Developer: EA Games
Price: $2.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0.0

Graphics / Audio Rating: ★★★★½
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★½
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆

iPhone Integration Rating: ★★★★☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★★☆

Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

IMG_0248Auditorium is not typical EA Games fare. Heck, it’s not even a normal game.

What is it? A treat for your eyes and ears, a great way to relax, a puzzle with a well-tuned difficulty curve, and an excellent 2D physics game. That’s not to say that it’s for everyone. Auditorium might have all of EA’s signature polish, but it also has the quirkiness of an indie game. The puzzles will make you think, and it feels almost like an art piece at times. But it’s a vibrant, beautiful game, and thoughtful gamers may find themselves in love. The only downside is the (relatively) short number of included levels, though more can be obtained via in-app purchase.

Each level begins with a stream of light particles (the Flow), which must be driven to the empty Audio Containers scattered around the level. You direct the Flow by using “controls,” which look like buttons. These vary from simple directional controls (i.e., up, down, left, and right) to special ones like the Attract or Rabbit (speed-up) controls. Controls can be dragged around the screen, and their intensity can be changed with a two-fingered pinch or pull. When the Flow strikes an Audio Container, music begins to play; when all Audio Containers are full, the level is complete.

IMG_0249It’s all a bit hard to explain, but very easy to understand once you’re actually playing the game. The beginning levels are all easy enough, and introduce you gently to the game’s core concepts. Meanwhile, later levels can be devilishly tricky. Introductions of new controls and multiple colors means that your strategies are always evolving. While the difficulty curve works for the most part, my only peeve is that you must complete each level in order. If you’re stumped by a single level, that’s it. It’s an unfortunate (though common) decision that puts a small damper on Auditorium’s magic. On the bright side, each level has multiple solutions.

For the most part, however, this is an excellent game. It’s extremely relaxing, as well as thought-provoking. The graphics are subtle and minimalistic, as are the sound effects. And while Auditorium is actually a port of a web-based game, it feels like it was made for the iPhone. Like I said: EA’s polish plus an indie game’s innovation means a win for the customer. Agile players may find themselves finished with the first 25 levels within a few hours; still, there are extra packs available for purchase.

Auditorium is unusual, soothing, inventive, and extraordinarily pretty. If you’re looking for a sleek puzzle game, put this one on your list for sure.

Posted in: Games, iPhone Apps and Games, Reviews

Tagged with: , ,