It’s not often you see relaxing gaming experiences out there. Sure, they’ve become more of a common thing over the recent years, but they’re still widely overshadowed by the obsession of action, and adventure focused titles. So Fugue in Void has come forth to let players breathe and experience an abstract world that has no story to tell, but it still feels like it’s trying to convey something.
The dark world of Fugue in Void is created by developer Moshe Linke, and published by Sedoc LLC for Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms. The start of the game features a ten-minute long intro in which I found myself sat staring at the screen as abstract images played out for longer than I expected. Yet the images in conjunction with the atmospheric music and the fact I still hadn’t controlled anything began to grasp my focus. I started growing bored, confused about possible hidden meanings, and also relaxed.
After what felt like apocalyptical scenes being shown to me, I finally got control of the game and walked towards a large fort like structure. Within that structure lay a large world of strange moments that made little sense. Each event linked to one another with a slowly fading black transitions. You’re never in the same area for long basically. Some areas required a button or four to be pressed to open large stone doorways, but otherwise, I was free to wander around the cold, gloomy halls to my heart’s content.
Fugue in Void seems to have just been mashed together with abstract experiments from the developers mind, the visuals seem to tell hidden meanings.
It’s a surprising walking simulator because it had me constantly feeling like I was supposed to be solving a puzzle, and moments I was thrown into darkness left me with bated breath as I expected a creature of some sort to emerge from the harrowing shadows. But no, the most to happen in Fugue in Void seemed to be strange structures violently spinning, flashing light mirages, and deafening ringing in one section that made me pay more attention…just in case.
While Fugue in Void seems to have just been mashed together with abstract experiments from the developer’s mind, the visuals seem to tell hidden meanings. The haunting flashing cube maze, for example, seems to portray a visualization of panic, whereas the room with a window that slowly turned to bars felt like a representation of feeling so isolated and encased. The dark city I ended up facing felt like returning to the depressing reality after a nightmare and there was also a scene where flashing lights streaked across the screen, leaving me wondering if it conveyed some form of a migraine or psychotic episode.
The way Fugue in Void tells a story is the magic here as the player is left to make their own interpretations from the images they’re seeing. It’s also up to the player if they want to try and understand it and see a story at all, or if they just want to marvel at the hollow looking rooms and squeeze through the claustrophobic stairways.
It’s rather simple looking most of the time with not much going on in regards to textures. The majority of scenes are usually brought to life with post-processing elements such as blooms, and lens flares, while other scenes have a dark, almost noir theme that encases the game in an almost horrific world.
There’s no dialogue, but there are the sounds of my own footsteps, the sounds of floor buttons being activated, and doors opening. The rest of the game relies on atmospheric music, with swirling synths, and droning bass to fill the empty visuals, and each scene seems to host its own track. Honestly, it’s wonderful to listen to, and it’s no wonder the soundtrack has been made available to download for a small fee through the itch.io site.
While I did spend time with the game by exploring the world, it did feel too empty sometimes, and also dragged on. As I already mentioned, the intro was at least ten minutes long and felt far too long, then after that, the rooms are linear with no hidden gems to find to make a second playthrough enticing. The game also lacks a save game function because it has been designed for one session rather than have players return. This makes the unskippable intro experience even more daunting if you just want to jump right into wandering around.
In total though, I completed this in thirty-four minutes.
The way Fugue in Void tells a story is the magic here as the player is left to make their own interpretations from the images they’re seeing. It’s also up to the player if they want to try and understand it and see a story at all
While Fugue in Void labels itself as an artistic audio-visual experience and a walking simulator, I feel like it’s a walking simulator that allows you to wander through the mind of the developer during moments of stress, agitation, solace, calm, and whatever else they experienced in the six months of creating this title.
It’s certainly worth picking up if you’re into games without a primary goal and just want to keep moving forward in what could be mistaken as an interactive visualiser for the soundtrack. It’s a calming, weirdly creepy, experience, and if the intro could be skipped, I’d give it another blast.