Thursday, November 27, 2014

Indie Impressions - Fotonica


Now Available on Steam

Developed by Santa Ragione

 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 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 uselessly 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 MirrorMoon EP, 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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