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PlayStation 3 Review: Auditorium HD

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Originally a popular Flash game developed by Dain Saint and William Stallwood, Auditorium HD is an upgraded remake for the PlayStation Network and other downloadable game stores. Auditorium combines audio and visual cues into an interesting and very dynamic puzzle game. Most puzzles can be solved in several different ways, and the game has a real feeling of creativity to it. Combine the interesting gameplay with its at times beautiful visuals and audio, and you’ve got a solid PSN game on your hands.

Each level requires that you manipulate “the Flow,” a strand of light particles, into containers on specific parts of the screen through a number of bubbles that redirect the Flow in some way. As each container is filled up, a new music sample will start to play and will do so until each container is filled and the entirety of the music can be heard. Difficulty comes through getting the correct colors into each container and navigating the Flow around obstacles, including Black Holes.

The music used to power this puzzle game is all a combination of classical sound loops that add parts as you fill in more of the containers on-screen. After solving all the puzzles for each track, you get a screen which lets you listen to the loop until you press the X button again. Classical sounds and this simple loop format don’t work especially well together, but the sounds are nice and rewarding, and no doubt a very important part of this game’s appeal. It’s not my favorite soundtrack (look to Echochrome for a real example of beautiful classical soundtrack in a PSN puzzle game) but it serves its purpose well and gives the game its own refined sort of character.

The images created on-screen through gameplay are more impressive, as the flows and strands of colored light you must manipulate to solve puzzles can create some breathtakingly beautiful patterns. When you have to direct spirals of light to far corners of the screen, especially while trying to balance various colors for different containers, the formerly minimalist visuals become very impressive.

The game offers two different “tracklists,” Auditorium Classic and Auditorium Modern. Classic is the original level set, and Modern is a new, slightly harder set with new music and level design. It’s nice to have both to choose from if you have trouble with a puzzle on either one, but it might surprise some players that there’s really nothing else in the menu. You can play this set of puzzles or that one, or you can play some other game entirely. Given the gameplay, there’s not much else that could be done, and I’m not sure more puzzles would really add to it either, but it’s still not a ton of material, even for a small PSN downloadable title. As difficulty increases and the player must fill in multiple colors for each container, the game doesn’t get significantly more compelling after a certain point.

Unless you’re a real fan of puzzle games or semi-artsy independent games, this probably won’t be worth ten dollars of your money. However, these two developers should no doubt be supported, and you should get some fun out of it regardless. It’s a more interesting game than a lot of what PSN has to offer, and that’s always something we should encourage.

Auditorium HD is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB with No Content Descriptors. This game can also be found on: Xbox 360 and PSP.

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About Nathaniel Edwards