A PLAGUE TALE: INNOCENCE – Olivier Deriviere

A Plague Tale: Innocence (regular release)

A Plague Tale: Innocence is a  2019 action-adventure stealth game set in 14th century France. The player takes on the role of Amicia, a teenage daughter of a nobleman who must look after her sick brother, Hugo, as they wander their Black Death-ravaged country in search of a cure for Hugo. Most of the game involves trying to avoid hostile encounters with Inquisition soldiers who are searching for Hugo, and hordes of hungry rats. The game has received mostly positive reviews for gameplay but there is general agreement that the game looks beautiful, particularly the forest landscapes. The music for A Plague Tale: Innocence is written by Olivier Deriviere and marks a reunion between the composer and French video game publisher, Focus Home Interactive (Deriviere composed the music for Focus Home’s The Council and Vampyr). [Read more…]

SPACE 2048 – Arthur Roolfs

Original Review by Alan RogersSpace 2048

Since its creation in the first quarter of 2014, the original version of the video game 2048 has spawned numerous variations. The objective of the game is to create a tile with the number 2048. The gameplay takes place on a grid (usually a 4×4 grid) and the player has to slide numbered tiles to combine them. This number values from each tile are summed and the game is won when the tile-total is 2048. Space 2048, released in September 2014 by RoGame for iOS/Mac OS/Android, has been marketed as “taking the old game into outer space”, where the tiles have become planets and the backdrop to the game features a series of beautiful images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope (HST).

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COLONIES: NEOCIV – Milosz Jeziorski

Original Review by Alan RogersColonies - Neociv

Colonies: Neociv is a video game released by developers Twist-Ed Games for Xbox 360 in 2011. The game takes place in an idyllic colony, Neociv, where the peaceful existence is under threat. We follow Nessa, our buxom heroine, as she moves through a series of point-and-click puzzle games collecting information and picking off enemies in blaster battles. Surprisingly, the bureaucracy of corporate business seems to be a major target for the game as Nessa spends a lot of gameplay time trying to complete a TPS form in order to use an emergency exit. The game is relatively short (typically lasting 2 hours from start to finish) and features lots of still images and 2D gameplay peppered with extended 3D rendered graphics cut scenes. Colonies: Neociv is an Indie game available on the Xbox’s online Marketplace as a download (for the modest sum of £0.69) and isn’t as polished as many of the A-list games I’ve seen, but one aspect of the game that exceeds expectation is the score, written by New York-based composer Milosz Jeziorski.

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ALONE – Rob Allison

Original Review by Alan RogersALONE (full)

Music written for “traditional” video games has come a long way in recent years, with many titles having elaborate orchestral scores. Another exciting aspect of game scoring is the quality of synth-based soundtracks written for games for small, hand-held devices such as smartphones and tablets. Rob Allison’s synth score for the 2-D side-scrolling endless runner game, ALONE, is a fine example of what is being done for the smaller games today. In ALONE, developed by UK-based game studio Laser Dog, the player has control of a small spaceship that zips through a world littered with various obstacles, where you try and amass as many points as possible before being killed. ALONE has had great press reviews, particularly for its gameplay, its minimalist visual design and its fast-paced electronic soundtrack.

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A Composer’s Guide To Game Music – Winifred Phillips

Original Book Review by Alan RogersBook cover

Music for video games has developed over the last 20 years or so as the technology behind the video games themselves has become more complex. Today, many video games contain orchestral scores and have much in common with film scores of the films coming out of Hollywood and beyond. Because of these similarities it’s easy to assume that the issues and challenges faced by the game and film (or TV) music composer are the same. Award-winning composer Winifred Phillips’ music first appeared in God of War in 2004 and she has gone on to compose music for games such as The Da Vinci Code, Shrek The Third, Spore Hero, LittleBigPlanet 2, Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation, and many others. In her new book, A Composer’s Guide To Game Music, Phillips expertly details what’s involved in becoming a video game music composer, highlighting the specific challenges a composer for games faces.. By the end of this excellent book, any reader contemplating a career as a video game music composer will understand clearly the personal and technical abilities required to succeed and anyone with a more general interest in video gaming or how music is used in film, television and video games will better appreciate how different composing music for video games is from any other media type. [Read more…]

SPATE – Mike Raznick

Original Review by Alan RogersSpate

Spate is a platformer game from Ayyo Games set in a surreal “steampunk” world. Visual artist Eric Provan, creator of Spate, has come up with a game that focuses on creating great visuals, mood and atmosphere to support the story. And a major contributor to making the game as arresting as it is is composer Mike Raznick, who has fashioned a score that envelopes the listener (whether they are playing the game or listening to the album), drawing them into the world of Spate. The plot is a simple one: you are Bluth – a private investigator – hired to find out what’s happened to a businessman last seen entering “The X-Zone”. The X-Zone is a group of islands that have been shrouded in mysterious clouds and rain for a number of years. To complicate matters, Bluth’s daughter was one of the many people who went missing (and are presumed dead) when the rains came. [Read more…]

DIVISION CELL – The Audio Grill

Original Review by Alan RogersDivision Cell

Division Cell is a minimalist puzzle game for iOS and Android platforms from new Finnish game studio Hyperspace Yard. The basic idea of the game is to transform asymmetric polygons into symmetrical shapes. In order to do this, the player must tap designated shape borders causing the shapes to change, hopefully making them symmetrical. What makes the game particularly infuriating is that changing one shape can affect other shapes and potentially undoing any good work done already. The entire audio for the game – including the soundtrack – has been created by game soundtrack production company, The Audio Grill. [Read more…]