While the App Review remit covers any and all apps, I’ve generally focused on games, though I’ve been known to go off on bizarre tangents encompassing bubble wrap, a flashlight, and even the music of a Californian string quartet.
Here I’m checking out – I don’t know what the heck it is – an “experimental collaboration” between popular beat combo Radiohead and Universal Everything, a “UK-based digital art practice and design studio”. I speak of PolyFauna, available for free from the App Store and Google Play.
There’s no gaming here; no endless runner, no jewel-matching puzzler, no first-person shooter, no in-app purchases… nothing like that.
What we have, in PolyFauna, is an audiovisual experience, where your smartphone or tablet display acts as a “window into an evolving world”.
Incidentally, you’ll probably want to fire up PolyFauna on a tablet to get the full effect, while popping in headphones and standing in a dark room will further heighten the experience. For serious.
Uhm, so, that still doesn’t explain what PolyFauna is. Let’s fire in a gigantic screenshot to kill some time and I’ll meet you below.
Hello again. Yes, so, PolyFauna is perhaps best described as a first-person acid trip simulator, or F-PATS for short.
PolyFauna’s landscape includes the likes of trees and hills and what appears to be rain, while an ever-evolving assortment of shapes swirls around.
You can tilt to look left and right, while actually turning your whole body will set you off in a new direction. Again, PolyFauna is best experienced while standing up.
Furthermore, you’re invited to draw shapes on the screen, while focusing on the red dot whisks you into a new area.
If the visual stuff doesn’t send you into a trance, the audio almost certainly will, it being comprised of “the sounds” of the song “Bloom” from the album “The King of Limbs”. Er, neither of which I’ve heard.
Still, that didn’t hinder my enjoyment of PolyFauna. It’s an interesting distraction for 30 minutes or so, and I felt pretty chilled throughout. Indeed, I imagine the experience would be enhanced significantly with the addition of illegal thingies. “Woah, man, this is the best thing EVER.” Disclaimer: don't do illegal things.
On the poop side, it’s ultimately a bit pointless (more a tech demo than anything else), while the window for drawing shapes is only around a second or so. Oh, and I encountered a weird issue at one point where it went super-laggy.
But hey, PolyFauna is free, so no harm done if you check it out and decide it’s a load of nonsense.
- Weird stuff is good
- Pretty chilled
- Be real quick drawing those shapes
- Potentially laggy
- Ultimately pointless (but what isn’t?)
Summary: PolyFauna is an interesting audiovisual experiment. Turn off the lights, pop in your headphones and prepare for the smartphone/tablet equivalent of an acid trip.
iOS compatibility: Requires iOS 7.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.
Android compatibility: Ice Cream Sandwich or above.