In the ever expanding arena of XBLA, PSN and downloadable PC games, there seems to be an emerging trend of what one might refer to as non-games – reflexive, relaxing experiences set to pointedly stimulate, rather than violently over-stimulate, our game-playing senses. In fact, we’ve seen this just recently with our preview of The UnderGarden and just last week with our demo of Auditorium HD for the PSN.
You may already have played Auditorium on your iPhone or PC, but developer Cipher Prime is bringing the game to the PlayStation Network with a new HD presentation, added Move support and a new play mode sporting 78 new levels in addition to the 72 already developed. However, if you’re not familiar with the game, you’ll no doubt be interested to know that the title strives to combine visuals and sound into one fluid gameplay mechanic.
The controls are relatively simple. Angling somewhere across the screen is a stream of light and sound known as the Flow. Elsewhere throughout the level is an arrangement of sensors through which players need to guide the Flow, layering the level’s symphonic score sensor by sensor. You do this by manipulating a number of circular globes that curve and bend the Flow in specific directions.
You can expand the size of each globe, positioning them strategically so that the Flow is routed perfectly across the level. Early stages introduce various colors, forcing you to direct the Flow through vibrant hues and into the appropriate sensor. As the later levels advance, specific obstacles are introduced such as splitters – which divert the Flow – and portals – which transport the Flow from one point on the screen to the other.
There are multiple solutions to any puzzle and while the game can, indeed, be frustrating at times, the calming music and the layered orchestral score makes the experience relatively mellow. The Move controls in the build we played weren’t entirely accurate and the PS3 controller facilitated the gameplay with far greater ease. The HD presentation made the fairly simple visuals pop more than we’d seen on the iPhone version and the added color effects offered a calming visual motif.
Overall, Auditorium HD retains the exact core experience of the PC and iPhone versions with added levels and graphical fidelity for those who are either new to the game, or looking for a greater challenge. Check out the title when it releases on November 23, 2010 and head back to G4TV.com for more as the release approaches.