Turning music into a game is not a new trend for the video game industry. Rhythm-based titles like Dance Dance Revolution and Guitar Hero have experienced huge amounts of success over the years. More recently, titles like Audiosurf and Sound Shapes have found audiences on PCs and consoles. VR too will soon be a place where your music library comes to life as a fully immersive gaming experience.
Audioshield is made by one man: Dylan Fitterer. Fitterer is the developer behind Audiosurf and he is bringing a lot of those same sensibilities to this new title for HTC Vive. UploadVR went hands-on with the demo, and worked up quite a sweat, at the Steam VR Showcase in Seattle.
Much like Audiosurf, Audioshield is a music visualizer. This means it has the ability to scan any track and convert the sound file into a game level. Audioshield is currently compatible with any MP3 on your computer and will ship with built-in Soundcloud integration as well.
Once your music has been downloaded and converted its time to play. For this game you will be standing in one spot – Fitterer made the choice not to go full room scale for this title – while holding an orange shield in one hand and a blue shield in the other.
Each beat of the song you choose is represented by either an orange or blue orb that is careening down at you and trying to touch the ground. The point of impact is where that specific beat would occur in the song and your job is to block each beat with the correctly colored shield. The mechanic ensures that when you’re playing successfully you are actually moving in rhythm to the game and feel immersed by the audio as much as the gameplay itself.
There is also an occasional purple colored orb. To create a purple shield you need to either hold both hand controllers together so the blue and orange shields can combine, or hold down both triggers for more free-range purple shield movement.
The game keeps you moving and our play through resulted in more than a little sweat. The challenge factor, according to Fitterer, is first and foremost a product of the song you choose. A Rage Against The Machine track will be naturally more difficult than one from Jack Johnson or The National.
In addition to song choice, the game does offer easy, medium and hard difficulty modes. Fitterer said the major difference between the modes is that harder levels will require you to move more.
Fitterer says he will spend his time attempting to program more environments in which to tackle your favorite songs before the game launches. Audioshield is currently in development and on track for an April release alongside the consumer edition of the Vive.