"Electronauts does everything it sets out to do a more, you get so much for the price here and offers something completely unique and much needed to VR. Therefore, Electronauts is something we can highly recommend."
First of all. This is not really what most people would consider a game. But then again. What is a game? A game is something that you play to enjoy it. And this is definitely something that you are playing around with and you will enjoy it.
But with the genres that are available to us in the online stores. I would classify this as a virtual reality experience rather than a game. Since there is no competition involved at all. No end game. No final boss. I will refer to it as a game in this text however. Just to make it easy.
This is the platform where you stand. Tools to interact with in front of you, to your right and to your left.
What is Electronauts?
The name does refer to an astronaut. The idea is that like an astronaut exploring in space. You are exploring the world of music. The setting is space-like and you are dressed as an astronaut.
The developers have gotten a lot of songs from different famous artists. These songs are not just mp3 files that you can listen to. This is the actual stem files. That means that you can alter the songs in extraordinary ways. Let's say that a song has drums, synth, guitar and vocals. You can mute the drums and synth for example. Only leaving the guitar and the vocals. You can also add things of your own. You can either play along with the song in real-time or you can create a loop and have it play over and over again while you are free to interact with the song in other ways simultaneously.
You are standing on a platform or a ship of some kind that is moving forward in a space-like environment. The surroundings seems to interact with the music that you are playing. So far I have seen a lot of different surroundings. I have no idea how many there are.
In front of you there is a desk with a lot of different tools that you can use to remix the music. Different songs have different tools. Every song I have tried so far have had at least 2 sets of coloured bulbs. My move controllers are two sticks. I can use the sticks to hit the bulbs and they will play a short tune. If I want to I can create a loop of tunes that will keep playing for as long as I like. Since there are a lot of different tools. By creating a loop I can put the bulbs away and play around with other things as well.
Here is a video where Survios present the artists that are featured in this game. I get hyped every time I watch it.
Since this is virtual reality, the controllers must be very forgiving. One way of putting it is that you must be allowed to be clumsy. And by trying to act with precision that you might have done in a normal video game. You might feel clumsy. That is because the technology is not 100% perfected yet. And there are sensors picking up the motions from your controllers. There must be margins for errors.
That is nothing unique for this VR application though. That is just the way virtual reality works right now.
Besides being confused when browsing the menus with my Playstation Move controllers at first. I feel like it is really easy to interact with the features in this game.
Just to mention a few features. That is why it is impossible for me to just tell you straight up what the game contains.
As mentioned previously the songs have bulbs for you to play with. You can use these as drums basically. By hitting (touching them actually), you create a sound. It is not like a drum or a piano where each bulb only creates one short tune. It is often a short melody. That is great. Especially if you are not a musician like myself. When I hit these bulbs in different orders, it sounds like a melody. Rather than just sounding like someone is fighting with a cat.
Back to talking about graphics. It is difficult to stay on point. These bulbs of different colours are just like the rest of the game, very colourful. The environment is moving, you are traveling through space. Sometimes there are trees jumping up and down as you play the music. You can adjust the speed of your vehicle, meaning that the background will move faster. You can also change the colours of your surroundings.
When looking in the selfie cam your avatar is following your movements. I haven't had any irregularities on that so far and I am in love with staring at that avatar waving his arms in the air as he casually edits the music.
We are all into different things. And some backgrounds make me more impressed than others of course. But overall, I really like the backgrounds that passes by.
Green bulbs that you can activate by touching (or bash violently) to create tunes.
The question is. What do you expect from something like this? The only competition you will have is if you are trying to create music that exceeds your own expectations or if you have a friend that you are trying to impress.
There are several different genres of music in this game. There is quite the difference between a hip-hop beat and a fast disco beat. I haven't played that many hours of the game so far. But I have tried quite a few songs. I still find new ways to interact with the music when I try new songs.
And you know the feeling of recognition? If you listen to a song on the radio for the first time it is difficult to enjoy it fully since you are not able to sing along or clap to the rhythm since you don't know what is coming next.
I feel exactly like that in this game. I am pretty sure that I have found one song that I have seen in a trailer for the game or something because I recognize it. And since I recognize it I am a lot more interested in remixing that song. Judging by the interview we did with Nathan Burba, President of Survios. We can expect to see more songs being added to this game. Would it not be cool to have some of the absolute classics in there? Songs that you are totally familiar with and you would be able to remix them, creating your own personal interpretation. It is not confirmed but it is definitely something that the developers would love to add to the game. We will just have to wait and see if that arrives in the future. But the songs in the game right now are brilliant as well.
I expect more songs. No doubt. Will it be big artists though? That is the big question. It is problematic with these stems? You are able to remove so many things and able to single out certain parts of the songs, making it a bit scary for the artists to release the stems. I can definitely see some EDM artists adding tracks to Electronauts, watching their music being interpreted on Twitch streams and spread across the Internet
I am not a musical genius. I mean, not at all. I can still stand in my VR headset. Having the selfie cam activated, watching my own avatar waving his arms in the air. Dancing to the music which I have created. Well, remixed at least.
I would consider that to be a success. Giving me the feeling of being able to create music. Trust me. I have tried using these normal music editing tools. Trying to create even the shortest loop of something that sounds catchy is not easy. But in here I can be the star.
Since it is taking place in virtual reality it is a bit troublesome to stay in it for too long. But time flies in this game. All of a sudden 1 hour and 20 minutes had past without me taking a break. The apartment was pitch black and the rest of the family were asleep.
Despite being forgiving, it is really complex
You can create music without knowing anything about it. But if you do know anything about music and you learn the features of this game. Then you can create some great things. I am expecting to see some really entertaining live shows being broadcasted on platforms such as Twitch and Youtube.
You can do so many things. Just take the bulbs as an example. The ones that you can hit on like drums. If you are talented and record a sequence on them. You will be able to build from that and use other tools to enhance your creation.
What do I mean with availability? I am considering things such as price, number of platforms etc. Since it is a virtual reality experience. Most of the platforms are removed straight away. Virtual reality is still something really small compared to the other “normal videogames” on the market. Survios is aware of this but.. They strive towards the future. To be innovators. To be first with a technology does not mean that they will earn the most money.
The market is small. Not a lot of people own a setup that includes virtual reality devices. But they are extremely excited about making progress. They showed it with Raw Data. Then once again with Sprint Vector and now we are all over Electronauts. It has never been done before.
If we are going to discuss the price. It is clear that they are not trying to earn as much money as possible from each customer. They are trying to spread their new product as much as possible. The price is really low for a brand-new application such as this one. On the release day it was even on sale on PlayStation store I believe. You can pay around 15 euros for it on release day.
Am I really going to talk about the sound in this game as I would in a regular game. The entire game is about sounds. If you are talented. The music will be fantastic. If not, well. It is difficult to mess it up completely. That is comforting at least.
But honestly. With these big artists having added their songs. Allowing you to remix them. There is no way to complain on the audio in this game.
When I wear my headset over my PlayStation VR headset. I hear nothing else. I am completely emerged in the game. I find myself standing there, nodding in rhythm to the song that is currently being played. That is what having good audio in a game is all about. The audio should not be disturbing you. The music should not feel out of place. And it never does in this game since you are creating it yourself.
Differences between PC and PSVR
The only difference should be the multiplayer option. That will be available on PC but not for PlayStation. It works flawlessly on PC as well as PSVR and the Vive experience has proven to be truly immersive. The tracking on the Vive is great and you feel like you have total control of both your movements and the games movements.
The possibilities are many. This has the potential to create a whole new trend on streaming services like Twitch.tv. The biggest problem with virtual reality is that it is still too new, too expensive. Based on my own experiences, most people do not even know what virtual reality means. With a little luck, this application can actually change that. With the right streamer hosting a live concert in this game. This could snowball.
The low price makes it easy to recommend this game. If you have the slightest interest in music and would love to live out the childhood dream of being a DJ or a musician in a studio. This can definitely be a solid investment.
I can stand around for a long time playing around with this game. It is also fun to browse Twitch to watch other play and interact with them through the chat. A great way to find inspiration and find things to try the next time I play it.
Electronauts does everything it sets out to do a more, you get so much for the price here and offers something completely unique and much needed to VR. Therefore, Electronauts is something we can highly recommend.