Symphony of the Machine is a new virtual reality puzzle game from the team over at Stirfire Studios. You begin the game in a desert with nothing around but a huge tower looming in front of you. The game is playable with either the Dualshock 4 or a single PlayStation Move controller with myself opting for the Move controller during most of my playtime. Symphony of the Machine uses the whole teleport mechanic for movement in the game where you point to where you want to move and then teleport there. You can also turn to the left or right which is handled by the game blinking each time you do. This is to avoid motion sickness and in my playthrough it worked as I never felt any sickness.
Once you get up to the top of the tower you will find a robot roaming about and a beam of light in the center of the tower. You can also gaze out across the landscape. The robot doesn’t talk but it is here to assist you in what you will be doing and that is solving puzzles to grow plants. Each puzzle begins with your robot buddy bringing you a planter full of soil and a seed. You then are shown a pattern representing the type of weather you need to bring about in order for the plant to grow. This is achieved by using beams and glyphs that are placed around the tower. You will have to split beams and redirect them towards the different glyphs to achieve your goal. Doing so allows you to harness the power of the sun, rain, clouds, and wind for whatever pattern you are trying to create. Mirrors and tubes are used to angle the beams or split them to achieve your tasks.
The puzzles start off pretty easy but they get harder pretty quick. This is because sometimes barriers appear when a beam hits a glyph and you have to figure out how to get past these in order to light up another glyph. None of the puzzles stumped me to the point of wanting to quit and with some time you’ll figure them out. You’ll need to sometimes pick objects up and move them around though and this is where the game has some issues. The controls don’t work especially well and I found myself getting a little frustrated with them. You can use the triggers to pick up things but if you are trying to move the object somewhere and the game loses tracking of your controller then the item gets sent back to where it was to begin with. This happened to me quite a few times and while it’s not game breaking or anything it is annoying having to go back and try to move the object again. You can have the robot move things for you though as it follows you pretty much everywhere. Thus I was able to put things on the robot and then have it follow me to move them which was handy.
The other issue with the game is it is over way too fast. In total there are seven plants you are asked to grow and it only took me around 90 minutes to finish my first time. After you finish it there is a Sandbox mode that was patched in that pretty much allows you to keep playing and grow plant after plant but the actual story if you can call it that is over too soon. There are no spoken words in the game with the game leaving it up to the player to piece together pieces of the story from paintings that are around. However nothing is ever really fully explained to you leaving you to wonder what exactly this tower is here for and what is going on.
Graphics in the game are good with the weather effects in particular looking impressive. The music in the game is also pretty good with it changing as you solve the puzzles. The little sound effects in the game are cool too with your robot buddy making some pretty cute beeps and booping noises. The game only has a handful of trophies to work towards with no Platinum but much like the rest of the game you’ll probably earn all of these pretty fast as well.
I like the puzzles in Symphony of the Machine but it doesn’t really do enough to differentiate itself from many other puzzle games out there. The lack of any real story, frustrating controls, and the short run time are also hard to overlook especially given the price and some of the other games you could pick up instead. If you’re a big fan of puzzle games you might find what is here worth it otherwise you might want to wait for a sale.
*Review code provided by the publisher