Synth Riders Review (PlayStation VR)

Over it’s time through development on other platforms Synth Riders has became my favourite VR rhythm game, as it improves every update. The game has now to come to PlayStation VR, and a few things interested me on how the hardware would handle it. I have spent some time synthing the waves on PSVR, so, what do I think?

Gameplay

In Synth Riders you are standing on a platform, and you can either have a moving stage or the notes moving towards you. On each hand you will have an orb, one turquoise and one pink (colours can be changed), these will match a majority of the notes you need to hit – with as you would expect you need to hit the corresponding colour with your orb. They then add a green note, which you can use either hand on, but the one you start that sequence with has to be used for that full combo of notes. The final colour is orange, for these notes you will need to bring both your orbs together and hit them with both the orbs at once.

When it comes to orbs you need to hit, they can be on the same side as the colour or have you reaching to the other side. They can be double notes you need to hit at the same time, which brings in crossing your arms over. The final touch added to how the game plays is holding notes, which will see you needing to keep the orbs on the path that is in front of you. Of course to make these a little more difficult you might have to follow a path with each hand at the same time, this means at times having one arm up and one arm down, have your arms waving or in some cases the paths crossing over.

The final element of the tracks are the obstacles, these come in the form of screens. These will see you either ducking under them, leaning to the side to miss them or even zigzagging through a row of them. While dodging you can also expect to hit notes as you are doing this.

Adding all of these together really gets you moving to the impressive fifty-four songs that are available in the base game, and if you get the DLC packs it increases to a massive seventy-nine tracks.

The game also comes with five difficulty levels from easy to master, each one getting more active and the maps getting more complex. With the time I have spent in the game on previous platforms for the review I have been testing the hard and expert maps.

Another nice little touch in three of the DLC packs (Synthwave Essentials 2, Adrenaline and Caravan Palace) is one song in each having an experience, where the stage is an animated and designed around the artist and the chosen song. These are great to take in, and adds that little something extra to the game.

Now, at the moment you will find that the game is missing Multiplayer mode, but, the team at Kluge Interactive have this planned as a free update in the future (PS Plus required). Also, another thing that is missing is the 360 and 180 degrees modes found in the other platforms, but 90 degrees mode is there – however, this is hardware restrictions and not been removed for any other reason.

Presentation

Given the name of the game, as you would expect the games levels are all Synth and Cyberpunk in design, which suites the overall feel and music in the game – even when playing the DLC tracks outside of the synth genres. The PlayStation VR port comes with decent clarity in the presentation, which makes sure the surroundings are not distracting you from the orbs and the maps – as with the other platforms.

With the PlayStation VR, you know you are always going to get very clear and high quality audio from the games you are playing – which is of course very important in rhythm games. This impressive part of the hardware is a great benefit to Synth Riders, as all the available tracks really suit being played loud through headphones, as you boogie your way through the huge song line-up.

Comfort/Controls

As previously mentioned, the game offers a moving or static platform which does offer help with those who suffer from motion sickness. The game also needs to played standing and is a very physical game, so this is something you need to keep in mind when purchasing the Synth Riders.

With the gameplay loop, you do need to use two PlayStation Move controllers. This was where I thought the hardware may also struggle, given the physical nature and movement in the game – but, I never found any issues with the tracking outside of my own user error.

Longevity

With the base game coming with the aforementioned fifty-four tracks even buying this is going to give you plenty of play hours in the game. Then taking into account the modifiers and 90 degrees mode and it gives even more time – all coming with their own leaderboards to challenge your friends and others. Adding in the DLC and the planned multiplayer and the playtime can becomes pretty much endless.

Reviewed using PlayStation 5 and PSVR (v.2)

For the purposes of transparency, this review was created using a review code provided by the company or their respective PR company. The use of a press code does not affect my judgement of the product.