Synth Riders has been going strong now for the last three years and it’s still consistently dropping new tracks — in the form of both premium and free DLC — to its loyal player base. The latest pack adds five tracks from French electronic outfit Caravan Palace but also adds to the general experience with new environments, lighting and graphics.
This isn’t our first foray in to Synth Riders‘ rhythm surfing goodness, both Bryan and I have delved into it a year apart and the general consensus was that “Synth Riders offers a unique approach to the rhythm genre with a fresh, new take on beat-mapped gameplay and a soundtrack that features some of the best tracks to groove to” and “it’s clear the developers have taken a step back and looked at the progression of their player base whilst listening to feedback to implement more complex and ultimately more rewarding content”
After releasing what could be considered more mainstream content; with Muse joining the set list & most recently The Offspring; it was a little surprising to see Caravan Palace turn up on the new DLC announcement. A French electronic group formed around 2008 with a fairly static complement that has been added to as the group’s sound has matured . But, the team over at Kluge Interactive knows their crowd and the strengths of the game and its unique style over its competitors such as Beat Saber. It’s clear the decision to team up with Caravan Palace was a sound one.
Caravan Palace blends a number of traditional jazz inclinations with samples and rhythms very reminiscent of the classic “Charleston” (to give you an idea) mashed together in an Electro Swing delivery. The content drop includes a handful of songs across the band’s portfolio ranging from tracks taken from the bands 2015 album – <|°_°|>, one from the 2012 album “Panic” and up to 2019’s Chronologic.
As you progress up the difficulty in each song, the complexity increases but it’s easy to look back and realise the expert or master tracks were mapped first and then diluted for the easier difficulty modes as large swaths of more challenging strings disappear but it’s in the higher level this pack finds its feet. Plenty of player movement gets the heart racing and the swing beat goes well with large sweeping hand movements and some lane switching.
Wonderland also comes with an “Experience”, think of this as a unique 3D music video almost surreal, psychedelic and kaleidoscopic in design that replaces the standard Synth Rider levels. Given the source material, the experience is an excellent addition and something to look out for in future DLC releases that further differentiates Synth Riders from the crowd.
It would have been amazing to see Caravan Palace’s take on Black Betty (which they performed on Jools Holland Hootenanny on NYE 2016) but the five song setlist is pretty strong with “Lone Digger” standing out as probably the best of the bunch (and also likely my new favourite Synth Riders track already). This collaboration is good for Synth Riders, great for Caravan Palace and even better for the players. It adds more to the kitbag, extends the playlist and continues the tradition of pushing Synth Riders forward in both gameplay and interesting, well-formed content.
Synth Riders Caravan Palace DLC is available now on PC and Oculus with players able to purchase the set or individual tracks to suit their appetite or their pocket.