Audioshield and VR Design Experiences

I got Audioshield on sale, and I was pleasantly surprised by how different it was from the other VR experiences I’ve tried. I’m generally quite pleased with VR in general, but I noticed a few things that really stood out about how Audioshield was using its design in a much more efficient and smooth method than other games.

I had a few issues with Audioshield at first, for a couple reasons. The most arduous one is the use of Windows Mixed Reality controllers, and simply stems from the fact that I’m relatively novice at using them and that Audioshield isn’t designed for inside-out tracking.

The result was having to occasionally reach outside my field of vision and outside where my Samsung headset could track the controllers. This isn’t usually catastrophic, but it did lead to a number of issues.

However, with a little bit of practice I could stop blaming the interface for my mistakes. By my fifth or six song I had managed to figure out the limits of my field of motion, and was able to easily avoid doing such.

I theorize that a lot of this would be easier if I had an actual space to move around in, instead of standing, but I’m not yet set up for room-scale VR.

The basic gameplay of Audioshield is relatively simple: block incoming orbs with shields “carried” by the motion controller.

It’s addictive, however, and it’s a worthy successor to the Audiosurf series. Playing on Elite (which I only stomached for a single round to test it) is frenetic and an amazing experience, especially if you’re good (it does feel like it is designed for room-scale only).

The best part,  however, is that the interface is actually well-designed, something that is different from most of the other VR games I’ve experienced.

Admittedly, a lot of this is due to the fact that it’s a fairly sparse control scheme: you just move your controllers without any additional actions. However, the UI is a very traditional cursor-driven one with some small adaptations, and while it’s a little difficult to use at first (accidental scrolling abounds!) it is much more intuitive than, say, Bethesda’s efforts in Fallout 4 VR.

All-in-all, Audioshield is probably the number one thing I’d suggest people make sure they get during the Steam VR sale. It runs around $10, and if you’re a fan of Audiosurf but want a similar experience in virtuality, it’s a good option that uses some, but not all, of the opportunities of motion controls.

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