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Auditorium (iPhone)

Review by Ben Briggs, December 16, 2009

iPhone integration (About)
  • Save state: No
  • iPod music: Yes
  • Status bar: No

A few months back we reviewed a game called Genesis which felt, to us, the best Auditorium experience on the iPhone. Well, now that the flash game has made it’s transition to mobile we’re happy to report that it was exactly what we were expecting. The two are of course very similar as Genesis was inspired by the original flash game, but we can say that Auditorium is the better of the two overall. Firstly because it is the original and a unique idea in itself—and secondly because it has a wider selection of levels, even if you have to add a few packs as in app purchases.

You may be thinking that the developer should have bundled the purchases in with the game, and that’s a viewpoint we can agree with—especially when you’re paying £1.79 for this title. However, even if you buy all of the additional content, you’ll be paying half that of the download that you get from the website. To us, that’s good value—and it also means that you’re stumping up less money initially, to try the hour or two worth of content that you get here.

Onto the game and what you’ll find is that this title is something more to witness than to play. Sure, you move around circular elements with your fingers to find the solution to the puzzle, but the experience feels more transcendent—mostly because of the way the audio and visuals combine together to create a whole composition. Trying different possibilities out results in flurries of particles, sparkling and flickering around the screen, and as they brush the small colour containers, that particular channel increases in volume even if for a brief moment. The ultimate goal is to fill all these containers with particles of varying colour so that the whole music track can be heard.

New gameplay elements are added at a steady pace, allowing you to familiarise yourself with their different properties. For example, in the first movement you’re simply playing with the flow and how directional arrows affect the path in which it travels—later on you are presented with multiple coloured rings that you need to pass the flow through so that it can fill different colour containers, and even later you’ll find elements like nodes that attract the flow in a mesmorising fashion, or a rabbit that increases the speed of the particle stream.

Each control can be pinched outwards and in to vary its level of intensity. Even slight changes to the area of effect or position on the board can have profound changes on the direction the flow takes—but as you’re given only the nodes that you need to complete the level, you can simply go through it with trial and error. There’s no scoring or time limit to get it done, so patience really helps in solving most of the challenges.

Auditorium has a very minimalistic presentation that allows the particle effects to come to the foreground. Some of the patterns that can be created are simply stunning in motion, and no matter how many screenshots we take we can’t show the wide variety of the effects that this game can produce. You can even choose to listen to your own music instead of hearing the game’s short loops. Whilst we like the concept of using loops for each movement, they don’t loop seamlessly and feel a little disjointed as a result, rather than a relaxing stream of music. You shouldn’t notice it too much whilst you’re arranging nodes though.

Overall the game bests its homage and is a fantastic example of a simple idea well executed. As it’s half the price of the comparable desktop experience it is definitely worth a look.

Grade: B, Great

A truly elegant title that allows you to play with some amazing particle effects and soothing musical composition—it’s also a steal.

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