Ever wondered what running at 140mph feels like? FOTONICA is a first-person game about the thrill of speed and traveling flawlessly through complex environments. FOTONICA is simple, but is not easy: it follows a tradition of arcade games that are easy to pick up and almost impossible to master.
User reviews:
Overall:
Very Positive (470 reviews) - 89% of the 470 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Nov 6, 2014

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Reviews

“It’s a remarkable game, and unlike anything else I’ve played. - John Walker”
Rock, Paper, Shotgun!

“Usain Bolt trapped in a feverish Tron daydream. - Kristan Reed”
8/10 – EuroGamer

“Striking and instantly impressive. - Ben Kuchera”
ArsTechnica

About This Game

Ever wondered what running at 140mph feels like? FOTONICA is a first-person game about the thrill of speed and traveling flawlessly through complex environments.

FOTONICA is simple, but is not easy: it follows a tradition of arcade games that are easy to pick up and almost impossible to master. A multi-layered level design across eight different tracks, together with a procedural endless mode make for a game that is incredibly deep. Think you can outrun your friends? Try the split-screen versus challenges.

The visuals are a treat for the nostalgic player but also for those hungry for new aesthetics. Every pixel is drawn to convey the maximum sense of speed, an exhilarating journey through light and void.

Key features

  • 8 Levels to explore and master.
  • Plus 3 different endless levels to compete for high-scores.
  • Four-player split-screen local multiplayer mode!
  • 20 Achievements to unlock plus game stats.
  • Online rankings.
  • Beautiful, smooth, and unique vector-style graphics.
  • Electronic music by Michael Manning, Nicolò Sala, and legendary composer Baiyon.
  • 4 Difficulty settings to let you play an even faster version of FOTONICA.

System Requirements

Windows
Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows XP SP3 +
    • Processor: 2.0GHz CPU
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: 512MB graphics card
    • Storage: 250 MB available space
    Recommended:
    • Graphics: Pixel Shader 3.0
    • Network: Broadband Internet connection
    Minimum:
    • OS: Mac OS X 10.6.8
    • Processor: 2.0GHz CPU
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: 512MB graphics card
    • Storage: 250 MB available space
    Recommended:
    • Memory: 8 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Pixel Shader 3.0
    • Network: Broadband Internet connection
    Minimum:
    • OS: Ubuntu 12
    • Processor: 2.0GHz CPU
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: 512MB graphics card
    • Storage: 250 MB available space
    Recommended:
    • Graphics: Pixel Shader 3.0
    • Network: Broadband Internet connection
Customer reviews
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Overall:
Very Positive (470 reviews)
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254 reviews match the filters above ( Very Positive)
Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
52 of 57 people (91%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Recommended
22.0 hrs on record
Posted: March 28, 2015
FOTONICA is an adrenaline rush, at the very least. A high speed running game with one button as the sum total of a player’s control. Don’t think of that as a limitation. Quite the opposite. Since this is first and foremost a sensory experience type of game, deriving much from little, it would be unfortunate if even the smallest part of a player’s attention were taken from the screen.

The player, as “runner”, travels very minimalistic landscapes. Some are vaguely identifiable, such as rooms in a sort of building. (The more identifiable the terrain, the faster landscapes seem to go by as the eye/brain connection struggles for context.) The runner also jumps, but I hesitate to call this a platformer. It does have platformer characteristics, such as the pink dots one attempts to acquire by contact. And the varying size and levels of platforms. Some game levels, in fact, are almost entirely platforms. These are generally the more difficult; as players struggle to attain the secondary goal, SPEED.

The primary goal of FOTONICA is scoring points. Every run scores points, even those ending in failure (carefully recorded on the Statistics screen.) Points are composed of distance traveled, dots attained and how much of the distance was in “gold” mode, above 60 mps. (There may be exceptions beyond the lower levels I’ve seen so far.) There are numerous levels, each beyond the first being unlocked through performance (so I hesitate to give too many details.) As well, there are 4 skill levels. Though they have Italian names, I presume them to be Agile, Energetic, Furious and Impetuous. Perhaps someone can clarify. Each game level at each skill level has its own leaderboard. A player can seek their own ranking, overall, or compare with any friends that have played. In addition to Arcade mode, composed of various tracks or terrains to run, there is Endless (presumably as described, though hitting 10,000 points (oddly enough) does indicate “completion”, but not the end. Each Arcade level also has a point of completion in which the player joyously jumps into a world of horizontal lines, not tracks or platforms.) FOTONICA also includes a third mode, multiplayer, which I am unable to comment on at this time.

Each skill level is essentially an increase in speed, requiring different paths and strategies, often seeming almost as if a completely new level of the game involving new terrains. That’s the real excitement of FOTONICA, finding the BEST (perhaps only) path to the end, by exploring all the possibilities at the various speeds. Hints are offered. Sometimes the placement of a pink dot can offer a clue, as can the position of flag-like markers to indicate a jumping point. But be careful, sometimes a dot seems, at least at certain speeds, to sucker you into a dead end move.Very often the appropriate path or action is counterintuitive, such as jumping before maximum speed, in order to land more strategically. Or kicking off instead of running, for a similar purpose. Strange as it may sound, all movement is, as mentioned earlier, controlled by one button, ANY button. But that button does even more. It also controls landing from each leap, presumably to provide a smoother, less momentum disrupting transition. When at some point a leap goes too far, “the button” will also act to land the runner sooner (though at a cost to speed) to avoid leaping into space, the most common conclusion to a run. (After two days I have nearly 1,000 such “space leaps”.)

In real life I can’t run without a price, and have been severely limited in doing so for about 40 years. Perhaps that increases my enjoyment of this game. For others with limitations this game is nearly perfect with its simplicity of control and color. It also offers a feature by which a player can offset the timing of their input, in either direction, by 2 degrees each. This feature certainly deserves examination by any player, impaired or not.

The achievements are interesting and esoteric. One, in fact, is a total mystery, and the developers AREN’T talking. Ultimately what’s not to love in a game that gives an achievement for a huge number of face plants at high speed? (Which, incidentally, frequently leads to new discoveries.)

A great game to be played with or without external controls, for a minute or for hours. Portrait mode is suggested, though you’ll need familiarity with the menus first, as it seems to have been an afterthought. Perhaps not the greatest of its type, but a darn good one that I certainly suggest, especially if it’s still so cheap. Hope to see you there.
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48 of 54 people (89%) found this review helpful
Recommended
10.1 hrs on record
Posted: November 27, 2014
Fotonica is endless runner perfection in a most blissful series of beautifully crafted lightspeed stages, the warm vector lines and hallucinatory neon waves that illuminate from the sides of your vision like some kind of adrenaline induced euphoria. When you finally reach that zen-like state of focus things begin to speed up even more, the colors and movements are intensified for a wonderful audiovisual overload that sets it apart from the rest.

The music comes from a plethora of incredible artists (including the very talented Baiyon of Pixeljunk Eden fame) and ranges from shimmering, gorgeous soundscapes to heavy pulsing electric rhythms with infectious bass and they compliment the array of different environments and backdrops you'll encounter between each visually shifting level perfectly. The minimalistic yet abstractly complex interconnected series of lines in the classic vector style needs to be seen in motion and lends itself to the very reminiscent feel from the Death Star trench run section of Atari's Star Wars that most endless runners give.

Fotonica moves away from the single boring stretch of hallway players may be used to from other games in the endless runner genre, instead giving us varying heights of platforms. The player character runs at increasingly faster speeds with the holding of a single button, and releasing causes you to bound into the air and leap over gaps in the broken pathways before you. Aiming and timing your landings is the key to success, and overshooting your jump by even the slightest is enough to ruin a good run. The longer you keep your momentum up the faster you go, and the more complex these breaks and gaps in the trail become as they stretch out to seemingly infinite lengths.

The game features two main singleplayer modes including Arcade and Endless as well as a split screen Versus mode that makes for some great living room multiplayer. Arcade mode features eight stages of increasing difficulty as shorter, more rapid platforms are thrown at you forcing you to think on your feet. As you fly and leap past these deadly gaps you collect various score increasing orbs tucked in hard to land spots, spicing up how score chasers will approach the leaderboards. Endless mode is just as it sounds, giving players who have already mastered the several Arcade mode stages and want to put their endurance to the ultimate test.

You'll run again and again, jumping from cascading catwalks to other layers of psychedelically colored platforms only to watch your arms flail in terror as you plummet to your death. When you get back up again and check your score against your friends, you'll run again with reinvigorated motivation and eventually find that ultimate "Runner's High". From the incredibly creative minds behind MirrorMoonEP, Fotonica further proves that Santa Ragione has the potential to craft unique and memorable experiences in a multitude of genres and stands as what is most likely my "Runner of the Year" due to attractive, straightforward and addictive design.
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43 of 53 people (81%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
5.1 hrs on record
Posted: November 6, 2014
There’s a sublime beauty driving Fotonica at all times.

It’s simple vector graphics twist and contort into images and designs which far succeed the simplicity with which they’re drawn, even more impressive in motion as you speed through levels barely having time to take it all in. The artistry and style expressed in these moments is at times stunning and always stimulating, mesmerizing and drastically different in tone and setting in each passing scene. Minimal sound design serves as a constant reminder of the speed and velocity with which you move, being both an invigorating source of feedback when you successfully land a jump and make it to top speed, and a sudden jolt should you miss and slam headfirst into a platform before beginning a fall into nothingness. Being in this world is in itself something of a wonder and a thrill, though one that constantly wishes to throw you out before you have a chance to behold all there is to see.

Controlled via a single button, Fotonica is an runner which compensates for its simplicity in design with challenging, extremely fast, multilayered levels with a very small margin for error. Finding the best paths and secrets within each level is an interesting and engaging element that extends your goal beyond the omnipresent fear of missing a jump and falling to your doom, and an aspect I would have liked to have seen more focus put upon besides effecting your score. Successfully making your way through these levels is invigorating, but more often than not it falls into punishing loops of trial and error, punctuated by occasional success as you incrementally make your way through levels memorizing your path and planning your jumps to the exact second.

It’s a challenge that’s certainly passable in time, but one which rarely feels fair. The monochromatic environments are often difficult to tell apart from the background and the draw distance painfully short, making judging distance and timing jumps frustrating and tedious. With how exact jumps tend to need to be to land, not having enough input to make the call of when to jump is a huge detriment to the experience.

Split into just ten very short levels (though it will of course take you longer to clear them at first), Fotonica feels like almost a prelude to a larger game. Its lacking so much content as to feel empty and possibly even unfinished, leaving me wondering what I was intended to do after completing them all in only an hour or so. The endless mode is a rather disappointing and throwaway addition, ditching the involved multifaceted platform layouts from the arcade mode for bland, single platforms which I grew tired of traversing almost immediately.

The multiplayer mode actually fixes my biggest issue with the game, that being its relentlessly punishing nature, by only setting you back a short way when you fail and then making the challenge about being the first to get to the end instead of memorizing and clearing levels on your own. Sadly it’s local only, and I doubt many will sit down with a group to spend much time with it, but the one button control scheme does mean there’s no issue of not having enough controllers as everyone can play with a single keyboard (or gamepad, if you’re dexterous enough).

I have a lot of problems with Fotonica, ones which fundamentally hurt my enjoyment of the game and have me incredibly confused on if I believe it’s worth anyone’s time to bother with. In that same instance though I’m reminded of just how artistic and imaginative running through these levels are, which caused me to continue playing far after I stopped having any great amount of “fun”. Is visual design alone enough to carry the game? I’m not sure I could give you a sincere answer, but even now I’m finding myself drawn back into it, no matter how loudly every other aspect is telling me to leave.

Full disclosure: FOTONICA was reviewed using a copy of the game provided by the developer. You can read more of my writing on Kritiqal.
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39 of 57 people (68%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
12.7 hrs on record
Posted: November 6, 2014
EN
Impression :
v. 2
Photorealism, fluid or gravity physics, lighting refraction or diffraction, facial animation ...
(I played the game as a beta tester for the extended Steam edition, 8h+)
By many aspects it feels like the run for the closest description of reality is over* — even though human eye can still distinguish artificial from realty. So beside story-telling, what's left for creators to conquer ? VR probably and on the other hand I'd say “Descontruction”.
FOTONICA belongs to the last category. Using the endless running theme, FOTONICA is one of those game that masterfully recreate specific feelings thanks to great care for complementarity between motion, pace and sound.

Your eyes shall always try to predict what's beyond game's horizon, your mind will stumble and fall many times before it catches the “one-key” control. One unique original track for each level - mostly from minimal genre — even close to neural beats sometimes — brilliantly emphasize the global idea behind FOTONICA: Simplcity, the reprensation of scene only using white lines on deep black background.

Proceduraly generated level? In the case of FOTONICA I'd say : irrelevant. Still 3 “truly” endless runs await you. But you don't play F. for endless ...!

But pragmatically what does Fotonica offer? Jump and land, many alternative routes will be offered to you — creating the most effective one is rather complex. Goal? Achieve great speeds, never lose acceleration by hurting something or by satying in the air for too long while jumping. You'll need to pick-up purple patch, the faster you go while grabbing, the more marks you spare.

> 8 “handcrafted” levels >< 3 types of Endless >< 4 difficulty >< tweak your visual experience in option >< Steam-wide ladderboards >< split-screen multiplayer >< sharp & polished experience (so far, 9h)
- -Smithfield
Ajoutez-moi, si…!
Critiques:Les règles
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
20 of 25 people (80%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
16.0 hrs on record
Posted: November 8, 2014
Incredible. Addictive. Psychedelic. Ingenious. I could use a lot of words. But it all comes down to this. This game has the best gameplay i have seen in years, and the overall experience is a great rush of enthusiasm. And that's what a game should be all about. I think i am in love.
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16 of 20 people (80%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
9.8 hrs on record
Posted: March 18, 2015
FOTONICA is a supremely well-done game. Graphics, music, and UI are all superb and easy to navigate. You'll never be stuck with only one world or level or difficulty setting. You're not even stuck with the hands! And if you're worried about a game that only requires one key to play being too easy.. don't be. Timing is everything!

I enjoy playing this on my iPhone.
I enjoy playing this on my 11 inch Macbook Air.
HOWEVER.
If you are able to sync your games to a big screen tv, FOTONICA is a must. I was playing in Cadorna and was suddenly straight up 2001: A Space Odyssey spacetime/dimension traveling.
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28 of 43 people (65%) found this review helpful
7 people found this review funny
Recommended
23.3 hrs on record
Posted: June 10, 2015
The PC version of the Photon is essentially the one who has known the game in 2011 has already been able to appreciate, together with the additions that we have described and the presence of some new purpose and configuration possibilities. The news does not seem to be able to unbalance the opinion of those who have got to try it at the time, but the arrival of Steam for this title certainly sounds as further confirmation of the quality of the project. Photonics is the classic title that you either love or hate, launching in the first case in wild ride in search of the perfect score, using occasionally the local multiplayer to give life even to some match in the company.
Photonics is perfectly at home on iOS, environment which allows him to better express the absolute minimalism of its control system keeping the distinctive graphic style. Original, challenging and with content height, Photonics is not, however, a product suitable for anyone: it is permissible to imagine that only the most hardcore users will be able to appreciate the gameplay ruthless and bold design, while casual gamers tend to side They could not find anything significant in this.
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19 of 27 people (70%) found this review helpful
8 people found this review funny
Recommended
9.5 hrs on record
Posted: January 9
HEY ONE FINGER DEATH PUNCH IMMA LET YOU FINISH BUT FOTONICA GOT ONE OF THE MOST SATISFYING SINGLE BUTTON GAMEPLAYS OF ALL TIME

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

lul but all jokes aside tho I play this game on my phone and absofreakinlutely love it, so naturally I just had to try it out on my PC and as expected its even more awesome. The port is just fantastic, runs @ a constant 144hz, comes with a bunch of options which lets you distill the visuals to 1980s computers graphics so it will literally run on a toaster if you so wish, as well as offering 2 alternate renders though neither of which are as sexy as the original IMO.

The only downside to Fotonica is that the default music isn't that great, its kinda just ambient sounds or just electronic noises which doesn't really fit in with the mostly fast paced gameplay, so I suggest just muting the in game music and playing your own(PD2 soundtrack ftw).

d-d-d-d-d-thats all folks!
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13 of 16 people (81%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
Recommended
4.6 hrs on record
Posted: March 27, 2015
Pros:
+ Sick design
+ Great soundtrack
+ Multiplayer
+Trippy as f#ck!

Cons:
- Needs more modes/variety
- Not syncing with the mobile version

8/10
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13 of 16 people (81%) found this review helpful
Recommended
17.3 hrs on record
Posted: November 10, 2014
FOTONICA is to Mirror's Edge what Antichamber is to Portal, only to a lesser extent. It strives to capture the same sense of speed and momentum while remaining visceral and intuitive by simplifying it's controls to a single button.

FOTONICA thrives of the complexity of its levels and the best parts of its gameplay only emerge at higher difficulties. When traveling at incredible speeds with multiple paths ahead of you the game loses the feeling of platforming and truly starts to emulate the euphoric velocity fueled fever dream it sells its self as.

The elegant fluidity of its single button controls shine in these moments, allowing you interact with the game in a responsive and satisfying way while remaining immersed. Unless you have on the input delay. Seriously, the input delay "interferes" with the experience in the same way a frying pan to the back of the head "interferes" with meditation.

So far I only have a little more than an hour clocked in the game, so I can't speak to its continued ability to induce the much sought after state of abstract techno zen. However I'd say that hour alone was easily worth the $7.49.
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Recently Posted
sad_machine
4.7 hrs
Posted: September 11
This is what my dreams look like.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Real
0.6 hrs
Posted: September 10
It's like Super Mario Bros, but in 3D Vector.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Noise.
25.0 hrs
Posted: August 27
Hi, temple run.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
MadMynah
0.5 hrs
Posted: August 27
I feel as though this is a game that was either developed whilst high, or in an attempt to get the audience to be high.

In either case, I don't get it and never will.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
hobueesel
2.0 hrs
Posted: August 23
you probably need some proper psychoactive drugs to enjoy this game fully however it's one of the nicest one button games even without it.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Nolaan
0.6 hrs
Posted: August 13
Great little game, amazing music and it gets better with every level. Small masterpiece - 8/10
Helpful? Yes No Funny
johnfaber2
0.8 hrs
Posted: August 2
It's incredible how much you can suck at a game where you literally just run in a straight line and jump.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
<GBU> Fancy Bear
0.7 hrs
Posted: July 31
It's a pretty simple game; you run forward, occasionally jump and enjoy the thrill of various colors and speed.

Pros:
+ Music is pretty dope
+ The colors are nice to look at without being too gaudy
+ Multiplayer
+ Easy to pick up

Cons:
- Repetitive, not much besides using 1 button
- Not worth $10 tag (paid $1.50 as of 7/31/16), maybe $5, but not $10
- Music choices, while nice, are limited.

Overall 6.5/10, would reccomend on sale.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
finds-them-and-kills-them
1.5 hrs
Posted: July 31
Wow, this art project has gameplay on it!

Amazing, minimalist one-button runnner, I really like this game. Gameplay wise, the game is challenging, very different from other one-button runners (ie, canabalt), gameplay in FOTONICA is about rhythm and inertia, more so than avoiding obstacles.

But where this game shinnes is in it's music and graphic concept. It's very well integrated, very well thought out. Trully a pleasure to watch if you like minimalism, 70's or 80's Sci-Fi or 1920's bauhaus or die stijl design schools. The music i great, really fitting the general concept.

I don't get why some reviews talk about this game as "good for a phone game", I recomend to play this in the biggest screen you got.

On the down side, it might get repetitive over time, but that's true for most infinite runners.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Cpt Downs
1.4 hrs
Posted: July 28
Great fun mini game with fantastic music
Helpful? Yes No Funny