Game Reviews

Aurifi

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Aurifi
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As iPhone gaming becomes ever more crowded it’s becoming increasing difficult for games to get noticed.

It goes without saying that something truly unique is required to stand out in this thoroughly congested marketplace, and Aurifi unquestionably fits the bill.

In a strangely apt move considering the music-based origins of Apple’s device, Aurifi is an audio-only proposition. Although it features minimal visuals elements, it’s actually one of the first pieces of interactive entertainment played entirely through sound.

Eyes wide shut

In fact, it’s perfectly possible to shut your eyes as soon as the app is loaded: even the main menu can be navigated without looking at the screen, thanks to the sultry tones of the female voice-over.

Aurifi is a reaction test in which you hear various sounds and must perform the appropriate action. Tasks include tapping the side of the screen to pinpoint the origin of a sound and tilting your device to avoid oncoming noises.

Needless to say, it's unplayable without a pair of headphones since knowing which direction a sound originates is essential to success.

Paying close attention to the in-game tutorial is also vital. Aurifi is a surprisingly complex game, with several different facets which must be mastered if you’re to survive when the friendly narrator turns mute.

Listen carefully, I will say this only once

Granted, some of the explanations could do with a little work and on more than one occasion you’re certain to find yourself repeating a section because the tutorial is so frustratingly obtuse. Yet with patience comes understanding, and eventually you fathom the inner-workings of each segment.

When it all comes together Aurifi is a remarkable experience. By mercilessly removing the visual component of the game, developer Punk Pie has cleverly forced you to exclusively leverage your sense of sound.

This puts Aurifi in a unique position. It’s one of the only games that can be enjoyed by blind or partially-sighted people – that's inventiveness worth applauding.

It could be argued that Aurifi is best used as a relaxation tool than challenging game. After prolonged play it’s not uncommon to feel as if you’ve entered some kind of hippy-style trance, effortlessly reacting with the various audio prompts almost without being consciously aware of it.

Close your eyes and listen

Despite the innovative nature of the game there’s little point in arguing this is an experience suited to the individual taste of every gamer on the planet.

There are also some issues with the timing of various input commands. For example, at times there are noticeable delays when tilting and tapping the screen. Thankfully, the game is pretty forgiving in these cases and doesn’t punish too harshly when you accidentally miss a beat.

While it’s not likely to attract the attention of the masses due to its somewhat restrained gameplay and lack of aesthetic glamour, Aurifi is arguably one of the most significant iPhone releases of 2010 and definitely deserves to be experienced – and heard - by as wide an audience as possible.

Aurifi

Occasionally confusing instructions and repetitive nature aside, Aurifi is a fascinating experiment with sound which proves that you don’t need high-res visuals to make a compelling interactive experience
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