Auditorium HD Review
Posted by Christopher Ingram
Challenge the mind and please the senses
What started as a PC Flash game years back has now been translated into a full HD experience in the form of Auditorium HD. A captivating music puzzle game with fantastic auditory and visual style, the PC original has already won awards for its unique style, and arrives on PlayStation 3 with exclusive content.
Simplicity is bliss with Auditorium HD, and its straightforward approach feels natural instantly. Move calibration is nothing but a quick point at the camera whilst holding the Move button with the option to press Circle to increase the sensitivity of the on-screen cursor. Within a minute calibration is complete, after which you find yourself looking at a small stream of white light flowing in the top left corner of the screen. The centre of the screen has a small transparent circle containing an arrow pointing right, with a small square box outline on the screen's right-hand side.
There is no text, there is no tutorial: you learn by doing. Placing your cursor over the transparent circle highlights it, and holding Move button lets you move the circle around the screen, and holding the T button means the circle's size can be altered by moving the Move controller up and down. Remember that flowing white light in the corner of the screen? Placing the circle in the light will redirect the light, and if the light touches the box it begins to fill up. With each strand of light that enters the box, a lone piano begins to play a beautiful melody; once filled, the box and circle fade away and all that remains is the brilliant HD white light flowing across the screen as the piano melody continues to play. Auditorium HD has just begun.
The game's challenge is to explore what's given to you and to find a creative way to use it. Once the initial levels have been completed the challenge starts to increase: new icons in circles start to appear, always with a sandbox level of sorts to let the gamers explore how the stream can now be manipulated. Eventually the array of circles means the light stream can be redirected, reversed, sped up and even spun in a circle. The last option is especially helpful, as once the stream is spinning inside the circle it can be quickly moved across the screen to slightly fill audio boxes if needed, letting you transport light for a brief second.
New colour light streams appear, bringing with them new musical instruments and new melodies. Single levels soon have multiple colour streams appearing with their respective colour audio boxes to be directed into, creating a much higher challenge that requires creative use of available resources. Later levels even have barriers to manoeuvre around as well as single audio boxes that require multiple light stream colours to fill, challenging even the best musical masters. Each colour light stream is a different instrumental melody in the song and each level brings in a new part to the song until the final challenging level with a complete symphony. Once all the light streams are directed into their colour boxes the on-screen icons fade and the beautiful HD colours fill the screen, with the orchestra playing in full surround sound: success is pure bliss for the eyes and ears. Listening to the symphonic pieces once completed is not only relaxing but also does a great job at giving the player a sense of accomplishment.
Auditorium HD will keep gamers busy for a long time after the initial melody is created: its Modern mode brings 78 brand new exclusive levels to the PlayStation Network, with Classic mode including the original 72 levels from the PC version of the game, tweaked and remastered in HD as well as being stereoscopic 3D capable as well.
The game can be played with the DualShock 3, but Move has the edge over it in every way. The standard controller doesn’t have the on-screen cursor, forcing the L1 and R1 buttons to be pressed to select the desired circle. Once the circles are grabbed, moving them around the screen and resizing them with the analogue sticks is much slower compared to using Move, which brings a natural control style to the game. The precision with Move is spot-on accurate, even on the highest sensitivity, great news as the game requires extreme precision at times.
Auditorium HD not only brings a great new unique gaming experience to the PlayStation Network, but it establishes itself as one of the premier titles on the service. Gamers who enjoyed games such as Flow and Flower will lap this up, but it can be enjoyed by all ages and levels of experience. Challenging the mind and soothing the soul with its melodic symphonies, the beautiful light streams mesmerise the player, inducing a relaxing trance-like state that will have hours passing by like minutes.