Preview: Track Lab – A Beautiful Crescendo of Music and Puzzles
One of the most innovative VR titles to appear at E3 2018.
In previous Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) years Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) has always touted to the world that PlayStation is all about the games. That’s certainly been the case for 2018, with a myriad of titles including Déraciné, Trover Saves the Universe and the rather good Ghost Giant. Adding a musical twist to the proceedings is Track Lab, a videogame by Little Chicken Game Company that combines both music creation and puzzles into one inventive experience.
The core gameplay which VRFocus demoed centred around the puzzle aspect of Track Lab. The videogame uses light to symbolise beats and sounds, with a massive chequered board laid out in front of you. A pulse of light will be automatically fired out, flowing through various coloured orbs and hitting bumpers which create sounds. The aim of each puzzle is the get this light source to an end goal or goals.
Depending on each of the difficulty levels you’ll be able to access different items to manipulate the light and complete the puzzle, from objects that’ll change its direction to others that’ll split it in two. These are simple grabbed and placed as needed using the PlayStation Move controllers. Each level is made up of several boards, each needing to be completed in sequence that’ll create a core sound or rhythm.
Here’s the thing, when you succeed in completing a puzzle you’ll get a box which can be placed on a plinth with a volume slider. As each puzzle is finished you’ll be able to add further boxes, building up a selection of beats. Then as a side mission – more something fun to play with – this DJ style area can then be used to manipulate the sounds collected, with various manipulation options located on either side of you plus a cross-fader where your knees are.
This has a complete two-fold effect for a single-player puzzler, the puzzles themselves are well laid out and easy to pick up once you’ve learnt the basics. Then once you’ve finished with the puzzle aspect of Track Lab you can play around with those beats as much as you like. And that’s before VRFocus has even mentioned the creation mode – which we didn’t demo this time, that’ll come later.
It’s clear to see that Little Chicken Game Company has put a lot of thought and effort into Track Lab, developing an experience that takes a well defined genre and turns it on its head. For the musically gifted Track Lab might seem simple, yet for the rest of us the mix of gameplay and music creation will likely win over many fans. This is another PlayStation VR exclusive that gamers should be keen to see arrive.