The soothing indie music puzzle game is back on the PSN, and this time, for the PSP. It is everything you know from Auditorium HD on the PS3, except you’re limited to the ‘Classic’ levels that are an exact port of the original flash game. If you’ve never played this game, check out the flash demo over at http://www.playauditorium.com/, and get a good feel for what this game is really all about.
The no rules, no instructions, puzzle-based gameplay is all here. You’re presented with puzzles and given the tools necessary to creatively solve the puzzles in a large number of ways. Now, while you are given a certain selection of tools, just like the previous releases of the game, you don’t necessarily need all of them to solve any particular puzzle. That’s what makes this game so intriguing. You have the freedom to solve the puzzles in any way possible. With no fancy event triggers or forced actions, you are free to decide the method to completing any level.
While the controls aren’t awful, the experience felt pretty limited when using the buttons and analog nub or d-pad on the handheld. I much prefer the use of a mouse or the involved Move controls of the PS3 version, but the game is still very playable. You quickly switch between the tools with the shoulder buttons, and once selected, you move the tools to your desired location and use the face buttons to expand or contract the area of the tool. This is one of the rare games that I greatly favor the analog nub over the d-pad. The analog nub moves the tool at an acceptable speed, but the d-pad moves the tool so slow that it ruins the fun and soothing nature of the game.
The graphics are fair looking and are enough to provide gamers the same experience of the original title. There can be quite a bit of movement happening on the screen, and the more you progress in the game, the more colorful the puzzles become and are definitely a treat for the eyes. Of course, to any onlookers, the game may appear to be a fancy screensaver for the unit and until they realize you’re actually creating what is happening on screen, you may get some strange looks for those unfamiliar.
You build a soothing soundtrack that can really calm your nerves, but now you can take the experience on the go and work your way through the 70+ levels. If there’s anything missing from the audio, it’s not apparent when you use headphones on the PSP unit, but it’s clear that the built-in speakers don’t do much to enhance the experience. You fill up the boxes with the particles and the soundtrack just becomes more pronounced as you keep playing.
You still won’t find any multiplayer in this game, but I’m not sure how well it could be implemented. The replay value remains somewhat low for the title, once you complete the game, but if you make a conscious effort to play through the different levels and challenge yourself, you could end up occupying quite a bit of time. Unfortunately, there is no real incentive to play through again and again. If the game perhaps had some sort of reward system, besides simply unlocking more levels, or maybe had a time trial mode, the game could drum up some more game-time with PSP owners.
Overall, I can’t say the game is as much fun as the PS3 version with Move controls, but it still brings the root of the indie game into the picture. Be sure to avoid the d-pad controls, unless you feel the slowness of it makes your own experience easier for your own playing style. For the lower price, it’s hard to turn down a game that can provide a great personal experience, and also calm or sooth your nerves.
*Zoo Games provided SlimGamer.com with a promo code for a review copy.