recspec's Auditorium HD (PlayStation Network (PS3)) review

A beautiful show of lights.

 Things start simple
Dain Saint and William Stallwood of Cipher Prime released the original Auditorium back in January of 2009, almost two years later the flash game finally makes it to a console with Auditorium HD. There are new stages added, but the intro cutscene is a clear reminder that this is a flash game ported to the Pla yStation 3. Don't let this get you down though. Auditorium HD is definitely a great game, and those who stick around until the curtain falls will be treated with great music and a neat puzzle system.

The gameplay of this puzzle game is tricky to describe, most levels start with a beam made up of particles of light, you must direct the beam to containers with tools. Most stages give you 3 or 4, and you must use them to direct the beam to all of the containers. Some merely alter the flow in one direction, while some cause the beam to travel in a spiral or in

the opposite direction. There are various areas that change the color of the beam, so you must direct the beam through that area and then direct it back to the area. The game does an excellent job introducing each new tool, so you know exactly what it does before you have to use it to complete more difficult stages.

 Things get a little crazier

This is a puzzle game at heart, but don't be too daunted. You can use the tools at your disposal and as long as you make the light reach the destination, who cares how you do it? There are quite a few levels where all of the tools given you aren't even necessary. If you are a methodical type who likes to calculate everything, this game will drive you nuts, the best way to solve it is to just play around with the tools, and go from there. Since the beam is made up of particles, this leads to a lot of possible moves. You can complete a level even if only one tiny stream of light keeps hitting the container, so you don't have to be surgical. You can even "cheat" by using the motion of a tool to push the light where you need it to go (there is even a trophy for it). Thinking of an unconventional way of solving a puzzle is great.

Another reason the gameplay is addictive is because of how the levels are set up. There are two modes. Auditorium Classic, which are the songs from the PC game, and Auditorium Modern, from the PSN version. Classic has more stages but each one is shorter, most only lasting about 5 or so levels. Modern has longer more complex stages. The first stages are easy, and by the time you get "stuck" you are usually on the last stage anyway, so once you beat that, the difficulty cycle starts over. The cycle is addictive, and the game keeps adding new concepts to keep things interesting.

Each level is based on one of these tools and has multiple stages, the first one introducing it, the rest using it in more advanced ways. Along with each level is a different song. Each container is tied to a different instrumental part of the song, so as you fill more containers, more music plays. It starts simply, with only one container, but as you advance, you'll have more and more, the final stage of each level is usually the trickiest, but will have the most amazing sound, with multiple instruments going. The music is a huge piece of this game, and a reason why the gameplay is so addictive. It is a shame that there is no way to just listen to the music, and some of the music hiccups when looping around, but the soundtrack is quite amazing.

 NOW we're talking!

 The Move support isn't a major addition, you will probably want more control when trying to solve a tricky puzzle. This game also supports 3D if you have the proper setup. This game will not appeal to everyone. If you were a fan of games like Flower, then this will definitely appeal to you. If you enjoy a good puzzle game, this game will also appeal to you. If you fall outside these categories, I would recommend playing the demo that is out there to see if this is right for you. I spent at least 15 hours finishing this by the time both sets of stages were all said and done. So if you purchase it, you will get a lot of gameplay for your ten bucks.

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