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Tune In, Zone In, Synesthesize: Quadrant

Duff duff duff

Music-based rhythm games: I love them and I am terrible at them. I find trying to synchronise my meatsack consciousness with audio and visual stimulus tremendously compelling. Happily for me, I've just been introduced to quadrant [official site].

First things first: this game is still in development, and yep it's in Greenlight. However, there's also a playable demo that's actually fun.

Cover image for YouTube video

I had my doubts initially as the trailer, whilst showing off the game's visuals and some of its music, didn't give much indication of how it's played. Unless you're inherently better at pattern recognition than I am, I suppose. All became clearer once I snagged the demo.

Players rest their fingers over the W, D, O and K keys (though they can be remapped) and hit them in time with the beat as the medium square moves into each quadrant of the largest square. The small square is simply an indicator of where the medium square is going to move next.

Sounds easy, right? Well, not for me! But there's no shame in failure. That's what my mother always said.

The game's animations and visual effects advance the better you perform, so as you start out everything is very clean, simple and smooth. As your streak starts to build the colours will begin to shift, the movement of the squares will become more complex, which is simultaneously a reward for good performance, serves to draw you deeper into the experience, and risks distracting you from tracking those all-important quadrants. As with most good rhythm action games, it helps to move your body to the beat.

undef, the German indie dev who is working on quadrant in his spare time, says that the design of quadrant essentially emerged from his lack of drawing skills - so he needed to come up with an idea that circumvented that. The evolving visuals that he's designed are intended to absorb players into a meditative state, whilst keeping them just stressed enough that they're focused on the patterns they need to follow.

Quadrant is supposedly just a few months away from being finished. My top streak in the demo song is 76, which is easily beaten, I'm sure. Here's hoping for a good selection of songs in the finished game.

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About the Author
Shaun Green avatar

Shaun Green


Writes music, book and film reviews at www.nostalgiaforinfinity.com. Writes about videogames at www.arcadianrhythms.com. Plays guitar in www.wrecktheplacefantastic.co.uk. Occasionally sleeps.