The hills are alive with the sound of music...
Posted 2 years ago By - Curtis McDonald
Classical music and simple particle physics. One would not expect the combination of the two would necessarily make for an enjoyable gaming experience. Cipher Prime, the developers of Auditorium, beg to differ and they have brought their unique music/puzzle game from browsers and smart-phones to the console gamer via the expanded Auditorium HD. It’s available now from the Playstation Network for both PS3 and PSP and published by Zoo Publishing, Inc.
Auditorium HD takes the original game developed as a front page eye catcher for the Cipher Prime website and greatly expands on it, adding to the already impressive number of levels with a new ‘modern’ track list, 1080p visuals and support for both Playstation Move control as well as 3D. Nearly doubling the 70+ levels, adding motion control and tossing in the 3D visuals is a fantastic means of winning over new players to Auditorium but the fact of the matter is, the core gameplay itself is recommendation enough and solid enough to warrant a go at this simply gorgeous music puzzler.
The core gameplay itself is fairly simple. Each level begins with silence and a directed particle stream, or two, of a specific color. The player will have control of up to four of the eight different stream manipulation tools that can be moved anywhere on screen and/or have their magnitude of influence adjusted, which is denoted by a circular area around the tool. The tools - four direction mods, speed, vortex, 180o reflection and scatter effects - can all be used in combination to direct the particle stream to fill tank(s) of varying color, as the tanks fill so to does that level’s musical score. If there are tanks of more than one color on a level, there will also be patches that will change the color of the particle stream as it passes though, alternatively the color of the particle stream can be changed by interacting with colored manipulation tools or objects. Finally, each level may have one or more walls, splitters, warps or black-holes.
Auditorium HD is remarkably accessible to casual gamers, but will certainly challenge seasoned puzzle fans as well with it’s complicated levels found later on in the game. In fact it is likely that those later levels will frustrate even the most die-hard puzzler with their complexity and the precision required to complete them. But even at its most frustrating, Auditorium HD never quites manages to lose its cool and nor will you as the music and atmosphere will sooth and relax even the most vexed rage-guy.
The audio and visuals, naturally, are where Auditorium HD really stands out. It is a complete and total symphony for both the ears and eyes. While it is fair to say that the graphics are somewhat minimalist in nature, this in no way detracts from the overall experience and simply serves to highlight the stunning light-show and the physics involved in the particle streams. Similarly, the audio tracks are relatively short loops of classical style compositions, but each track is divided so expertly that you are delightfully surprised every time a new tank begins filling and another part of the score begins to fade in. For instance; a couple of tanks are already filled and you are listening to what seems to be a fully fleshed out song when a new tank begins filling and suddenly violins fade in. Not only is the audio itself superb but the way in which the game was designed to handle it is seamless and beautiful in its execution.
The style of gameplay may not be for everyone, but Auditorium HD may be pretty close to the perfect example of its genre. Accessibility for casual players and plenty of challenge for puzzle veterans combined with the most incredible audio and visuals I’ve seen in a game of this style means this a must for fans of the category.
Auditorium HD is available for $9.99 on the PlayStation Network.
+ Great challenge curve from accessible to extremely challenging
+ Remarkably good music and simple but gorgeous graphics
- End game puzzles can be incredibly finicky and complicated
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Release Date : 2010/11/23
System : PlayStation 3
Publisher : Zoo
Developer : Cipher Prime
Category : Puzzle
ESRB : E
7.0 / 10
8.5 / 10
8.0 / 10
8.7 / 10