Circuits is a musical-based puzzle game from developers Digital Tentacle. Your goal is to put together the pieces of the puzzle to progress, which are parts of a song you must reconstruct on the circuit in front of you. With a soundtrack by David Garcia Diaz and breath-taking visuals, Circuits is a fresh take on the puzzle genre and will no doubt impress anyone who plays it.
When trying to solve a puzzle, there are many different variations and ways of composing a track but only one is correct. Having an ear for music will certainly help you out, especially when trying to differentiate major and minor keys, but do not be turned off if you are less experienced than others when it comes to that type of thing – not only is Circuits very accessible, but you will more than likely learn a thing or two about music while playing. It’s not just “place the musical circles in the correct position”; for example, you may have to loop a certain circle X amount of times.
The most common example would be looping a drum beat, although you may need to loop a certain melody a number of times until it changes. You can loop groups of musical circles together and it makes the visual of the level’s circuit look superb. There is a certain track where you have to reconstruct an arpeggio and loop it a certain number of times, which ends up being a treat for both the eyes and ears. It keeps the game fresh, the puzzles unique, all while not overdoing anything in the slightest.
Sometimes, knowing what component goes where can be a challenge when playing the song and trying to hear what you want to hear, so to help, you can choose to listen to different layers of the track. That will mute the rest and you will only hear the layer you chose to hear. Sometimes you can hit a block in the road when trying to solve a puzzle; you just cannot hear where you went wrong. Luckily, there is a hint button that will mark the misplaced musical circles, and another that will place a musical circle in its correct position.
The most important aspect of this game is the soundtrack. Digital Tentacle have said that they “wanted to make a game that gives the player an insight into how music is created and makes listening the core part of the experience”, and they have done exactly that. The music was composed and orchestrated by David Garcia Diaz, who’s previous work with games includes Deadlight and the upcoming PlayStation 4 title, Rime.
The arrangements embrace many genres, all while keeping an electronic tone for each. There is very ambient electronica, some heavier dubstep tracks and even some mammoth orchestral moments that all manage to immerse you fully into the game. Not only do you have a sense of relief for completing a difficult puzzle, but knowing that you reconstructed that colossal tune is more satisfying than you would imagine. While the creators have said they wanted to give people insight into how music is created, you will come out of this experience with not only an understanding of music composition, but a massive appreciation for it.
The aesthetic is fantastic. While being quite minimum in its visuals, “to not disturb the focus of the game”, Circuits has a certain charm about it. The visuals tie in to the electronic theme the game carries. When you click play to hear your newly recomposed songs, the energy is flowing through the circuit and lighting up the components, and there is nothing quite like it. The artwork is as colourful and as dynamic as the music. While music is the key element in this game and does take centre stage, the visuals can stand on their own merit, which is an impressive feat.
While Circuits is brilliant in almost every sense, it is fairly short. I finished it quite quickly – most puzzles took about 3-5 minutes, with some more intricate ones taking approximately 5-10 minutes. With only 25 puzzles, as much as I enjoyed every one of them, I am holding out in the hope that there will be more tracks released because this game deserves it. You can even set a personal challenge to not split the tracks up into layers and complete them while having every layer selected.
VERDICT: Overall, Circuits is an outstanding puzzle game that is sure to immerse any player who chooses to experience its sheer brilliance, with its only major problem being the length. Combining colourful and radiant visuals with an exceptional, contemporary soundtrack that both impresses and excites players, this is one of the finest puzzle games that you will play – not because its difficult (which depends on the player’s knowledge of music theory), but because it is an immersing, profound experience that is equally as rewarding as it is exhilarating.
SUPERB. This is the mark of greatness, only awarded to games that engage us from start to finish. Titles that score 9/10 will have very few problems or negative issues, and will deliver high quality and value for money across all aspects of their design.
Review code provided by publisher.