Review – Synth Riders (PSVR2)
If you ever want to feel as if you’re perfectly dancing to the beat of the music, Synth Riders for the PSVR2 is the rhythm game for you! There are many genres of games that are best suited for VR and rhythm games are perhaps one of the ones that were meant for VR. PSVR2 launched with several, such as gunslinging Pistol Whip, spooky Thumper, air guitar Unplugged, and demon slaying drum Drum Beats. After having experienced many of these titles on PSVR2, I can confidently say that Synth Riders is the best out of all of them.
Synth Riders has you in control of two spheres, and your goal is to move these spheres and hit the same coloured spheres as accurately as possible. The game has a robust fifty-nine songs in its standard library as well as paid music packs from Muse, Gorillaz, League of Legends, and many others. With this many songs, two main ways to play (Rhythm mode and Force mode), five difficulty settings, lobby multiplayer, Pass-the-headset co-op, you won’t want to stop grooving, dancing, while getting your heart and muscles pumping!
When you boot up the game, you’re treated to a beautiful virtual reality hub, which you can change and customize to your liking. The gameplay is simple: your hands represents one coloured sphere each, one for when you need to use both hands together, and one freestyle, totaling to four coloured spheres, and you have to move your hands to hit the corresponding spheres. The stage also has obstacles to add a level of difficulty, but it plays perfectly to the beat of the song, making it seem as if you’re dancing. You can play the stages focusing on hitting the spheres, but the best way is listen to the music and the beat and let your arms flow, because the thing that I love the most about Synth Riders is its fantastic natural kinetic positioning.
Making you feel the flow and the rhythm of the song is what the game does the best. Not only are there a great variety of tracks, the gameplay itself is so well choreographed that you feel like you are learning the dance moves that work perfectly with the song. The only tricky part once you learn the flow is to ensure that you are hitting the spheres as accurately as you can for maximum points. The game works very well in Rhythm mode, but it also has another way to play called Force Mode. The difference is that instead of focusing on rhythm, you get more points if you are “hitting” the spheres. This adds a completely different dynamic to the game because you have to rethink how to tackle the song. Add the five different difficulty levels (I played in Hard and Expert) and you have yourself a robust rhythm game.
Another option Synth Riders have is the option to create a Multiplayer lobby and play with friends or publicly. This was added as a free update later after launch of the game. Once you’re in the lobby, you can chat with others, choose a song, difficulty, challenges and see overall scores. When the song starts and everyone plays it, chat is muted and you can see other’s scores as they are playing at the same time. It’s a fun way to compete and chat with others while you can still experience a mostly single player rhythm game.
Eerie and romantic gameplay on the top of a skyscraper
Graphically, the game really hits that synth aesthetic. It’s crisp, vibrant, colourful and beautiful. Not only are you presented with the vibrant colour coded gameplay elements whizzing by you, the stages are also done with different atmosphere like a standing on the rooftop overlooking a beautiful nighttime cityscape. Some of the music packs even come with extra stages that reflect them, such as the cool street punk stage from Gorillaz.
For accessibility, you also have the option for moving stages or have it stationary to prevent motion sickness. When I started, I mostly played it stationary as a precaution, then when I got comfortable, switched to moving stages, which was jarring at first, but it made the gameplay more immersive and gave the stages life. I highly recommend moving stages if you are able to. Not only did they put love in their stages, the Hub can also be changed with some giving you extra features! If you change your hub to The Room, you are treated to an arcade game called Synth Invaderz.
A game within a game
Accessibility and options, in my opinion, are important features in a VR game, especially for newcomers to virtual reality like myself. In this aspect Synth Riders did not disappoint. You have colour options for gameplay elements, calibration of your height to ensure you’re able to play accurately, change to moving or stationary stages as previously mentioned, and many more. Some HUD can even be removed altogether for a really immersive gameplay. The game really sets itself apart from other rhythm games currently available for PSVR2.
Synth Riders is a must for anyone that is a fan of rhythm games. Immersive, beautiful, really fun gameplay, and best of all, a great collection of tracks! A rhythm game to rival and tide you over while waiting for Beat Sabres for PSVR2. Get this game, you won’t regret it!
Vibrant colours and beautiful stages.
Amazingly choreographed, easy to pick up & fun to master.
Fifty-nine free and fifty-two optional tracks.
Fun Factor: 10
Dance to the beat & burn some calories.
Final Verdict: 9.5
Synth Riders is available now on PSVR, PSVR2, Meta Quest, PC, VivePort.
Reviewed on PSVR2.
A copy of Synth Riders was provided by the publisher.