Angel Delight: Music Of The Spheres

By Adam Smith on January 7th, 2013 at 3:00 pm.

I have an odd relationship with puzzle games. Actually, it’s quite an ordinary relationship in that I fail to love them if all they offer is a bulging brain, berating and bettering me, but add a fascinating personality and I forget that the whole encounter is based around trickery and one-upmanship. Music of the Spheres is about calculating angles and bouncing projectiles through carefully constructed levels in order to strike moving targets. Except it’s not. That’s how you interact with the game but it’s about Islamic art, and the intersections between mathematics and abstract visual poetry. It also creates haunting music, as the trailer below demonstrates.

My Grandfather’s Clock and Sonny Boy are the two songs most likely to make me think of childhood and crumple like a concertina. The IGF build I’ve played is calming, even when I find myself stuck, and although the game is harmonically constructed the movements of the angels, who dodge and flee, can lead to the threat of chaos. The music and lines resolve into structural contentment quite quickly though. The next video shows more puzzles.

There’s a beauty in the apparent simplicity of the design, which like much that is contemplative is far more complex than it first appears. It’s somehow reassuring to play a puzzle game that is entirely disinclined to frustrate, hoping to create mindful, soothing spaces instead. It’s due out in April and you can learn more here.

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13 Comments »

  1. lordcooper says:

    Are there any Ray Guns?

  2. jonfitt says:

    Oh my goodness. Someone needs to sit those guys/girls down and show them how to make a trailer!

    I would have no idea what it’s about from watching that, aside from that it’s sidescrolling and has bouncy balls.

    • Inverse Square says:

      Hey, I’m the maker of the game!

      And yeah, I had to learn the hard way that the first trailer sucks balls in terms of communicating the purpose of the game. That’s why I made the second one.

      Also you guys! I come to the RPS London meetups! More of you guys should come, they’re dead fun!

      • soco says:

        Congrats on the game, I hope it does really well and makes you a rich money bags. Someday you’ll be able to think about those poor little people on the RPS comment threads and remember them fondly.

  3. sub-program 32 says:

    I thought islamic art could never depict the human form…

    • lordcooper says:

      You thought wrong. I suggest checking things though the magic of google in future. It only takes a few seconds.

    • Inverse Square says:

      You’re not entirely wrong! It is condemned in Islam, usually, to depict nature or human form. That’s why their artists take abstract patterns so seriously. The backgrounds of my game are Islamic, but the angels are from western stained glass (check out the left window here http://fc00.deviantart.net/fs11/i/2006/225/7/f/William_Morris_Glass_by_horai.jpg )

      lordcooper isn’t entirely wrong either though – Islamic artists often bent the rules!

    • Bhazor says:

      I never noticed that Islamic art looks uncannily like my Aunts wallpaper from the 70s.

    • Josh W says:

      Well you are removing the angels from the world with your geometric bullet flicking, so perhaps it is secretly a very iconoclastic game, with the final puzzle involving removing yourself!

    • inawarminister says:

      As a (lay) Muslim, I think I can answer this.

      Basically, in the early days of Islam, the Prophet (pbuh) has condemned the making of images or statues that depict humans or animals (hadith Shahih Al Bukhari, 3:34:318,7:62:110, and 7:73:133) so the mainline of art in Islam is mostly of patterns and calligraphies.

      However, even the Ummayad Caliphs made statues of themselves, some of which survive to this day.

      Nowadays, the only ones banning all images or representations of humans (and animals) are the ultra-strict Salafis (Puritans, basically), while orthodox Sunnis only ban representations of God (swt) and the Prophet.

      I believe the Shiites and Sufis to be far more liberal in this area, so there are images of the Prophet made by them. So Iranians, and early medieval Ottomans and Indians, basically.

      If you want to read more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aniconism_in_Islam

  4. Eddy9000 says:

    Love the idea, working puzzles into patterns sounds great and will definitely pick up. I’m not sure about the constant swinging of the sling (?) on the character animation though, seems a bit too busy.

  5. Shadram says:

    SPHEREFACE!

    … did I do it right?

    I’ll get my coat.

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