I do love a good music visualiser. Earlier this year with Sfare which was a playful and tactile oddity playing with twisting shapes and kaleidoscopes. Fluids and Sounds is a fluid simulator. Think of ink or oil dropping into water and watching it swirl or blast around. It’s like a visually satisfying ASMR YouTube video that you can control and tweak to your hearts content. It is very trippy to watch.
Whilst the game has randomiser and autoplay modes upfront, the real detail is in the menu of customisation options. You can use the mouse to click around the screen and keyboard buttons to add “fingers” to the screen – emulating a touch screen (this was an app first). This lets you draw patterns and create swirls and these are all recordable as video snippets. Open up the menu and you can have up to 8 fingers or ink pellets on screen at once. This will cause potential chaos as they all smoosh into each other and the fluid simulation effects are absolutely beautiful to watch.
Then you see all the options. Every ink drop can be changed in size, velocity, splat effect, deformation and reaction to its surroundings. The screen can have walls or wraparound features. You can customise all the colours or have them on timed looped changes. Then you have pixilation effects that emulate 80’s disco balls, scanlines and chromatic tricks to give VHS effects and damaged visual looks too. Want to feel like a meditation app? Pull out the kaleidoscope for all kinds of trippy effects. There’s tons to do, all saveable to presets for you to cycle through and create your own artistic video to either sounds generated by your moves or music you want to import.
Personally I found myself importing a track, creating a vibe for it and then connecting my PC to my TV (its bigger than my PC monitor) and having a lightshow in my living room. You could then save this as a video and have yourself a full on party backdrop if you wanted to, or some artistic creations. It rarely looks anything short of stunning. However, I did run into a couple of bugs. The menu crashes and gets stuck usually after I’ve used some keyboard shortcuts and that blocks you using all the menu options until you restart the programme. I also found the importing of music and background images to be a little clunky as you can seemingly only do one at a time and the programme doesn’t pop back onto your screen when you import anything. However, the developer is actively improving and fixing things very quickly so I expect these issues to be short lived.
Fluids and Sounds will appeal to a niche audience but it is one of the best visualisers out there. It is definitely the most satisfying. Pop on some music, pop it on a big screen, let yourself go wild. File it under oddly engrossing!
Review copy provided by developer. PC version tested – also on mobile.
Fluids and Sounds
A niche but beautifully presented fluid visualiser for your music or for artsy video capture. Just needs some menu bugs fixed.
Tons of customisation and fine tuning alongside randomisation and autoplay.
Works as a visualiser with your own music and images (although its use is clunky).
Menu gets stuck and breaks the menus after about 20 minutes which seems tied to using keyboard shortcuts.
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