I haven’t played much VR recently, and to be honest I’ve been waiting for something on PSVR to catch my attention to the same level as Resident Evil 7 did, and I was hoping Symphony of the Machine would be it; but I was wrong. From the trailer I saw it looked like more of an exploration puzzle game, much like The Witness, but this game has nothing on the scale and quality of The Witness. The concept is interesting, and it would actually be a good game if there was more to it but mainly if it actually worked; that’s usually an expectation I have, for the game to properly function.
There isn’t much story, at all; in fact the main aim of the game is to make these different plants grow depending on the elements they require. You move from your spawn point and get up the tower, which can be done in basically two seconds, and then you have the choice of four elements; these being sun, rain, wind and them some more wind. These elements are represented by plates on the wall, and to activate these plates you need to direct the laser in the middle of the tower towards these plates. Every time you grow one plant you get another aspect, whether it be a mirror or a splitter for the laser, and the game slowly becomes more and more complex. Sounds simple doesn’t it?
The concept above by the way is the intended outcome of the game, so in that little synopsis I decided to cut out all of the frustration I had with items and how dull the game seemed as first; but have no fear, all that is to come. I’ll start off with the things I enjoyed, and there were actually a decent amount. The landscape was rather nice to look at, and as you find yourself on a high tower it’s just pleasant to have a little stop and look around as you are so bloody high up. I also liked how the weather changed whenever you active a certain element, as that gave a new skin to the aesthetics which means there was more to look at.
I do really like the concept of the game, once I had worked out what this game was meant to be and the super small-scale I’d be working on, the problem I had with the game was the functioning. I’ve used my room before for games like Holoball and Fruit Ninja VR and the space has never been an issue with regards to connectivity and calibration, so the problems I had when playing Symphony of the Machine have to be down to the game itself.
The problems I had when playing was that whenever I tried to teleport with something in my hand, as this was the only way to move around, 9 times out of 10 it would stay in the same place that it was before I moved. There is also a little robot that gives you items, but when I moved my hand towards the robot it would just back up out of my grasp, making it infuriating to get any progression. At times items would just disappear out of my grasp when I angled them in a particular way, which you had to do to reflect the laser in the direction you wanted; I assumed this happened as the game through you’d been outside the play area, but I did my best to avoid this by only using the buttons to turn rather than the 360 degree freedom offered by the PSVR. These may not seem like big problems, but for a VR game is can be pretty distracting and sour your experience a lot.
Once you get past this being a short puzzle game, Symphony of the Machine seems like a game you could actually enjoy; but the poor control and the issues with items disappearing make me think it’s not worth it. If the concept interests you I’d wait until there are maybe a few updates and the creases are ironed out, and then give this a go. I think this game would be good if it just functioned a bit better.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.