Since the launch of PSVR, developers Survios have been some of the greatest champions of the console’s cause. With celebrated titles such as Raw Data, and Sprint Vector, they have taken on challenges in VR that most developers would rather avoid. In Electronauts, Survios seems to have taken on the greatest challenge so far--to turn a rhythmless white-boy like me into a master DJ.
Quick Notes Genre: Music Creation Controller: Moves Price:$19.99 Game Length: Many Hours PlayPSVR Score: 8.5
Electronauts brought me into the fold immediately, and laid out a handful of musical tools in the introductory tutorial. Some tools applied effects to sounds already present, like fading and vamping (I’m guessing at these terms). Other tools responded more like musical instruments, with each component making a specific sound to the point that a short melody could be constructed, recorded, and repeated. Regardless of the type of tool I used, however, the interaction was the same. I was twisting, beating, and bopping with a DJ baton representing extensions of my Move controllers. The tracking was tight, as would be expected from Survios, and the controls required to manipulate the tools placements on my table were precise and intuitive. Within very little time I was ambidextrously constructing my amateurish soundscapes, but I was having a hell of a good time doing it. Survios’ wise decision to “quantize” the effects by default ensured that whatever I did, it was in beat with the backing track making it difficult to produce something too jarring without serious effort.
My struggle, however, began, when I started realizing that I had played with all the tools afforded me in a specific song. I began to look around, trying to figure out how to maximize my newfound creative talents. I poked and prodded at the “Arrange” tool on my table, trying to “Save” a track. Only it seemed that it would just save the current setup of my table for this specific segment of the song. As it turns out, it was not possible to actually save a song that I had created. Whatever music I was making, it seemed, would have to be experienced in the moment
Having discovered that I wouldn’t be able to share my creations with others, I began to get a bit disheartened. I had spent so much time mastering a song and its accompanying tools. And with no multiplayer mode afforded in the PSVR version, there was no real way to show off the fruits of my labors (aside from risking musical copyright infringement via streaming). I thought maybe this would be the death knell for this game. The short-lived fun of creation was fortunately lengthened, however, by the immense track listing included in the game. With over 40 tracks, and a library of free updates planned for future release, each track presented a new “adventure” so to speak in terms of tools to master and sounds to scape.
After working on a handful of tracks, I moved beyond the fact that it would be difficult to save and record my creations. The truth in the beauty of the game slowly dawned on me. Like I said before, this game was made to be experienced in the moment. While I could certainly throw an awkward house party, wherein my friends sit on my living room couch, watching me bop aimlessly with a VR headset on, hopefully enjoying my sweet james, that wasn’t a likely or realistic situation. What was, likely, however, was that the tight controls, generous programming, and strong “backing track” selections would help a person as untalented as myself enjoy the feeling of creating music. As I threw sound effect grenades, slashed at glowing effect orbs, and carved penis-doodles into the effects box, I forgot about the outside world altogether and just jammed.
I’m never sure how long I’ve been playing when I play this game. A song that sounds like 5 minutes will easily entertain me for 30 minutes or more. I can’t stop shaking my own ass when I feel like I’ve made something solid. It’s a mixture of annoyance and pride when Electronauts gives me a solid song that sticks in my head for the rest of the week. But it’s a pure feeling of gratitude to Survios for letting me understand the pleasure found in creating it.
PlayPSVR Score: 8.5 out of 10.