More fun than you can shake two sticks at…
Ever fancied being the next Calvin Harris or Tiesto only to find that your musical talents stretch to singing karaoke badly on a Friday night? Well you’re not alone, so thankfully there are videogame developers out there aiming to bring your DJing fantasies to life. The latest comes from well-known virtual reality (VR) studio Survios (Raw Data, Sprint Vector), with Electronauts, an immersive experience where even the most tone deaf players will be able to make something that sounds half decent.
Survios has built a reputation from its last two releases as a premium content developer for VR headsets and Electronauts looks like it’s going to continue that trend. The premise is simple, give players a bunch of songs by some of the most famous electronic dance artists in the world and let them remix the tracks however they like using core samples plus loads of other electronic wizardry.
Let’s be clear from the start, Electronauts isn’t designed as a piece of music creation software that gives you control over every cymbal and bass beat to then put on Sound Cloud. This is a purely fun experience that takes the essence of music creation and manipulation, wrapping it up in an easy to digest package that becomes more addictive the more you learn what it can do.
And it can do a lot. As mentioned there’s no blank slate to start from, you choose from one of 40 tracks from the likes of The Chainsmokers, ODESZA, Krewella, Tiesto, ZHU, and DJ Shadow as a base. Using two sticks you’re given three consoles with which to start on your musical journey. By themselves they do nothing but put a cube on them and they suddenly light up with the corresponding control scheme. All the main sections are controlled via these cubes, which can be picked up and moved between consoles as needed.
They feature a myriad of different options, from floating orbs that can be hit for different melodies to sonic grenades that are thrown to add in a little extra. You can record loops and sequences, layer filters and include some vocals if you so wish. There’s so much on offer it can be a bit bewildering to start with – a tutorial is on hand for the basics – yet once you get in the swing of what does what Electronauts becomes intuitive and a joy to experiment with.
One of the reasons Electronauts is so user friendly comes down to the fact that it’s hard to make a bad tune, with the experience powered by what Survios call its proprietary Music Reality Engine. Thanks to some technical wizardry you can drop any sample, or note in at any time and it won’t sound out of place. While this does sound like it takes out some of the challenge that makes being a DJ difficult – and it does – there’s still a fine nuance to making a really decent track, one that really works with decent breaks and drops.
With all these options available it’s a bit of a shame that Electronauts doesn’t feature any sort of in built recording functionality for when you’ve had an epic jam session. Of course you can screen cap, and Electronauts is compatible with LIV for some mixed reality (MR) recording, but it’s not quite the same, especially if you don’t have the kit for MR videos.
On top of the extensive single-player there’s a two-player mode for when you want to collaborate with a mate. Featuring the same functionality, this mode is great for when two of you have similar musical interests and want to create an epic track.
Survios has managed to do what few VR developers have done, secure a hat trick of quality titles that should be in everyone’s library. Electronauts combines a wonderfully elaborate yet perfectly simple gameplay design alongside some of the best dance tunes from around the world, making for a videogame that will have you playing for hours and wanting ‘just one more go.’