Welcome to our first VR review roundup!
In this format we look at a handful of games sharing a common theme, in this case PSVR. Here are some quick looks at some recent titles. Enjoy! All titles are available digitally only on the Playstation store.
Pixeljunk VR: Dead Hungry | Review | Trailer
Publisher/ Developer: Q Games
Number of Players: 1
Back in the PS3 days the Pixeljunk name was a sign of quality. Q Games excelled in taking various genres like tower defense, shump, and top-down racing and putting their unique spin on them, and most importantly making damn fun games. Now Q Games is back and trying their hand at VR. Will their quirky sensibilities translate to the virtual realm?
The game begins in a well stocked food cart, the player is at the ready with ingredients, grill, and oven all around. Two Playstation Move controllers are required so that you can grab ingredients and then cook them. You will find yourself cooking everything from burgers and fries, to pizzas, and more. As you cook the various foods you will be tossing completed items to an advancing zombie horde. The zombies pick up the food items, and if they are cooked correctly, the zombies are cured.
The zombies start off thin so it doesn’t take much to cure them. Larger zombies eventually come along and it will take more food to satisfy their hunger. The zombies will not accept incomplete or burnt cooked items so you have to watch your food as you cook it to ensure it’s right.
The game features a very goofy vibe with odd looking zombies that manage to look even goofier once your cure them. The graphics are very good at establishing the world although your food cart never moves and you will have the same abandoned boardwalk backdrop for the entire game (Which consists of over 25 levels). There are also very few enemy types so the game unfortunately, starts to feel very repetitive, very quickly. Some variety to the backdrops and enemies would have been a welcome addition.
The sound and music is also really nothing worth noting as it mostly consists of zombies moaning and heavy metal music, which is a bummer.
- Quirky presentation will draw you in
- Fast paced and can be intense
- Super repetitive
- Did I mention it was repetitive?
Snow Fortress | Review | Trailer
Publisher/ Developer: Mythical City Games
Number of Players: 1
Snow Fortress certainly timed its release for the right time of year. Now you can build snow forts and have snowball fights in the comfort of home with no frostbite or black eyes! Along with your sidekick, a cute little fox, the goal of this game is to build snow forts and defend them from advancing snowmen.
The controls are basic but get the job done: using two Playstation Move controllers, one for each hand, all you do is pull the trigger to form a snowball and release the trigger to throw it. How hard you throw the snowball determines how hard it connects in the game, which is very satisfying and really adds to the immersion.
The game consists of three modes: The first is Snow Fort, which is the only mode initially available. In Snow Fort you are tasked with building your snow fort within the time limit and number of snow blocks and then defending it against the snowman in the opposite fort. You must throw snowballs to knock down pieces of the other fort and expose the snowman within and then pummel him. Snow Fort consists of 19 levels and when it is completed you unlock the next mode; Survival.
Survival mode is similar to Snow Fort as you still have to build your Snow Fort but the big difference is that the snowmen can attack from anywhere and you must take that in account when building. There is no other fort to worry about, you merely need to survive and kill snowmen. That being said, this mode is more intense as you are dealing with multiple snowmen both throwing at you and you trying to knock them out. The better you do, the more hectic it gets.
The final mode is Fortress, in which you are given a fort and some snowmen to place to protect it. You are also given snow blocks that you can use to protect your snowmen. You can take control of individual snowmen in order to stop the advance of the Black Fort, the rival snowman group. This is very much like a tower defense game except you can participate.
All three modes are pretty fun and while the graphics are on the basic side they suit the game well. The sound is pretty basic as well, but the game does such a fine job of putting you right into a snowball fight that you can overlook the presentation easily. I can imagine this game being a big hit being brought out in the heat of summer to enjoy a nice cool snowball fight, and developer Mythical City Games has stated a multiplayer mode is coming in the near future
- Simple controls, right to the action
- Perfectly captures the feeling of being in a snowball fight
- No multiplayer at launch
- Having to unlock the other modes
RollerCoaster Legends | Review | Trailer
Publisher/Developer: War Ducks
Number of players: 1
RollerCoaster Legends is more of a VR “experience” than a game: it’s an eight minute roller coaster ride through Greek mythology. You start off in a minecart working your way through a mine, then you are in a labyrinth, complete with a minotaur trying to catch you. As the ride goes on you will find yourself in a number of mythological set pieces like the Temple of Poseidon, the River Styx, Tartarus, and the Palace of Hades along with the appropriate characters threatening to menace you.
The only interaction you are allowed is the full 360 degree head tracking but the ride is very immersive with a real sense of being there. The graphics and sound are exceptional and the roller coaster is designed in such a way that you really feel the drops and turns. At times I swore I felt the wind whipping as I speeded along.
This experience would be a fine one to show off your brand spanking new PSVR to friends and family as there are no complicated controls to worry about, just sit back and enjoy the ride!
- Very immersive
- Excellent graphics and sound
- Perfect price point
- Some sort of interaction would have been nice
- Not much replay value after a couple of times and showing it off
VR The Diner Duo | Review | Trailer
Publisher/Developer: Whirlybird Games
VR The Diner Duo bucks the trend of the other cooking sims on the PSVR as it introduces multiplayer to the mix. The single player portion of VR The Diner Duo consists of over fifty levels of cooking fun. The robot waitress brings you order and you have to assemble the ingredients and cook the food then send it on its way. Naturally the faster you get it out the better. The levels get progressively harder but manage to stay fast and fun. There is also an endless mode for single player as well, this consists of you continually receiving orders and seeing how long you can keep them coming.
The multiplayer mode is endless as well and consists of the first player wearing the VR helmet being the cook and the second player, playing the waitress, taking and delivering orders using a DualShock controller and the TV screen. The dual screen play works well as the players can communicate through the entire process and keep things moving…or not. Communication really is key if you want to succeed in this game.
The graphics are kind of cartoony in a good way and it fits the tone as everyone is some form of robot. As you play the game, you start to unlock customization options for both the cook robot as well as the waitress robot, which can add some much needed variety to the surroundings.
Also of note is that the PSVR version ships with the new “Bakery” update that only just came out for previous versions. This update changes the look of the restaurant and has you making and serving bakery items instead of the burgers and such.
- It’s fun slapping together all the crazy burgers!
- Multiplayer is a riot as you MUST communicate
- Multiplayer can be a nightmare if your partner will not work with you
- Feels similar to other VR games out there
League of War: VR Arena | Review | Trailer
League of War: VR Arena brings table-top war-gaming to PSVR with a bang! See what I did there? Moving on…
League of War: VR Arena contains two modes of play; the first, Campaign, is readily available from the get go. Playing through this mode gets you through the basics of playing the game before it moves you on to more complex battles. You play as one of nine generals facing off against a computer opponent playing one of the other generals. The game consists of real time strategy battles facing off across a large table that represents the battlefield.
While you have turrets and so on to defend your side, you have access to units like infantry as well as tanks and choppers. You use the move controllers to grab the units or vehicles you want and place them on the board to head toward and attack the enemy on the other side. If they die you can send more as you can have up to five units up at a time. Whoever can make it through to the other side and attack first wins, but once you drop your units you have little control over them.
The story is pretty thin on the ground as it mostly just consists of the generals growling at each other then attacking. After finishing level three of the campaign, arcade mode unlocks. Points earned in the campaign can be used in arcade to unlock units and just play without any story getting in the way. In this mode, you can play against a second player that uses the Dual Shock and the TV. This helps playability some as you can beat on your friends or family thus making it personal.
This game is overly simplistic especially as you’re just sending troop after troop out hoping you hammer through. Despite it being a strategy game, there’s not much strategy to it. It’s fun briefly but it does seem to get old quick.
- Multiplayer can be fun
- Not very strategic
- Completely forgettable
Disclaimer: Digital copies of all games reviewed were provided by their respective developers/publishers.