Audioshield VR Review
Audioshield is an exclusive VR rhythm game developed by Dylan Fitterer for the HTC Vive and made available via Steam for $19.99.
The basic explanation for how to play Audioshield is that you move your hands, which have shields attached to them, to deflect/smash alternating blue and orange (the game says red, but they are clearly orange!) orbs that come at you mostly in time with the music. I say mostly in time, because the algorithm that analyzes the song and generates the orbs seems to either completely nail the song you are playing or get it close enough that you do feel like it was made for that song.
Like traditional console rhythm games, your brain wiring gets crossed in all the similar fun ways. Just wait until you are frantically batting at a blue orb with your orange hand. Audioshield also has a not-overused trick of throwing purple balls or streams at you, in which you either have to move both shields together or pull the trigger on both wands simultaneously to create a purple shield.
Variations on gameplay allow for different types of shields and difficulty settings to add more orbs and more crossover orbs (blue on orange side or vice versa).
Audioshield counts the number of successful hits, longest streak and overall accuracy average. It also allows you to compare against friends who have also played the same track (called dethrone) – although the feature was not working, which also meant that the recommend feature was also not working.
I also noticed that while Audioshield does let you preview the song track before you choose it, it gives you no other information about the song; from length to other people’s scores. You are left to just select a song and hope for the best.
Presentation, Audio and Story
The interesting thing about the game is that it uses all your local music OR built-in spotify to feed you songs. An entire community has popped up online to curate a channel for songs that work especially well with the software.
In terms of presentation, it’s darned beautiful. The orbs exploding on your shield into fireworks are beautiful, the 3D space/arenas you play in are really well done. It’s fairly simple, but the high contrast backgrounds make sure you never lose any orbs headed at you.
There is no story with this game.
VR Integration / Play Time / Cost
Let me start by saying that this game utilizes the default directional setting for the room setup on the HTC Vive. So if you’re wondering why every time you start the game, you’re facing the same odd direction, it’s because you need to run room setup again, hit advanced mode and hit the edit button and point your playspace towards your TV. The game should have a reorientation feature, but does not.
Other than that, it seems to work very well, tracking with the wands is extremely precise. When a large, arcing streak is in your way, you can tilt your head and see around it.
In terms of play time, this game is excellent because you can play any song in your library. Potentially endless fun.
With a cost of $19.99, it falls squarely in the ‘mid-range’ price point for VR software today. Is it worth it?
Summary and Score
Whether or not you should spend your hard earned money on Audioshield comes down to a couple of questions. First, do you like a workout? Second, do you like rhythm games?
For me, the answer to both of those questions is yes. This game gives you quite the workout; having played socially with family and friends, the motions almost become like actual dancing if you relax with it. Most people did not want to play more than a couple songs, especially when paired with full over-the-ear headsets, as they became overheated quickly. To my second point, at the end of the day, it is a rhythm game. If you don’t find that style of play fun, then I am not sure this would convince you otherwise. For my money, however, I find it to be a clean interface and immensely fun gameplay experience, which just for the amount of time we have played, justifies its $20 price tag.
8.4 out of 10 Purple Shields