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Harmonix turn VR gunfire into music in Audica this March

I really need to buy a VR headset soon. I’ve had the chance to play some of Beat Saber and Space Pirate Trainer on borrowed hardware and loved both – now prolific rhythm studio Harmonix are mashing those concepts together and calling it Audica. One colour-coded space-gun in each hand, blue and orange targets to shoot to the beat and the occasional oncoming meteorite to slash with your laser-bayonets. It’s simple on paper, but looks, to me, at least, like enormous fun, and is due to hit early access on March 7th – see how it looks below, in the mixed reality debut trailer.

Audica looks less physically demanding than Beat Saber, but more technical. There’s targets you need to hold one gun on, rapid-fire segments you need to trace your gun down the line of, synced targets where you need to fire both guns at once and the neutral melee targets to swipe at. It reminds me a lot of Ouendan (or its English spinoff Elite Beat Agents), only ambidextrous and spacey. I’m curious to see what kind of challenges Harmonix have planned at the higher levels, and they’re considering adding even more systems to its shooting before it leaves early access later this year.

The only concern I have is the music. The track in the video above ain’t bad, and they promise at least 25 tracks in the full game, each playable on four difficulty settings. That said, Beat Saber has been so enduring because it allows players to create their own levels. Given the expressive ways you can assemble note charts in Audica, it’d be something I’d love to see in player’s hands, but there’s no mention of a level editor planned. The early access version will have ten tracks and one environment and weapon set, though they’ve not announced a track-list or price yet.

Audica enters early access on March 7th. You can find it on the Steam and Oculus stores, although it will support HTC Vive headsets as well, and the game can be played sitting down, if you like.

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Dominic Tarason

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