Just beat it.
From the first notes hitting my neon green and pink hands, Synth Riders won me over. By the time I finished my first song, I was smiling madly. I started the song over and played it again before trying out some of the electro-swing tunes.
Release Date: August 10th, 2021
Developer: Kluge Interactive
Publisher: Kluge Interactive
Availability: PSN (Digital)
All told, on my first go of Synth Riders, I played for a good hour and I was having so much fun, I completely forgot to capture any gameplay footage for the video version of this review. Oh well, I get to play some more, I thought to myself. And I did. I played until my Move controllers died, which was only a couple of hours – my Move wands are OG oldies, and the batteries are basically knackered these days.
So, what is Synth Riders on PSVR?
Synth Riders is a rhythm action game that’s a kind of cross between the super popular Beat Saber and BoxVR.
In Synth Riders, your hands are replaced by glowing orbs – green and pink – and you hit the coloured notes that come flying towards you with the right coloured hand at the right time. The game also throws in some sections where you need to make your orbed hand follow a glowing neon line, with more points being awarded for accuracy. And, of course, what would a rhythm game be without some obstacles for you to duck and dodge – though these can be turned off in the game’s extensive settings.
The customisation options are actually a real highlight and allowed me to stick the PSVR goggles on my five-year-old boy and let him boogie in a Tron-like dreamscape by switching to easy, turning off obstacles, and enabling no-fail mode. He was just happy to be taking part.
He didn’t get to play for long though – one, because we don’t yet know the long term side effects of virtual reality, and two, I wanted it back. I needed it back, because I was hooked and I needed my next fix.
I’m not a dancer in life and the closest I’ve ever come to doing anything resembling dancing is getting half-naked in Metros – the underground rave joint in Cardiff – and jumping around to the Pokemon theme tune. I was younger back then and drugs were much easier to come by.
These days, I’d rather dance on the autobahn rather than on a public dancefloor, yet Synth Riders has managed to get me swinging my arms, my hips, and my head to its setlist of heavy beats and electro-pop – a world away from my usual listening of The Killers, The Streets, and James Blunt. Don’t you dare judge me.
Make no mistake – Synth Riders is a dancing game. Even if you’re a no-dancer like me, the game tricks you into swinging yourself into a rhythm and before you know it, you start imagining what it will be like when you eventually get back out to the nightclubs and how you’ll win the crowd over, Stiffler style.
My strange fantasies aside… Synth Riders is just really good for your mood, too. I’ve put myself in the game over a dozen times now and each and every time, I come out of its 80s neon dancefloors smiling and sweating. It’s a good workout, especially when you up the difficulty and really get your body moving. The extra modes help out with getting you moving, too, and Party Mode is great for passing the headset amongst a group of players – nobody should be left out of this one.
Sitting down to write this review, I found myself thinking “what did I not like about Synth Riders?” and I’m coming up with nothing. Even with the very best of games, I can typically find a handful of faults, even if I have to do a bit of reaching to find them. I can’t find a single one here. Nothing. I can’t even fault the music because after so long playing the game, I’ve come around to liking most of it, so much so that I’m convinced that,= like a sleeper agent hearing their activation phrase, if I hear one of these tunes in public I’ll automatically start dancing. Let’s hope I’m not on the autobahn when that happens…
Synth Riders PSVR Review
- Overall - Must Play - 10/1010/10
Synth Riders is the closest thing to a perfect video game that I’ve ever played, and it’s a must-play for any PSVR owner – or any fan of video games for that matter.
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Primary version tested: PS4. Reviewed using PSVR on PS5.
For more PSVR reviews, be sure to check out our Reviews section, as well as our friends over on VR Game Critic.