Synth Riders review for PSVR

Platform: PlayStation VR
Also On: Steam, Oculus
Publisher: Kluge Interactive
Developer: Kluge Interactive
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: Leaderboards

Rhythm games are usually not my cup of tea. However, VR seems to be place to go for some unique experiences when it comes to this genre. You just seem to have more fun when you are completely immersed in a virtual world, surrounded by the music that you are trying to hit the beats to. Games like Beat Saber, and REZ are great examples of how to do this type of game right and are considered the standard when it comes to VR Rhythm games. That is until Kluge Interactive released their entry in the form of Synth Riders.

In Synth Riders, you control two color spheres, one in the left hand and one in the right with Move Controllers. The beats start flying toward you and you match the beats with the corresponding color of the controller in time with the song. Occasionally, the game changes it up by throwing long rails of beats you need to glide the controller through and changing the color order of the beats to keep you on your toes. Sometimes you need to bring the controllers together to make one color sphere and press and hold the triggers to change the color of the spheres to hit certain beats. These changes come at you fast but with practice you will get the rhythm down easily. Missing too many beats will cause you to fail the song. You are scored by how early or late your spheres make contact with the beats and your performance is broken down in percentages of “Perfect” “Good” and “Poor”. The better you do, the higher the score. It’s simple, fun and addictive.

The music selections here are all ’80s techno rock, or ’90s synth tracks. Groups like The Offspring, Muse, and Bad Religion bring some great tracks to glide to. The included songs you get with the base game are great and really fit the style of the game. While some tracks are better than others, none of them are annoying or ear piecing. The DLC packs available bring even more great tunes to play. Some tracks don’t give you a score, but rather let you experience the song with unique background animations and colors. Overall, I find the music tracks for Synth Riders much better and more enjoyable than the ones found in Beat Saber.

Control for the most part is perfect with the PlayStation VR. I only had a few issues when I first started playing, but I think that came down to the height I set at the beginning (I was sitting down). Changing that can really help performance if you experience issues. I cannot speak for the other units this is available on since I did not try those, but if they are anything like the Move Controllers, they will be great. While it doesn’t present anything groundbreaking in the visual department, the graphics are a pleasure to view. They are colorful, yet simple and really give you a sense of depth as you are flying through the VR World. I can compare the visuals to that of Far Cry Blood Dragon, with it’s heavily ’80s influenced scenes. It’s all really cool and is loads of fun to play through as well as watch.

Synth Riders is a perfect way to experience a VR rhythm game. It’s a simple concept that is still fun regardless of your skill level. Most people will be able to pick up and play this for hours on end with no complicated instruction. If you found the music in Beat Saber or REZ not to your liking, than you’ll feel right at home here! For the best experience, I highly recommend you download the available music tracks for some more great music choices. This is one game that definitely belongs in your PlayStation VR collection.

Note: Kluge Interactive provided us with a Synth Riders PS4 code for review purposes.

Grade: A