Weave Songs, Remake Worlds In Proteus Composer’s Musical Adventure/Toy PANORAMICAL

Otherworldly walking sim Proteus [official site] is very much an RPS favourite: a dreamy, good-natured, no-pressure place many of us retreat to when the shooting and the jumping and the icon-collecting gets too much. Half the reason for Proteus’ joyfully calming effect is David Kanaga’s prettily ambient soundtrack, and how perfectly it fits the evocative, wooly-edged art. In PANORAMICAL, which occupies a place between game and music tool, Kanaga’s compositions move front and centre.

PANORAMICAL is a co-production with Argentine designer and Maker Fernando Ramallo, and also features contributions – both musical and environmental – from folk who worked on games including FRACT, Pixeljunk Eden, Samurai Gunn and Nuclear Throne.

Described as an interactive sensory journey, what you’re doing is altering the environments you see through music, in a sort of composing/painting hybrid. Up to you whether you want peaceful dreamland or cacophonous thumping nightmareland, really. Or you can just explore and listen at your leisure. It is a difficult thing to describe in mere words, so let me show you instead:

There’s also a PANORAMICAL Pro license which lets you use this for DJing or other public audiovisual performances, plus the PANORAMICAL Pod, a custom controller with a load of lovely dials to turn. Want.

It’s quite a lovely thing all told, primarily as something to fiddle with and feel as though you’re creating through simple willpower and low-key experimentation. It’s out on Steam, Humble and Itch.io now.


  1. SamLR says:

    Not sure I’d recommend this, it’s ok but has problems. My biggest complaint is a bug where the UI occasionally stops responding to the space bar (which is used to change ‘scene’).

    Beyond that though it seems to have a “neither fish nor fowl” problem. The scenes created are often cacophonous making it not very mediative and with the 9 axes of control all being cross wired it’s hard to isolate what you do/don’t like but it’s not very ‘creative’ either due to the limited options for composition (the 9 axes again). Additionally for something so abstract it has a very definite flow that it wants to impose on you with some scenes being un-interruptible, this wouldn’t be so bad if they hadn’t given me a headache (infinite zooming).

    The best experience I’ve had with it was at an exhibition, “Now Play This”, where you played it lying on your back on comfy cushions with the visuals projected onto the roof of a tent a few cm from your face. That was lovely. As something on a screen in front of you it’s just a bit too unfocused.

    All that being said would love to see it opened up to more artists for sound/visuals.

  2. rustybroomhandle says:

    I would love to see something like this emerge from the demo scene. The technical proficiency and artistry exhibited by those groups deserve a lot more attention and while I admire their fame being mostly in the scene I feel that us muggles would aspire to greater things if exposed to it more. And that was a run-on sentence of note.

  3. whoistheprotagonistofthehalflifeseries says:

    Id say if you love proteus you’ll probably be quite disappointed by this piece.
    Bought and discarded after 20 minutes of playtime

    • Fiatil says:

      I love Proteus, and love this as well. They’re quite different; this may somehow be even less “gamey” than Proteus. But they’re both very relaxing, and the hook of manipulating music with “player” movement is in both, though much more abstract in panoramical.

      This seems like it will be fun to jump in from time to time, as there is a tremendous amount of variety to be had in the different levels. The dream would be for player made levels, but we’ll see what happens with that.