Indie Classic Review: Auditorium
Going on holiday has put me back a few weeks, so let me try to get back into the swing of things with another review of a Cipher Prime title. This time we are looking at Auditorium, which made an appearance recently in Indie Royale’s June Bug bundle.
It is probably a little tricky for me to review this without going over ground already covered in my review for Splice, given I said at the time that they had a history of creating original and visually stunning puzzle games with just the right number of mechanics to keep things interesting without pushing too far and a well-constructed difficulty curve. These elements are certainly all present here in their breakout title.
In case you missed the vast amount of attention this game got on its release in 2008, the aim of the game is to direct a river of particles through boxes that spark up elements of the musical score until all are playing in unison. When this happens you are rewarded by being allowed to watch the resultant flow isolated from the puzzle elements, accompanied by the soundtrack created by them. There are fifteen acts, most of which introduce a fresh element to the table with a finale that combines everything you have learned for the greatest challenges the game has to offer. In this way, as it is with Splice, you learn intuitively by progression, meaning no clumsy tutorials to wade through before you jump in. If you can complete a level, then you have accrued all the tools you require to complete the next.
As there is rarely a single path to completing a puzzle, experimentation really is key. One of my solutions to one of the later puzzles seemed to fall into place remarkably easily, whereas the next seemed a convoluted mess, yet the fact that it worked was far greater a reward on this second puzzle as I pushed and tweaked my solution, restarting several times until I finally managed to get the stream where I wanted it by the narrowest of margins. I am sure that some levels have dozens – if not more – of potential solutions.
In all, it took me a little under four hours to complete, but I admit to having played a little before on iOS so I knew the basics before getting started. However, there is certainly some scope for replayability as, besides Auditorium being a lovely playing field to mess around in, I am sure that many of my solutions could be far tidier. The mathematician in me will not allow that to go unaddressed too long.
Summary: Auditorium was a stunning debut from one of the strongest puzzle studios active today.
Verdict: 8 out of 10 (if only because compared to Splice I found Auditorium slightly less of a challenge)
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux, iPhone, PS3, PSP
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As an aside, Auditorium 2: Duet was successfully funded via Kickstarter back in March of this year, which will offer more puzzles and a cooperative gameplay mode. Their predicted launch date was October of this year, so keep your eyes peeled.