Audio Trip, the newest VR rhythm game from Kinemotik Studios, has launched in early access and promises enough flow state and fun you won’t even realize you’re getting fit. Move your entire body along to the beat as you catch gems, ride ribbons, dodge barriers, and smash drums in routines crafted by a professional choreographer, complimented by environments constructed from the mind of a licensed architect.
Prepare like a dancer would, because you’re about to be one of those. Before you even get into the headset fill your water bottle and grab a towel. This game actually inspired my most recent purchase of VR covers so make sure your HMD of choice is wearing a freshly laundered one. Do some dynamic stretches for a few minutes to warm up and loosen your entire body. When you first load Audio Trip, ease into your play by starting with a Beginner or Regular difficulty “Trip”, the term for the different levels of difficulty in the game. I use two programs to track my activity: my Samsung Galaxy watch & YUR.
Intensity – 9/10
At its most challenging—high BPM, full trips, on Expert—the game uses your whole body to move, shake, duck, grove, and sweat your way through incredibly immersive environments. The longest track is a little over six minutes and after playing through at full intensity I was winded, my heart rate maxing out at 166. After recording several hours of gameplay—my most recent half-hour session netting me a 204 calorie burn—it’s safe to say I consistently burn more calories than I do playing some of my other favorite rhythm games.
- Calories burned: 207
- Calories per minute: 6.5
- Average heart rate: 124
- Max heart rate: 166
- Active Minutes: 32 (12 mins Cardio 10 mins Peak)
Arms – 7.5/10
While the game incorporates these muscles in several ways—interpretive dance-esque movements with arms extended and flowing, banging a drum, throwing a fist in the air—there isn’t a lot of repetitive or straining arm movement. You’re not notching and aiming a bow over and over, or boxing, or swinging sabers like a psychopathic samurai.
Legs – 10/10
It. Hurts. So. Good. If you’re using the appropriate form to squat and avoid walls (no ducking!) this is going to be where you feel it the most when you wake up the next morning. I’m not sure there is a single trip that doesn’t require you to squat, a lot. An hour-long session filled my quads to the brim with battery acid.
Core and Balance – 8.5/10
My abs loudly testify before you today—and every morning after playing—that positioning your arms, torso, and head requires more core engagement than you’d imagine. Additionally, some of the expert trips have pretty quick movements around walls or from side to side, putting your coordination and balance to good use.
Time Perception – 10/10
What is time? In Audio Trip your physical body ascends to a flow state untethered by such constructs. In Audio Trip there is only you and the music, both pulled together as a singular unit through immersive environments and impressive choreography provided by a professional choreographer. Okay but seriously, the choreography and environments are remarkable. Every obstacle or environmental detail—such as lighting, walls, or specific note types—is placed with purpose and with an obvious appreciation for and understanding of music and dance. The soundtrack also rocks, featuring music by Lady Gaga, Skrillex, Zedd, deadmau5 and more, Audio Trip will quickly let you forget about the clock as you dance to some of your favorite tracks by some of your favorite artists.
Replayability – 9/10
The game is launching with ten songs, each song has two length options: Quick Trip or Full Trip, and each length has three difficulty options: Beginner, Regular, Expert. That’s a total of sixty trips ranging in length from two minutes to a little over seven and a half minutes. Even if you only play each level one time on No Fail, never trying to improve your scores, you’d still have hours and hours of gameplay. I personally wanted to redo trips to get better because I was having so much fun; however, it is still limited by its current OST size lacking a native creation tool. Kinemotik Studios does plan on releasing a choreographer tool very soon, enabling player made trips, which could increase replayability substantially.
Fitness Scalability – 8/10
As mentioned previously, the vast range of difficulties being released means there is likely something challenging and fun for every level of fitness. Furthermore, while I haven’t tried it, it seems possible to wear ankle weights if you want to turn up the difficulty even more. That being said, there are a couple of ways you aren’t able to turn the difficulty down. Removing obstacles isn’t an option, and no color customization could make identification difficult for some. Developers have these suggestions on their radar for the future, but for the time being, they warrant a couple of points reduction.
Lack of Nausea – 8/10
Audio Trip takes you on a literal jam journey through creative environments via a platform progressing forward on a track. There are some stationary items that move towards you—obstacles like walls, drums, or triangle notes—but despite this combo, I never once got motion sick. Even when my game was having performance issues and I was losing frames I was still impressively okay. That being said, some people might not be considering the nature of the level design, and spectators may also have an issue with it if players aren’t able to use the in-game spectator mode due to hardware limitations.
Social Competition – 5/10
Feel free to chase your friends on local leaderboards with global boards coming as a high priority update after the initial launch. Aside from that, there isn’t much in the way of social competition…yet. Developers have plans for things like party mode, multiplayer, and challenge mode on their radar for future updates.
VRFI Fit Score – 8.5
Audio Trip does an amazing job of making you, as Lady Gaga encourages, “just dance.” The accuracy with which Kinemotik Studios is able to attain with your body movements using only a few obstacles delights and ignites the inner dancer in me. Each trip feels like an immersive and intentional musical experience and the soundtrack feature list is impressive by any studio standards. The music selection contains a wide variety of types, making it more likely that everyone finds something they love.
Still being in early access means a few features—such as color customization, multiplayer, and the choreography tool—are slated to follow at a later date. These features, once implemented, will flush Audio Trip out into a robust rhythm game experience fun for all levels of fitness.
Headsets: Valve Index, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Windows Mixed Reality