Electronauts VR Review

It’s been months since the release of the first wave of consumer virtual reality headsets, and the market has matured somewhat, allowing more of us to try out VR. But how does it compare to traditional gaming? As I continue to lead our Oculus Rift review, I thought I’d take a look at the best experiences out there that unlock “inner grooves”.

I am in my early 30s and have been interested in VR since the days of the Oculus DK1 and DK2. I have tried a number of VR experiences and have met many people interested in virtual reality. Most of my experiences are short ones. In recent months I have written about ‘Electronauts’ and ‘The Lab’ (Vimeo’s VR arcade). I have also written about ‘Google Earth VR’ (Google), ‘The Lab’ (Vimeo’s VR arcade), and ‘Space Pirate Trainer’ (Steam). I have tried different headsets and have written about various input systems. I have also created a short video on how to use a Leap Motion with Oculus Rift.

It’s been a while since we did a VR demo, so the Electronauts VR Review was in dire need of a spotlight. This VR demo lets you explore the world of Electronauts, an imaginary world where everything is made of light. There are some cool surprises waiting for you, including a photo-modeling app, a 360-degree VR photo app and a cool VR scavenger hunt.. Read more about oculus vr games and let us know what you think.

Electronauts exists at a fascinating crossroads between game, experience, and tool. Depending on what you want to accomplish with Electronauts, your experience with it may differ. If you’re anything like me, you’ll discover a completely unique and accessible venue for expressing your inner rhythm.

Details on the Electronauts review:

Official Webpage

Developer: Survios Oculus Store (Rift), SteamVR (Vive, Rift), and PlayStation VR are all available. HTC Vive was used for this review.



Electronauts is a virtual reality DJ tool, but it’s cleverly designed to be accessible to individuals who have no prior experience with DJing. Each song in the game (40+ at launch, spanning a variety of EDM sub-genres) is essentially a custom-built music kit, replete with background tracks, freestyle instruments,’sound grenades’ (for one-off percussion), and voice parts (for some songs).

The fundamental experience is layering voices and loops, as well as playing on the freestyle instruments. Backing tracks are properly titled, for example: Intro, Build, Drop, Break, Deep, Outro. It may seem basic, but the tools you’re given have a surprising amount of complexity. But we’ll get to it later. For the time being, here’s a quick rundown of the tools, which will serve as useful background for the remainder of this review:


Now, if Electronauts simply threw everything at me, I’d make a complete fool of myself, since I came into here knowing virtually nothing about DJing. Thankfully, the game goes to great lengths behind the scenes to ensure that everything you do sounds good. This is mainly due to Survios’ ‘Music Reality Engine,’ which is an underlying technology that maintains all elements of the game’s music in sync and in tune. Freestyle instruments move your notes to maintain them in time, in addition to keeping all of the background tracks and stems on beat (also called quantization).

It didn’t take long for me to grasp what I could do with the tools in front of me, and I started putting together gratifying sequences that had me grooving to the rhythm, thanks to the Music Reality Engine and a short lesson integrated into the game. I began to realize the extra depth lying under the surface after gaining a feel for the fundamentals and being able to effectively control the flow of a song.

While the freestyle instruments (typically in the shape of orbs) are fun to fool about with, you can also hold down a button to record each time you strike the instrument, essentially recording a short sample that will play back again. When it comes to singing, you can skip between verses and even individual lines, giving you a lot of control over how your song’s vocals play out. Individual instruments in the background tracks may be muted to produce a distinct taste, or the whole track can be muted at once to emphasize a particular section of the vocals or an instrument solo. The sound grenades (which you toss to create a noise) serve as percussive exclamations, and any tool (instruments, voices, etc.) may be muted or unmuted at any moment using a shortcut button.


Once you understand all of the tools’ possibilities, you’ll have even more control over the sound and mood of each song, and it’ll be immensely gratifying to perfectly plan and execute a perfect transition to a new section of the song, or to perform a suitable freestyle solo. Finding a natural approach to bring a song to a close may be a pleasant task that promotes a sense of musical completion.

Electronauts has even more advanced features for musicians, such as the ability to turn off quantization for instruments, create song arrangements in advance (rather than queuing backing tracks on the fly), change the stems that accompany each backing track in a custom arrangement, and create interface layouts for quickly switching between groups of tools (rather than switching one tool at a time).

Electronauts has a really approachable vibe to it, but it also seems like it might be utilized for live performances. This is bolstered not just by the more advanced tools described above, but also by a robust set of in-game virtual camera controls that let you manage what other people view.

The usual first-person perspective on your desktop is flattened by default, so spectators see something more digestible than your rapid head movements. A virtual selfie stick, an in-game camera, and a monitor are also included in the game, which you may freely position wherever and have the resultant view appear on your desktop. There’s also an orbiting camera that follows your Daft Punk-like avatar around while you rock out. To top it off, there are visualizer controls that enable you to change the backdrop visualization’s color and pace.

Of course, if you wanted to play in front of a live audience, you could pipe the output from your desktop display to a streaming service or even a projector. As you DJ, you may change all of the camera and visualizer settings on the fly, allowing you to put on a captivating performance all by yourself.

If you don’t want to perform in front of an audience but know someone who does and has a VR headset, Electronauts offers two-player multiplayer (on Rift and Vive only). This puts both of your avatars in the same room and gives them access to the same tools, allowing you to DJ together on any track. Electronauts is compatible with both the Oculus Rift and SteamVR.



Electronauts is a fairly simple tool for creating the sensation of DJing in virtual reality, but it goes beyond that by putting everything up in a themed package that’s equal parts Tron and Daft Punk.

Electronauts begins with you aboard a futuristic spacecraft hurtling across space (undoubtedly fueled by sick rhythms). Your ship takes off and ‘travels’ to the music when you start a new song. As your spacecraft leaps into hyperspace before arriving at your next song destination, the transition between songs is smooth both audibly and aesthetically.

This ‘spaceship’ metaphor is just a setting—Electronnauts has no narrative or objectives—but it does help to bind the experience together into a coherent whole that never makes you forget you’re wearing a VR headset.

That includes the tool’s UI, which has a remarkably practical design that prevents things from becoming cluttered while keeping everything within easy reach. Electronauts teaches interface concepts that go beyond musical VR games, but that’s a topic for another day.

Of course, your pleasure of Electronauts and how much you tap into the rhythm will be heavily influenced by your musical preferences. The game is entirely based on EDM, which encompasses a wide variety of sub-genres.



Because you’re standing in one spot in Electronauts, there’s no need for any artificial movement, which means things will stay mostly pleasant. While there is some full-screen movement (such as the visualizer backdrop that is always approaching you), I never felt dizzy or uncomfortable while playing the game, even after long sessions of an hour or more.

Electronauts’ tools are well-designed and simple to use. They’re all activated in easy, straightforward ways that don’t need any superfluous or unpleasant hand movements or motions. Importantly, the interface keeps you facing ahead rather than down, which helps minimize neck strain caused by headsets (due to the front-heavy nature of VR headsets).

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