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Nibblers Game Audio Review

Review by Alyx Jones

Developer

Rovio Entertainment Ltd.

AUDIO TEAM Music composed by Salla Hakkola

Musicians Lauri Wuolio – Cupola Kirsi Ojala – Recorders, Flutes Sami Kurppa – Clarinets Kukka Lehto – Violin Juho Kanervo – Cello Tuomo Huhdanpää – Percussion Salla Hakkola – Harp Henri Sorvali – Bass, Guitar

Produced by

Henri Sorvali & Salla Hakkola

Recorded at

Finnvox Studio

Sound engineer

Mikko Oinonen

Lead Sound Designer Pasi Pitkänen

Voice Acting Director & Additional Sound Designer Eero Koivunen

Voice Actors Antti LJ Pääkkönen Heljä Heikkinen Pasi Ruohonen Pasi Pitkänen Eero Koivunen Elvira Björkman Jakke Viitala

Reviewed On: Android

Nibblers is a new game from the creators of Angry Birds. It is described as “a Candy Crush clone withGameplay_beach over 200 levels, but of course games such as Bejewelled existed before Candy Crush and other gem swapping games before that. It’s a well known, liked and used game concept. The game follows small fish Coral and friends as they journey through a land, defeating lizards and eating fruit! It was released this month on Android and iOS.

Character_Lizard_v1Some of the individual characters have really cute and quirky voices. The lizards especially have a cheeky, slightly dark cackle that adds nicely to their personality as the “baddies” of the game. The fish’s voices feature in their special moves in a playful tone and often alert the player to game states such as “Fruit Frenzy!”.

Sound design is used heavily and to good effect. In the menu selection, there’s lovely bird and insect sounds to create the soundscape of an exotic forest. Most of the characters special moves are accompanied with sonic swooshes and flourishes that add to the overall fun atmosphere.

The music itself is really nicely produced and fits perfectly in this kind of fun and long mobile game (200+ levels remember!). However, the audio implementation really leaves a lot to be desired. Firstly when in the level selection/map there’s a good 5-10 seconds where there’s just the forest soundscapes, then suddenly music comes in. It doesn’t work, the gap feels unnatural, there should really be music, either fading in from the start, or beginning when we enter the level selection, or even just the soundscapes. Secondly, there’s no interactivity from the music once a level is started. It’s a standard loop, that within itself is a nice track (as a standalone) however within gameplay doesn’t make complete sense. Because the track is just a loop, the music can often change in ways that doesn’t relate to what’s going in in the level. For example, I could be furiously swapping fruits to create big combo’s, but the music could be at the beginning of the track with only one layer of instrumentation and a very relaxed vibe. Equally I could not be doing anything, just pausing to have a think, and the music can be building up as if something in the level is happening. It is perhaps a little sad to see a company as big as Rovio not investing more into reactive audio.

Overall Pasi Pitkänen and Salla Hakkola do a really great job on the sound design and music, it just would have been nice to see more variety in its uses and implementation. In a game like this, where the players are likely to spend a considerable amount of time playing, taking a loop based approach to music can become quickly boring and repetitive.

To see Nibblers in action:

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Alyx Jones
A Composer for Video Games and Head Writer for The Sound Architect, I particularly love indie games and the emotional experiences games can bring, that stay with you for a lifetime. For me the soundtrack is the biggest part of this, and that's why I do what I do!
http://www.alyxjones.co.uk

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