God bless PlayStation VR. There’s always going to be scepticism regarding the viability of virtual reality as the medium remains in its infancy, but we never fail to be impressed each and every time we put Sony’s glowing headset on. In fact, looking like you’re a member of Daft Punk is part of the appeal with Electronauts, a kind of DJ-inspired experience from Sprint Vector developer Survios.
This game isn’t really a game at all, but it’s way more entertaining than knee-high cover and jumping on turtles. You’re an intergalactic audio engineer, soaring through space at 150 beats-per-minute. Armed with two PlayStation Move controllers, you operate a couple of sticks which can be used to work a heavily interactive sound stage wrapped around your body in virtual reality.
You pick a song from a selection spanning everything from disco to trip-hop, and from there you’re in charge. You can drop instrument loops in and out, record little audio flourishes, remix vocal loops, and control equalisers. Everything operates exactly as you’d expect it to, and while the title gives you a fair amount of control, it doesn’t overwhelm you like a real DJ’s setup would.
Obviously there are limitations to what you can do: audio samples have been specifically selected to work within the same key as the songs you’re remixing, so pretty much anything you do is going to sound acceptable. But the crisp visualizers running in the background help keep you in the zone, and when you’re bobbing along making sweet, sweet sounds, it’s hard not to smile.
To be honest, browsing the song library we’ve only recognised The Chainsmokers so far, but the music is generally decent and there’s lots to pick from. There’s some depth if you choose to explore it, too: a sequencer can be used to re-position notes, while it seems you can build unique arrangements – although we’ve yet to really experiment with this.
But what really sells this experience is how tactile it all feels. You may merely be fiddling with knobs and pushing virtual buttons, but it’s all heavily interactive, and it feels like you’re always making awesome sounds. There are really neat little touches, like grenades which you can throw in the air to trigger specific samples – it’s a bit over-the-top and silly, but it’s bad ass.
And it looks great to boot. Survios knows it’s way around PlayStation VR now, and the image quality is ridiculously crisp on the PS4 Pro. Electronauts is just a beautiful demonstration of what makes virtual reality great really: it’s immersive, it’s interactive, and it couldn’t be achieved in quite the same way on a standard display. We’ll bring you a full review soon.
Are you intrigued by this audio experience? Will you be giving Electronauts a go? Drop your best beats in the comments section below.