When Q-Games announced the next PixeJunk game, called 1-6, would be released on Steam for PC, many of the studio's fans complained.
Neither music game nor music software, PixelJunk 4AM is perhaps best described as a music toy. Somewhere buried beneath the ambient visuals and arcane interface, Q Games' latest is built upon the well-worn fundamentals of multi-track mixing. But rather than providing players with faders and channels and the other familiar features of the mixing desk, 4am makes esoteric use of Sony's Move motion controller. It casts the player as a sort of orchestral conductor, wielding the controller as a baton used to pluck sounds from the air and tap out rhythmic stabs that layer on top of the soundscape.
Meanwhile, in gathering an audience from across the globe to eavesdrop on your creations in real time, pairing players with listeners, 4am has ambitions toward becoming a virtual concert space in which we can express ourselves musically, albeit using the library of sounds and effects provided. In terms of back-of-the-virtual-box features, 4am has a lot going for it - although it'll take you a little while to grasp how it all slots together beneath its inscrutable texture and presentation.
Reach down through the tie-dye psychedelic visuals to that core and, in essence, 4am is a four-track music mixer, with one channel proving a bass loop, another drums, another rhythm and the last the melodic synth line. Each of these channels can be played in isolation or in unison, dropped in an out of the mix with a double tap of its corresponding button on the controller. Hold down the button to solo the track, silencing the other three to, for example, highlight the bass or hi-hats for a few bars, then tap all four buttons in unison to bring the band back.
PixelJunk 4am, Q-Games' eccentric music creation game, struts onto PlayStation Network on 16th May, Sony has announced.
As detailed on the PlayStation Blog, the latest in the Kyoto developer's esoteric PS3 download series lets you mix music by manipulating the various instrument tracks and adding loops or samples.
There's also full Move support, a visualiser that you can use with your own tracks and various online features.