Gaming - Panoramical


The Defective Inspector investigates some of the IGF Indie Award nominees. Here is his Case File for Panoramical...

Continuing with my theme of IGF nominees I bring to your attention this quirky and colourful mind melter that is known as Panoramical. Once again I find myself at wits end as this game was nominated for 3 tasty awards; Excellence in Visual Art, Excellence in Audio and The Nuovo Award. With such a fine repertoire of excellence it seems only fair to look at each section BUT FIRST a brief description.

Panoramical is a psychedelic music driven game where the only goal is to enjoy yourself. By using your mouse, keyboard or even musical MIDI keyboard you are able to shift the visual terrain to your whim. The land you see forming seems to reflect the music style and how you have manipulated it. It’s difficult to express myself appropriately for this game as it’s entirely driven, in my opinion, to my emotional mind-set when I turn the game on. If I am in a rather energetic mood the music feed will be the same, energetic. If I want to chill and be mellow the world will do the same and chillax. That is rather beautiful isn’t it?


Excellence in Visual Art

Earlier I used the word psychedelic to describe this game and for VERY good reason. In the .gif below you can see the visual differences from tiny changes in music and this is strangely empowering while at the same time calming. It also proves the bold and versatile nature of the game and its graphic submersion into… Whatever you see within it like some colourful Rorschach test. There are a variety of levels and each has a different scenario with musical architype. Well… I say LEVEL but calling each of the musical/visual changes a level wouldn’t be accurate, they are sessions into your mind! It’s dangerously close to sound new age but it’s all very… Enlightening. What I find rather amazing is how versatile the game is with such a simple premise. I mean let’s be upfront for a moment, the game is designed on the idea of music changing colours like a digital kaleidoscope and despite it seeming so blunt is really isn’t. Each screenshot I have taken during my gameplay is a work of art, so much so that I have a new screensaver… But I keeping going back for more and keep finding new imagery to enjoy! I’m like an accidental artist wielding a weapon of pure joygasm. I went back to play the game mid-way through writing this article, took a screenshot and it didn’t look the same as my last one. In fact I was allowed to take it as a .gif via its fancy in built visual recording system!


Excellence in Audio

What I truly love about the game is the versatility, I’ve made it clear with the visual but the audio walks down the same path. There are 9 settings which alter terrain but it also morphs, removes and adds musical elements depending on how you shift the setup. I’m no musical genius but I do feel somewhat creative despite the fact it’s a less complex version of mixing DJ discs… That’s… That’s it isn’t it? I don’t know I’m not cool….

Cool or not I appreciate the fact there are a variety of levels which appeals to my various moods and natures. There is one which feels almost zesty like a Mumba while another feels classic music. It’s not so much that it IS classical or Mumba but it’s almost like the background of the track sits within that region, even with my mad mixing DJ-esque sound altering skillz. DJ DI in-da-hooouse

Pink swirl on green

Nuovo Award

The Nuovo Award is given to the innovative game out there so seeing Panoramical appear here is not surprising. Taking two well established senses and toying with them so exquisitely that the pleasure centres of my brain start firing is both a long sentence and a lofty achievement. If you wanted to compare this award to something more relatable here’s my metaphor. The Fernando and David are 2 wild off the cuff cookers who have taken a peppercorn, stewing beef and single onion and turned it into a steak dinner with all the trimmings. That takes an excellent team with skills, the right tools and a disgruntled underappreciated pot-wash. The buffet of the senses is as alluring as it is pleasurable. Also delicious, I want to reintroduce the metaphor… It’s delicious. I feel it’s very hard to do this game justice in words when it’s so visual and musical so please watch the video of unanimous whimsy.

Images - gameplay
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