Zombies are becoming a fairly tired symbol in video games, but what about zombified 19th Century composers? For the time being, they’re as fresh as the undead can possibly be, and Forever Entertainment has delivered a strong argument for their presence on the App Store.
Their game Frederic is a rhythm game based on the afterlife of master composer Frederic Chopin. It’s a very story-heavy experience, and the game’s developers show no lack of reverence for their fellow Pole in the game’s motion comic cutscenes, which generally look sharp. For reasons that will become clear as you play through the game’s extraordinary story, Frederic Chopin has been resurrected and, as he wanders the globe trying to find out why, he ends up in musical duels with people in different parts of the world.
Who needs two pianists when you have two hands?
Each of these duels involves a re-imagining of one of Chopin’s many well-regarded works. The gameplay isn’t terribly novel; it will feel familiar if you’ve played Rock Band or other games like it. This doesn’t take away from how enjoyable it is, though. The music itself is really impressive from top to bottom, as the game features really tasteful and interesting takes on Chopin’s music that neither disrespect nor diminish the source material.
What isn’t necessarily quite so respectful, though, is the game’s illustrations of different kinds of people. Frederic doesn’t feel like an encyclopedia of stereotypes, but it does have some questionable depictions in its narrative. For example, Ireland is represented by a leprechaun-like man, and Jamaica’s avatar is a Rastafarian who’s way into certain psychoactive plants. At some point these kinds of images can cross lines of decency, but we’re not sure if Frederic is guilty of such an offense or not. It’s worth considering, but we’ll leave it up to you to decide if Forever Entertainment was tactless or not in this regard.
Bad as I wanna be.
Ultimately, the story in Frederic is pretty light and goofy, or at least that’s the way its voice acting makes it seem. Either the voice cast is hamming it up a bit on purpose or they’re not very good. Either way, it’s endearing and it makes sitting through the non-gameplay portions of Frederic quite enjoyable.
Though you’ll spend much of the game’s story mode sitting through motion comics, the entire package is charming and fun. The gameplay is satisfying the first time through and worth coming back to for leaderboard competition and higher difficulties. Frederic isn’t revolutionary, but it’s so well-done and engaging that it’s impossible not to recommend it.