Circle of Fifths – Infinite! Review

We’re no strangers to simple-styled — 100% IAP free — advertisement supported games here at iFanzine, but it’s quite rare when we see one whose entire aim is to help people better understand musical theory. The “Circle of Fifths” is an important concept which demonstrates that by placing the 12 primary tones in a hierarchy, wherein each is arranged by pitch according to equal tempered fifths, a perfect perpetual loop is formed. With this knowledge in hand — and deliberately taking cues from 2048Caleb Hugo set out to make a highly addictive puzzle game centered around musical theory, which — with Kickstarter’s help — is how Circle of Fifths – Infinite! (out now, free) sprung to life!

screen568x568When the game begins you are presented with a minimalist 4×4 grid in which two notes — packaged inside square tiles — are available, after which swiping in any of the four cardinal directions results in every tile present moving the maximum possible distance. After all of the tiles have slid as far as allowable in the direction you swiped, a new tile — with the same note as the lowest note currently available — will be added to the playing field on one of the currently still unoccupied squares. The immediate concern you might have noticed with this arrangement is that soon enough the entire playing field will be filled to the brim with note-tiles, after which you won’t be able to make any more moves.

Thankfully — however — there is a solution to the never-ending onslaught, as any time two of the same notes are rammed into each other — which can be done even if there was no empty spaces between them — they’ll combine into one. This newly formed block will be the next note up when traveling the eponymous “Circle of Fifths” in a clockwise manner, serving as an ever constant incentive to fully-memorize the ever famous musical circle. Of course — in order to make the game accessible to musical newbies — these blocks are also color coded as well, going through a color palette progression as you make your away around the “Circle of Fifths” (you may select the palette used in the game’s menu).

While this alone would have been effort enough for some creators, Caleb Hugo has gone the extra mile by including little touches such as having each newly formed note played out in full audio (or — when multiple notes are creates simultaneously — a chord instead). Furthermore, to help with the fact that — due to various historical reasons — we sometimes have two different names for the exact same note, Circle of Fifths – Infinite! will sometimes throw things at you such as C♯ and D♭note tiles. Thankfully — whenever something like this happens — both of these tiles will still have the exact same color, thus not ending the game’s accessibility to anyone whom isn’t yet a full on music major.

2014-09-13-23.24.381Although presented with almost no frills — other than the musical tones that keep playing — the end result of all this is one devilishly challenging game, that is highly addictive to boot. Players will need to employ much strategy — and downright cleverness — in order to keep the battlefield from quickly erupting into an unsalvageable mess, especially since you usually can’t ever be sure where the newest added tile might decide to join the fray. Furthermore — exclusively unlocked only for those whom can score over 150% in the primary mode, as determined by full trips around the circle — is the extra-devious “Circle of Fourths” mode, wherein players try to traverse the entire musical scale in reverse.

Anyone whom is interested either in musical theory — absolutely free apps, sans any form of IAP whatsoever — or even addictively fiendish puzzle games should probably immediately check out Circle of Fifths – Infinite!; after all, you just might learn something!

iFanzine Verdict: Caleb Hugo’s Circle of Fifths – Infinite! is a fiendishly addictive puzzle game — full of lots of strategy — that furthermore aims to teach players musical scale theory, all for the price of absolutely free (so go out and download it already).