an explosion of life and light and music...

I will never forget this game, as long as I live.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
9.6 hrs on record
Posted: March 21
A lot of you already have this one. You should play it.
I had to use some trial and error on a few of the puzzles, but most of it made sense in its own way eventually.
Plus the aesthetic is just really cool. Easy on the eyes.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Recommended
5.1 hrs on record
Posted: April 2
10/10 would vapourwave again
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
4.7 hrs on record
Posted: April 24
Fantastic exploration/ puzzle game, with great soundtrack and stylish neon graphics. Very atmospheric.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
18.7 hrs on record
Posted: April 29
it's experience was amazing! the puzzles is about sounds and music.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
6.1 hrs on record
Posted: March 28
If "Wreck It Ralph" took place inside a mixdeck... Professional remixing skills aren't required, but a base sense of rhythm and maybe even tone do help a LOT.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
24.5 hrs on record
Posted: March 29
One of the most innovative and fresh games I've played in a long time. Tron meets spatial puzzle game meets sequencer. There isn't much in the way of instruction, but I think it promotes exploring the world in the way the developers intended. Give this a play through, you'll love it.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 180 days
11 of 13 people (85%) found this review helpful
Recommended
3.9 hrs on record
Posted: December 14, 2015
Super awesome puzzle game for gamers who find a thrill in discovering for themselves. There are literally no written or vocal instruction, and this game encourages you through sound and light reinforcements. Very immersive world that reminds me of TRON.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
8 of 10 people (80%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Recommended
8.2 hrs on record
Posted: January 2
I won't try to compare this game to other games. There is no comparison. This game is about synthesizers. You interact with a world at your own pace, and music follows your footsteps.

If you have any interest in this kind of music (watch the trailer), and have a little bit of understanding of rhythm, you can play this game and enjoy it. I only played about 8 hours before solving the final puzzle, but it was easily one of my favorite games I have played in recent times. This game made me happier than any game I have played all year.

It is short and minimalistic. There are few instructions, no directions, and no words. You solve puzzles, and get very little from it. But what you do get is everything that you need, perfected. There's a wonderful feeling when the bass suddenly kicks in, because you solved a puzzle, with an added kick of enjoyment from hearing *your* music incorporated into it. Exploration is rewarded by finding little crystals that sing when you get near them, or the faint sound of a puzzle in the distance as you look over a world constructed with little more than basic blocks yet is still beautiful and intriguing.

The puzzles are impressive. The first puzzles you will encounter for each area are simple, preparing you for future puzzles without obvious tutorials, building to the final puzzles which can be incredibly complicated. Each puzzle is two parts - an approach puzzle, and then an ostensibly musical puzzle - yet despite what many on the internet think, each one can be solved with only logic, no brute forcing needed. There are not nearly enough puzzle games in the world that hit the right balance of solvable and difficult.

tl;dr: You like music? You like puzzles? You like creating instead of destroying? Pick this up. It's worth it.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
22 of 44 people (50%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Not Recommended
0.4 hrs on record
Posted: January 22
I found this game too abstract to comprehend. You're dropped into a very large open world, with no instruction or guidance. I don't need my hand held when I'm playing a game, but I couldn't even tell when I was looking at a puzzle, or scenery. The openness of the world means it's impossible to have any kind of meaningful puzzle difficulty curve, which makes it very hard to learn the "language" of the game, and understand what it is you're trying to do. The reviews indicate that there's probably a pretty decent experience to be had here. But thanks to the obtuse design, I found myself unable to find it, and unwilling to invest more time searching for it.
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Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
90 of 103 people (87%) found this review helpful
Recommended
9.4 hrs on record
Pre-Release Review
Posted: April 21, 2014
The game looks beautiful with its minimalist, TRON inspired style, and the graphical animations and reactions are outstanding, a good variety of puzzles with unique styles to solving them, plus they made everything simple but complicated in the puzzles you solve, and having an actual music editor in a studio like area where you can make your own song for you to save, export them and share to anyone.

I would say the game is a mash up of Antichamber’s simplicity, some of the feel of NaissanceE’s atmosphere, TRON’s visuals, and 80s-90s ski-fi hacker sound SFX, and we have FRACT as a lovely result.

-FreakOrama

More info at: http://www.ksalue.com/main/2014/04/fract-osc-review/
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57 of 63 people (90%) found this review helpful
Recommended
2.6 hrs on record
Posted: April 16, 2014
I have been a Beta tester from the second round for Fract OSC and as is such I have seen the game develop within the Beta community and I have to say it is amazing…… If you are interested in music or puzzle games it is a must have day one game. The gameplay is solid with no bugs and so different from any other game out there to date. If I had to compare it to something I would say it is similar to the later Mysts but with music and synths and neon like Tron.


The sound is very well incorporated into the game world and is a (if not the) key feature in the game. It is a great game and a good introduction on using synths to someone who is not that musically inclined but would like to produce some music for personal pleasure, this is due to the game teaching you how to use the synths in the in game open world which is very pretty and gives a solid feeling of being inside a synth machine or computer but it is also abstract enough that I spent a number of hours just wondering around the world looking at it.


The tools that the Devs give you in game in the studio are simplistic but can provide a massive array of sounds and beats. There is also the option once you have completed the game to change the studio area to a more complex almost akin to a number of programs out there. The Devs have done an outstanding job with it all the puzzles are of good difficulty and any that have been troublesome to many of the beta testers they have improved (without making them straightforward) to the feedback given to them by the community and I have an honest feeling they will continue to do this once the game is released. A massive 11/10.
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38 of 40 people (95%) found this review helpful
5 people found this review funny
Recommended
6.2 hrs on record
Posted: June 2, 2015
The marvel of Fract OSC struck me to the point of immobility.

Standing within its world of organic sound and breathing architecture, I often found myself unconsciously freezing in place as a dormant level stirred at my approach, erupting into an awe-inspiring display or neon lights and blaring synths that sent goosebumps down my neck. I’d drift into obscure corners and onto meaningless ledges just to see what was there, being astonished at even the smallest piece of a world that seemed impossibly connected and alive.

Playing Fract made me feel alive in a way I haven’t experienced in a very long time. There’s so much energy in the air, twisting its way through structures and along the ground to create a world that feels as if it’s constantly in motion, adjusting and changing as so many wondrous sound bellow through the caverns. Fract isn’t just a giant synthesizer, it’s raw emotion flowing through bass lines and echoing synths that shakes the very floor you’re walking on. Every structure is its own sound, adding notes to the beautifully coordinated melody that grew with every step I took and machine I set in motion.

Fract provides almost zero assistance in helping you solve its humongous musical contraptions, but the way in which each puzzle builds off the last creates a persistent logic that grows with you as you begin to understand it more. Each object is introduced slowly enough to allow you to learn how to interact with it, but Fract never wastes time repeating itself. Instead it seamlessly folds areas and elements into each other so I was always learning something new even when I didn’t realize it, each puzzle pushing me just enough to feel stimulating but never overwhelming. You can almost feel Fract diligently holding itself back, clearly capable of so much more but always hyper aware of what constitutes “enough” as it cleanly bypasses the excess of many puzzle games with its extraordinarily tight pacing.

Being at the center of all this noise, attempting to conduct instruments I had barely begun to understand, I was struck by how small and powerless I was when compared to the monstrous amplifiers all around me. Even as I was helping to revive a world which had gone to sleep, I couldn’t shake how immensely alone I felt. All around me were unbelievable sights moving to a soundtrack that was itself alive within these walls, but there was no one to share it with; not a single soul anywhere to be found in this isolating cavern.

The feelings Fract created in me were powerful and complicated. The wonders of its design contrasted with the crushing emptiness I found growing within me the more I played. It filled me with amazement and yet all I wanted to do was cry. What was the point of any of this if it meant spending an eternity in solitude?

Fract OSC is everything I expected it to be: clever, gorgeous, innovative, inspired. But I wasn’t prepared for how it would affect me on a deeper level. Without even meaning to I was suddenly examining parts of me I couldn’t make sense of; things I didn’t want to acknowledge or feel comfortable sharing here. It’s an incredible game for so many reasons I’ve sold short here, yet somehow it’s the things I couldn’t see or hear that meant the most.

You can read more of my writing on Kritiqal.
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42 of 47 people (89%) found this review helpful
Recommended
11.6 hrs on record
Posted: October 11, 2014
Static washes out your vision, slowly fading away to reveal large and impossible geometric objects reaching up and out as far as you can see. Dead machinery jutting out from pastel colored ground and rock. You don’t know how exactly you got here nor how any of these strange constructs were built. Your legs carry you across the land, poking your head into enclosed buildings that might as well be giant tombs. At last, you come across an object that emits a strange hum. You touch it and the hum changes pitch slightly in reaction. You move it around and it changes tempo and pitch respective to where it was before. You don’t know what is going on but you sure as hell are nodding your head.

FRACT OSC is like a Fantasia for the dance-minded music fans. IDisneylandM, if we were to give it a genre tag in our music player. Much like the Aggro-crag, every area on the map is color coded according to the theme of the sounds you’ll expect to hear. Pink acts as your bubbling leads, blue as your bass and green as the airy pads. Each instrument has its own dedicated area in the mountain area FRACT takes place in. The leads come from such towering heights, the pads sit in the middle and the bass rumbles on from down below. There are other, smaller details which show themselves to musician and non-musician alike which key you in to each place’s role in the overall scheme of what is going on.

Exploration is only one part of what makes FRACT tick. The tock of the metronome comes from the game’s puzzles. Each instrument has a specific puzzle type which increases in difficulty as you progress through them. The block movement and pad rotation puzzles were fine, but the last laser puzzle in the bass area had me tearing at my hair a while. Overall though I didn’t find any of them prohibitively difficult (though the ease of a majority of them may disappoint hardcore puzzle game fans) and FRACT always allowed me the freedom to leave any given puzzle to explore at my leisure. I would have to come back to it eventually if I wished to see the end, but the lack of pressure really goes a long way towards making even the hardest puzzles easier to forgive. I’m glad to see games like FRACT and Ether One taking this stance.

The way the sound design is so keenly and closely tied together with the puzzles was enough to make me smile as every solution came together. Starting off in an area, the puzzles were very basic and the sounds those areas produced once fully activated reflected that. By the time you’ve hit the end of the series of puzzles for a given color/instrument, the puzzles have added new mechanics over time and the resulting sounds that blast forth have additional layers of complexity. It really builds up a feeling of progression. Instead of a simple pat on the back for completion and shoving the player towards the next goal, you’re allowed to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

As you complete puzzles which slowly teach you vital elements of constructing tunes you unlock various tools to use in the in-game Studio room. The further into the game you get, the more you’re allowed to add and tweak into the track as you work. It starts off small with only a single loop sequencer and bare minimum controls over the tone of the digital instrument. By the time you’ve completed the entire game, you’re handed an impressively beefy DAW that looks as awesome as the sounds you’re able to make with it. While it is still limited and won’t replace your Reason, ACID or even your old copy of Fruityloops burned to a CD from a decade ago, it serves as an excellent introduction into the world of digital audio production. FRACT OSC is really a musical instruction tool masquerading as a videogame. To make things even better, the game has a built in export function and the dev is totally cool with users making commercial tracks so long as the loop work done with FRACT’s samples were all done in-game. A tutorial to mod in your own beats has been promised as well.

By the time I reached the end of my musical journey my ears were ringing and I felt similar to those nights after a gig. I’d emerged from the 8 hour rave session that I conducted for myself and myself alone, nary another ear to hear what reverberated through the cavernous area but my own. With every box aligned, switch flipped and cogs rotated I had brought life to these dead hills. As though Holy Mountain had been redone as a living Demoscene file, I had seen the secrets of this strange land from the very tip of its highest cliff to the very bottom of its deepest trench. I overlooked all that I had conquered and felt that it wasn’t quite enough. I retreated back to my lair, dark and still, slaving away for hours on what was to be my next song. I’d earned the right to control this giant machine and make it bend to my will. If only because I demonstrated that I understood what it wanted.

It wanted to make you move.
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36 of 46 people (78%) found this review helpful
Recommended
28.0 hrs on record
Posted: April 27, 2014
In FRACT OSC, you explore a desolate alien landscape littered with derelict machinery, beautifully realized by simple untextured polygons shot through with neon and displayed using a graphical filter reminiscent of CRT interlacing. Rods of light, pulsating liquid columns, and crystal lattices respond to your proximity with bursts of sound, the stuff of music flowing forth from the ground beneath your feet, waiting to be harnessed and organized.

As you wander, you make inferences about the structure of the world and the function of its technology. You notice visual cues that prompt you to engage your interact mode in specific places, and you discover various pieces of information or interface superimposed upon objects around you. Before long, you begin figuring out how to get things working again, and this abandoned place pumps and glows with activity and color.

In the course of solving the world's puzzles and restoring its infrastructure, you construct bits of music through devices that teach you the basics of music programming while incorporating your solutions into the soundtrack that results from the reactivation of key facilities. Sound is all generated on the fly using a unique music engine that is constantly working in the background, and, as if the game itself wasn't enough, FRACT OSC doubles as a robust synth sequencer with exporting and automated YouTube sharing functionality.

Playing FRACT OSC has been one of the most enjoyable gaming experiences of my life. I have felt so much wonder and joy while discovering its intricately crafted and interconnected world. Please buy this wonderful game.
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