When I was given the chance to review Track Lab, a new music creation experience for PSVR, I wasn’t sure it would be for me. While I can appreciate a great sounding tune I’ve always been musically challenged and creating my own has always seemed far beyond my capability. However, as the developers aren’t just aiming Track Lab at experienced musicians I thought I’d give it a go and see how I got on.
To get started with Track Lab you need a PSVR headset, PlayStation Camera and the PlayStation Move controllers. This is a game I found best played seated and once inside you view the action from a virtual DJ booth. Floating in front of you is a grid of blocks and this is the area where you’ll be creating your musical masterpiece.
Track Lab offers two different modes – Evolver and Creation. No matter your musical ability I’d suggest everyone starts with the Evolver mode. Here the game presents you with different types of music and you need to solve increasingly complex musical puzzles. The idea is that beating the puzzles teaches you a little more about how to create music in the game. When you load a track the grid is partially populated and your job is to fill in the gaps to finish the track.
Watch the Track Lab launch trailer below:
Pulses of light are fired off across the grid and they play any music samples that they touch. The layout of the starting grid gives you a clue as to what you’re trying to create. If a pulse isn’t hitting certain samples then you need to guide it to them. This is done using building blocks called optics which can be placed around the grid. Optics are capable of blocking, splitting and diverting the pulses.
Track Lab gradually increases the complexity of the puzzles allowing you time to learn. Each time you beat a puzzle you feel a real sense of accomplishment and ready to take on the next challenge. Each one you beat becomes available as a track that you can load into your DJ station to play, mix and even add extra effects.
I found the controls extremely intuitive. You use the two Move controllers to grab the various blocks and place them into the grid. You can also change the orientation of blocks which becomes essential in guiding pulses to the right samples. I enjoyed beating the puzzles and found myself better at the game than I was expecting.
View some screenshots from Track Lab in our gallery:
Once you’ve got your head around how to make your own music with the help of the Evolver mode, then it’s onto Creation to try and put your new skills to work. The game supports 16 different musical styles including Rock, Metal, Hip Hop and even Chiptune. What you create is up to you but I struggled to create anything much more impressive than some simple loops. I’d expect an experienced musician would have a lot more fun in this mode and that they would be capable of creating some impressive pieces.
Like the unlocked tracks from Evolver mode, the tracks you make in Creation can be messed with on your DJ booth. You can mix your creations together and again add in effects to create your set. Once you’ve got something you’re happy with you can livestream it to show other players what you’ve made. One thing that I felt was missing here was a way to just export your creations out as audio files.
Overall, Track Lab is an impressive experience that makes it possible for anyone to create their own music. However, I found that making something great really wasn’t an easy task. More experienced musicians should have an easier time and will likely get a lot more out of the game.
Track Lab was reviewed using a digital code supplied by the publisher.
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe Developer: Little Chicken Game Company Release Date: August 22nd, 2018 Reviewed On: PS4/PSVR