If you got into VR in the past couple of years you could be forgiven for thinking Beat Saber was the game that spawned virtual reality’s rhythm genre. Not so. Audioshield, developed by Dylan Fitterer was launched on Steam for the HTC Vive way back in April 2016, and for a time was one of VR’s most popular games.
A simple idea, but perfectly executed, AudioShield had you blocking the beats, literally holding up your twin shields,(one red, one blue, wonder where Beat Saber got that idea from!) to defend against the oncoming musical attack.
The gameplay felt immediately intuitive and exhilarating, easy to pick up and play but difficult to master. It was a workout too, in fact, a player made modification mode remains to this day the most physically demanding VR game according to the VR Institute of Health and Exercise, burning even more calories than the Thrill of the Fight!
VRFI contributor Tim Donahey who tried the modded version back in 2017 was in agreement that Audioshield Modder 1.5 Puts Audioshield On Steroids.
Not only that but the game had two killer features that guaranteed its longevity. Youtube integration and the ability to generate beat-maps of your own MP3’s on the fly.
The game was wildly popular, and for good reason, it was great.
Sadly the Youtube integration got removed, undoubtedly due to copyright threats from Google or the RIAA, sparking a huge, and entirely unfair user backlash, who directed their ire at the poor developer. Refunds were demanded, sales of the game declined, and of course, then Beat Saber released to universal acclaim, Audioshield’s time in the limelight had gone.
But wait! It turns out Audioshield is not dead, and in spectacular George Foreman, comeback style is debuting this week on the Oculus Quest!
This is unexpected, and rather fantastic news. Audioshield was always intensely playable and even without Youtube integration, its ability to generate beat-maps of your own mp3 music collection is a killer feature. Fitterer has confirmed that the Quest will retain this feature, either from mp3 files stored on the Quest itself, or from your PC’s music folder, if using a wired connection.
If the trailer below whets your appetite, don’t worry you won’t be left to salivate for long. The game releases April 16th. I’m really looking forward to seeing how this translates to the wireless, mobile platform.
If you’re tired of Beat Saber’s electronica and weeb musical bias and want to be able to rock out in VR to your own music collection then Audioshield on Quest could definitely be one to check out.
As I was putting this together popular Youtuber Nathie just uploaded a Quest preview on his channel so you can get a good idea how it plays. Just remember if you don’t like Nathie’s rather sedate choice of grooves you can choose whatever you like!