I have sampled almost all of the VR rhythm games out there. From classics like Beat Saber, to Pistol Whip, to Audica, and even OhShape. They all bring something unique to the table, but Synth Riders is something special. Not only does it offer a killer workout, but its eclectic mix of music across a variety of genres (some of which I’ve never heard before), creates an experience that really feels complete.
IIf you’ve mastered your current rhythm games, or you want to just pick one to become the best at, Synth Riders would be my recommendation without a doubt. Allow me to explain why I believe this is the last rhythm game you’ll ever need on PSVR.
A Sleek Gameplay Style Combines With The Best Tracklist VR Has to Offer
Synth Riders as its core requires you to use glowing spheres in your hand to hit colored dots that come flying at you in rhythm with the track.
For longer stretches, you’ll see these winding rails that also match your chosen colors. Simply guide your hand into the rail and follow it to the end to successfully complete the mechanic. When your hands hit these rails, you’ll see these spheres light up and spin as if running along the virtual track, hence the riders in Synth Riders.
Things get more interesting when you see colored dots beyond the ones illuminated on your hands. Green dots, for example, require you to hit them with either hand, and then continue to hit them with that same hand until the set is finished.
Yellow dots require you to put your hands together and follow the trail to its completion without pulling your hands apart. Finally, obstacles in the form of translucent panels will require you to duck and weave to avoid colliding with them.
This all forms the basis for the gameplay. What’s nice is that the dots are numerous enough on any difficulty that you still feel engaged, even on something like easy mode.
It also means that things get insane with higher difficulties. Trust me, you haven’t lived until you hit your way through a hundred dots or more as the thundering rhythm of a rock song blasts through your headphones.
The game also features “experiences” tailored to specific tracks, and a ton of modifiers to customize how the game plays and add new layers to the difficulties. Things like instant failure, moving levels, and even reminders to grab a water break are all there.
There’s also a force mode that adds an extra requirement to how you hit the dots, whereas the standard mode only requires you to pass through them with the correct sphere in either hand. Of course, none of this really matters if the songs don’t deliver, and I’m pleased to say, at least as far as my tastes go, that this is easily my favorite roster of tracks.
The base game delivers 54 free songs, but I would absolutely spring for the Complete Music bundle as it adds another 25 songs that are some of my favorites. You’ll find rock and metal here alongside dubstep, electronica, and cyberswing! Let me tell you, I had never heard cyberswing music before this, but now I’m hooked.
The combination of classic swing music with the types of beats you hear in dubstep or electronica goes together like peanut butter and jelly for the ears. You’ll get this pack in the Complete Music bundle, hence my recommendation.
It’s also worth noting that Synth Riders is a heck of a workout, especially on higher difficulties. The game also makes it easy to really get into the zone by offering the option to just shuffle the entire track list and seamlessly move from one song to the next. Trust me, you’ll be sore when you’re finished.
While I normally reserve my thoughts for the last part of the review, Synth Riders just works. It’s a killer tracklist combined with a fast, engaging, and responsive gameplay experience. The difficulty scales nicely, and the maps for songs match up perfectly, even in the more chaotic tracks. Also, any game that shows me a new genre of music gets bonus points as well.
Superb Presentation Rounds out The Experience
Synth Riders has a clean presentation and a smooth frame rate on PSVR. The experiences stand out, but the levels themselves mostly stick to a classic sort of neon virtual reality style similar to what you’d see in something like Tron. It works, and it’s not distracting when you’re trying to handle hundreds of dots coming your way in all manner of combinations.
Little touches like the aforementioned sparks that fire out when you’re riding the in-game rails also drive the experience home. You can find the full soundtrack on Spotify, and that would be my only qualifier. If you like the music, you’ll love the game. Cannot recommend this one enough for VR rhythm enthusiasts.
Final Score: 9.010
A copy of Synth Riders + The Complete Music Collection was provided to PS4 Experts for review purposes.
Article by - Bradley Ramsey
Insert date - 8/20/2021