After Bjork released her last album Biophilia via an app, and the likes of Blur, Noel Gallagher, David Bowie and Rush all making songs available via this means, Radiohead are the latest band to embrace the medium.
The new Radiohead app, or “video game” as some of my more ancient readers may prefer, was released on the 12th February. First the good news: it’s free, so all the band want is your time and attention. From that perspective all I can do is congratulate them, and hope that more bands follow their lead. Band-related video games are all, in their own way, A Good Thing.
I even have fond memories of the afternoon I spent playing Crüe Ball on the Sega Megadrive (like the band it was based upon, it was quite simple and had few hidden layers) and remember the relief I felt at the end when I realised I had only rented the game from Blockbuster instead of spending thirty quid on buying it new. However, it is a shame there hasn’t been more band-based games. Fortunately, I have exclusively discovered a number of similar apps and games that are in the development pipeline. Here are just a few that you may see released in 2014:
- “Blurred Lines” A Grand Theft Auto-style game where you play a hoodlum in a stripy suit who abuses women. You must evade capture by the police, and if caught claim “they were asking for it”.
- “Streetfighter Rocks!” Two player fighting game. Play as characters such as “Mad” Jack White (magically hurls coloured vinyl at garage rock band members), “Looney” Bjork (flies at anyone holding a camera) or “Stoner” Bieber (shouts abuse whilst hiding behind an entourage that appear by magic).
There are even a couple of “indie” style games:
- “Tame Your Impala” A Tamagotchi style game where the user takes a wild antelope and gradually tames it through playing psychedelic records.
- “Pale Green Ghosts”: A Pac-Man style game where a stern looking bearded character chases down an ex-boyfriend with pithy remarks whilst evading capture by cute looking cartoon ghosts.
Radiohead’s game, sorry, app is called “PolyFauna”, and takes the player into a number of different bleak looking landscapes, in which resides, for no rational reason, a red dot. The only other game that involves chasing red dots is the one I play with my cats and a laser pencil. Hours of fun with that one. However with PolyFauna, instead of scrambling around the carpet, you find the red dot on-screen (it isn’t difficult – it’s red) and you then enter the next world and so on. You will be familiar with the concept of being passed from one bleak place to another without any end result or apparent purpose – only to look up after ten minutes to find you are pretty much back where you started, having achieved nothing – if you have ever called the Talk Talk call centre to complain about your broadband service.
Perhaps the fault was mine: you have to navigate by tilting and spinning around, so next time I won’t be playing it on the bus. I got some very odd looks – especially after I drove back into the bus depot at the end of my shift.
An added twist is that you can draw spiky shapes in the sky by touching the screen. The shapes are similar to Nicole Scherzinger in that they float around not actually doing anything, but they look pretty.
The game itself is styled on The King of Limbs, in that I was very excited to get it, but felt somewhat underwhelmed after an initial try out. Hopefully, like the latter album, I will grow to love it…
There is however no truth in the rumour that a number of end-of-level bosses include a large monster made of Spotify logos that rampages through Thom Yorke’s world sucking up all his royalties.