Frederic – Resurrection of Music
Developer: Forever Entertainment S.A.
Platform: iPad, iPod Touch, iPhone (reviewed)
Release Date: February 1st, 2012
Price: $1.99 (currently free), “HD Complete” version: $3.99
Frederic is a rhythm game. There’s a note track, there’s a keyboard… it’s a rhythm game. The music is all based on the more recognisable of Chopin’s works, all revamped and brought into the 21st Century, mimicking a selection of styles and genres from around the world.
So you’re playing as Frederic Chopin, the famous Polish composer and pianist from the 1800’s. You’ve been resurrected from the dead, and people are attacking you with their new-fangled popular music of various genres, ending up in a series of mash-ups of Chopin’s “greatest hits” with a selection of modern musical styles.
As soon as you’re raised from the dead, 3 muse… spirit… woman… things… appear before you and explain the situation, giving you a magical piano and horse and carriage squeezed into a briefcase, which allow Chopin to start playing at a moments notice, and fly around the world.
All the story is… there; but it feels like it’s all just there to provide some reason for Frederic to be able to sample a plethora of genres across the world, and to be able to play the piano. Some ideas are cool, but it’s treading a thin line between awesome and cheesy the whole time, and not always landing on the right side. There are even moments that are downright uncomfortable, as you battle a high Jamaican who explains he suffers with chronic depression, and a band of leprechauns in Ireland.
Okay, so the basic idea is much the same as any rhythm game. There’s a number of piano strings which guide black and white notes down to the keys at the bottom of the screen, where you’ll tap, slide, and hold depending on any extra icons associated with a note. You can drag your finger across the keys to make hitting adjacent keys or even brief scales a little easier.
There was many a time, though, that my finger was too near the edge of a key, which would make a the game tell me off, making a din, docking some points, and resetting the combo meter. This can get pretty annoying. With the keys having a somewhat 3D look to them, the top of each key is pretty thin, which makes it easy to slip onto a different key.
If you manage to get used to the interface’s sensitivity, though, it can be pretty satisfying to nail a particular sequence, but this all kinda hinges on the track you’re playing at the time. If you’re not feeling the music, then the levels can drag and grate on you after a while, which is of course compounded if you don’t complete it on the first try.
While the main interface is simple enough, there is no tutorial level or even an explanation up front to make sure you know what you’re doing. Some of the HUD was absolutely meaningless to me until I sucked it up and went looking in the menus for some help. Fortunately, there are a few slides explaining what everything means and how it works, but unless you know to look there, you’ll likely be missing a few key pieces of information which would have made your life a little easier in playing this game.
As you play through a level, the camera pans around a 2.5D animated backdrop, featuring Chopin, his musical attacker, and a handful of characters and props specific to the part of the world the level is set in. There are a few odd little animations and characters that pop up in the tableau from time to time, though it wasn’t always obvious what they were doing there.
Audio & Visual
Of course, any rhythm game relies heavily on the quality of it’s music. You could argue that the controls have to work well enough to become fluent at playing the “instrument”, but if the music sucks, you won’t care if the controls are the best ever. This game takes the original works of Chopin, simplifies it a little, adds some flavour of whatever the current musical genre is, and spits it out into your earholes.
Did they do this successfully? Well… There were some awesome bits, and there were some not so awesome bits. Some tracks were mostly awesome, and some were not. The quality of the audio was great, and each genre was given it’s fair shake. But some of the compositions just didn’t do it for me. And when they didn’t do it for me, they kinda dragged. It became a chore I had to do to get to the next level, rather than a joyful, fun listen to some cool music. But I must reiterate: there are definitely some cool tracks here; some pieces were really well handled, and did a good job of bringing Chopin’s works to the modern era; but they weren’t all so fun to listen to.
Now, I am aware that one’s musical taste is subjective, and perhaps you’ll find them all delightful renditions of the classics. So I guess it’s up to you, if you want to try this game out or not.
All the dialogue is voice-acted, a nice feature to have in any game. Unfortunately it all falls flat. This may be down to poor writing and the smattering of odd jokes throughout, but the voice work in this game doesn’t help any, unfortunately.
Leaving all that aside, let’s move onto the graphics. The art in this game is really, really nicely done. The cartoony style is cool, sleek, and well realised. Even in the parts where the writing doesn’t make any sense, or a joke completely fails, the art does it’s best to patch everything up. The characters are unique and colourful; the cool bits are cool; the story, such as it is, is well told.
There wasn’t any “real” animations; most scenes consisted of a handful of images sliding across each other, and a mouth opening and closing; but it used what it had to work with really well. It is unfortunate, but in my opinion, this is the only really solid part of this title.
This game was okay. There was some cool bits, there was some cool music, but the quality just wasn’t consistent throughout. I gave it…