Few games begin as subtly as Circuits, a music-based puzzle game. The first thing seen is the developer logo as it seamlessly blends into the menu screen – with only two options. Simple. Brilliant. In the same time frame, a slow, halting, soft and ethereal melody trickles out. Clicking on the “Play” button brings up the game levels screen which is also very cleanly designed, which makes the next steps easy to take.
Circuits is the first game developed by “Digital Tentacle”. And, it presents a whole new approach to the meaning of a game. Typically, games are visually focused, but this is aurally focused, unfortunately for the tone-deaf. The purpose of this game is to piece together a song with musical circles, which are music fragments. There are three types of music circles, and they each go into a specific place in the song-puzzle. To make the game even more of a challenge, a music circle can be put on repeat. Before the musically-challenged pass this game over, know that there are layers to divide the three types of music circles; which makes the game actually doable.
David Garcia Diaz, the composer does a fine job with the composition. However, the music selection is narrow, and if this type of music isn’t your cup of tea, Circuits will be hard-pressed to hold onto your interest. And, even if Circuits does keep your interest, as in my case; the repetitive visual aesthetics, bland color palette, and the singular music genre will slowly erode at your excitement for this new kind of game. Granted, a large attraction point for Circuits is its simplistic style, but something has to be done about the repetitiveness. Part of the game’s charm is its sheer novelty. However, after your first play-through, you won’t really want to play it again unless you’re an avid fan of Chipzel.
The problem with the visual aesthetics is that the entire game is in gray, with a few smatterings of white, black, and the purple, red, and yellow of the music circles. When the music plays, the visuals are so static, my attention begins to wander off. The game is named Circuits, but it doesn’t emulate any of the intricacies and wonders found in a real electrical circuit. Honestly, this game could have been called “Flowers” or some other random name, with flower petals for music circles, and some weird root system for the lines connecting the music circles.
All in all, Circuits is a solidly made game to be proud of, especially as the first. It has a lot of potential as a videogame. And, this game as a program has many different potential directions it can expand in, especially in the musical education department. By playing this game, I could better understand how music fit together as a whole and in subparts.
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