Category Archives: PlayStation VR

YUKI Review – PlayStation VR

When I was assigned the review for the incredible new “bullet hell” VR game, YUKI, I had no idea what I was in for.  As someone who thinks of the bullet hell genre as following the traditional 2D scrolling format, I wasn’t thinking about the classic third person shooters Panzer Dragoon Orta and Rez, both of which YUKI resembles in all the best ways.

The game starts in the bedroom of a young girl who is a massive fan of anime character Yuki the Space Ranger.  Armed with two PlayStation Move motion controllers, the gamer opens a toy box and pulls out a Yuki action figure, officially entering the world of YUKI as seen in the imagination of the little girl.

What commences is one of the most intense VR games to hit the PlayStation 4 in a long time.  When they say bullet hell, they really mean it.  The screen is literally filled with bullets, and Yuki’s only defense is to use her bladewings to dodge and evade, her shields to protect, and her weapons to blast her way out of the storm.

This is accomplished with the right-hand PlayStation Move controller, which controls movement, aim, and firing in an incredibly intuitive control scheme. Again, Yuki is intended to be an action figure seen in third person perspective, so the gamer is free to use every degree of freedom to twist and tilt the character, noodling her around the incoming waves.

The left-hand PlayStation Move controller controls a small ball with cat ears (think Dragonball Z or Pokeball) that is used to collect in-level power-ups, and the blue orbs that serve as in-game currency used to purchase charms that serve as resident power-ups. Thankfully, the collection ball is immune to enemy fire, because keeping Yuki safe is plenty tough on its own, but the added attention required to catch all the incoming power-ups and currency orbs is enough to leave you cross eyed.

I’ve reviewed a good number of PSVR games, and YUKI definitely rates at the top of the pack when it comes to presentation. The level design is simply amazing, with some of the most intense VR visuals I’ve ever experienced.  There’s a thousand moving parts on screen at any given time, and the vibrant colors and cool hybrid 3D/2D anime make it a simply mesmerizing experience.  And when the bosses show up, it takes on a special visual magic.

YUKI is not an easy game, and gamers will find themselves replaying levels over and over as failure means restart – but YUKI is such an amazing experience, that replaying levels seldom seems like a chore.  And the ability to garner more blue orbs and purchase more power-ups to add to your arsenal makes it all the more worth it.  And if you think YUKI doesn’t seem as “action-oriented” as other VR games, you are wrong – YUKI will leave you breathless and utterly exhausted, like you just got out of arm day at the gym.

I cannot say enough about YUKI, as it’s a fantastic game in the PSVR library and with a $20 MSRP, VR owners can hardly go wrong.

VR Bullet Hell Roguelike YUKI Releases Today on PlayStation VR

ARVORE, the Emmy Award winning VR studio behind the acclaimed Pixel Ripped series, is proud to announce that their acclaimed VR Bullet Hell Roguelike YUKI (PSVR trailer, website, press kit) is OUT TODAY on PlayStation VR in all America, Europe and Asia at a price of 19,99 USD|EUR. YUKI is also available on Oculus Quest, Quest 2, Rift and all Steam VR platforms at a price of 19,99 USD | EUR.

YUKI is also available on Oculus Quest, Quest 2, Rift and all Steam VR platforms at a price of 19,99 USD | EUR.

YUKI is an upbeat mix of the bullet-hell and roguelike genres in VR set in a multidimensional anime universe.  Enter a kid’s wild imagination and fly by controlling Yuki’s action-figure using your hands. Move your body to dodge bullets and obstacles, while fighting evil forces that want to control the universe, in this challenging game where each defeat is just another step to get closer to victory.

Through its unique VR gameplay, adding twists to the inspirational gameplay of old-school classics like STAR FOX, YUKI challenges the player’s spatial awareness and precise reflexes across multiple levels, each filled to the brim with procedurally placed enemies, obstacles, and bullets. Roguelite elements — such as a persistent progression system that allows the player to improve his skills by equipping several power ups, new abilities and weapons at the beginning and during each run — raise the stakes and makes the player want to come back for more and try new evolving strategies to beat the game. YUKI is launching on PSVR with the intense “Patrol Mode” that has received high acclaim by users and critics, and will soon receive an update with the highly challenging “Endless Mode”.

Wraith: The Oblivion – Afterlife Review – PlayStation VR

Swedish VR game developer Fast Travel Games – makers of Apex Construct and The Curious Case of the Stolen Pets – is back at it with yet another immersive VR experience with Wraith: The Oblivion – Afterlife for the PlayStation 4.  Loosely-tied on The World of Darkness table-top gaming universe, more specifically 1994’s Wraith: The Oblivion (hence the name).

Wraith: The Oblivion – Afterlife places gamers in the ethereal shoes of photographer Ed Miller, who as the result of a séance-gone-wrong finds himself wandering the spooky halls of Barclay Mansion as one of the restless undead – a Wraith.  Armed with newly-endowed and ever-increasing supernatural abilities, the gamer sets off to explore Barclay Mansion and uncover the mystery behind Ed’s untimely demise.

With both Apex Construct Fast Travel Games proved they were capable of delivering a solid first-person VR experience matching that of and Wraith: The Oblivion – Afterlife follows suit.  Utilizing the PSVR headset and two PS-Move controllers, Wraith controls like an absolute dream in 3D space.  And if you have any issues with the controls, Fast Travel offer a bevy of motion, visual, and “comfort” tuning options to make the experience more enjoyable, and hopefully less nauseating.

Movement is achieved by pressing the left PS-Move’s large central “move” button and pointing the controller in a general direction – left, right, forward, and as I realized after about a half-hour…back.  Rotation left and right is gained with the right PS-Move’s square and cross buttons, and crouching with the circle.  The triggers on each controller control grasping for each respective hand, and pressing both and flicking upward allows the gamer to remotely grab objects and “fling” them back to catch them.  One neat item is the right controller’s move button will use a special power in which Ed’s arm tattoos will glow when that arm is pointed in the direction of the next objective – this somewhat takes out the monotonous wandering Barclay Manor (and courtyard) of which there is no map.

After a quick tutorial to get familiar with the controls, Wraith: The Oblivion – Afterlife introduces the gamer to Barclay Manor.  While the game’s name had me expecting some gothic castle, Barclay Manor is an art deco circa from the golden era of 1920’s Hollywood.  This art style gave the game a great aesthetic reminiscent of the classic Bioshock series.

The player, as Ed, is tasked with wandering the halls of Barclay Manor finding physical clues (photos, letters, etc.) and using his camera to unlock memories that appear as ghostly floating photographs – all giving Ed a better understanding of why he (and a group of others) all died that day.

Naturally, given Wraith: The Oblivion – Afterlife is a horror game, expect a good share of creepy moments.  And while there are a number of jump scares, it is the overall sense of tension and anticipation of what’s coming and when that makes the game a true white-knuckle experience.  There are times where you’ll wander for minutes with nothing but the sound of your own footsteps to break up the silence, only to turn a corner and see a shadow dart off into a hallway or hear a bottle crash behind you – if that doesn’t get your heart beating out of your chest, then you are one tough customer.

While most of the apparitions are simply there to convey the story through the memory scenes, and some can deplete Ed’s life if he gets too close, the real enemies are the “spectres”.  Spectres are the most horribly deranged dead that roam the halls of Barclay Manor and can finish Ed off with a single swipe of their disgusting hands.  For the most part, the best way to deal with spectres is to be as quiet and stealthy as you can – crouching, moving slowly, even causing distractions by tossing bottles and other items to focus their intention elsewhere.  If a spectre happens to get their hands on Ed, things go black and you as the gamer will have to restart from the last save point.  This makes for a lot of physical backtracking, but thankfully any items you have in inventory remain after the reset so you don’t have to completely replay areas to get back on track.

Wraith: The Oblivion – Afterlife’s presentation is top-notch, with superb VR visuals, great storytelling, and absolutely fantastic voice acting.  The sound effects seem to deliver solid spatial surround, making listening all that much more of an immersive experience and definitely adds to the creepiness factor.

If there was one major knock I would have to give to Wraith: The Oblivion – Afterlife, it’s that there is a lot of dead time (excuse the pun) to the game.  It’s not a game where there’s a ton of onscreen action, there’s a fair amount of lonely wandering, unnecessary door opening, and backtracking that stretches out about 3 – 4 hours of actual gameplay, to about 6 – 8 hours of game time.  Regardless, the $30 price tag is well worth it if you are looking for a completely immersive VR horror experience, but I was hoping for a bit more action.

 

World of Darkness horror game Wraith: The Oblivion – Afterlife Out Now

In Wraith: The Oblivion – Afterlife, you play as Ed Miller, a photographer who dies during a mysterious seance and becomes a Wraith. Suspended between life and death, you must explore the Barclay Mansion, using your supernatural Wraith abilities to uncover the horrifying truth of your untimely demise.

Combining a chilling atmosphere with terrifying supernatural enemies, Wraith: The Oblivion – Afterlife creates a true VR horror experience. Light on jump scares, but heavy on tension and mystery, players will need to rely on their sense of self-preservation to survive the Barclay Mansion.

Wraith: The Oblivion – Afterlife is the first VR title set in the World of Darkness, the shared story universe containing Vampire: The Masquerade, Werewolf: The Apocalypse, and others. It is also the first Wraith: The Oblivion video game, enabling fans to experience the Afterlife as a Wraith like never before.

Wraith: The Oblivion – Afterlife Key Features

  • Become a Wraith: Your own death is a mystery that you must solve. As a Wraith, you’ll use supernatural abilities to move through walls, track the movement of other spirits, and manipulate objects at a distance to uncover the Barclay Mansion’s terrifying history and the truth of how you met your end.
  • Explore the Barclay Mansion: The Barclay Mansion is an opulent residence filled with Hollywood decadence, occult research and terrifying monsters. Avoid vengeful spirits while using Relic Items and Wraith abilities to hunt for clues.
  • Beware of Spectres: Hostile Spectres, spirits of wrath and vengeance each with their own background and connection to the bigger mystery, roam the mansion’s halls. With few ways to defend yourself, you must avoid and outwit these lost souls who want nothing more than to send you to Oblivion, the end of all things.
  • Experience the World of Darkness in VR: Wraith: The Oblivion – Afterlife is a first-person VR horror game set in the World of Darkness, the shared universe containing Vampire: The Masquerade, Werewolf: The Apocalypse, and more.

Wraith: The Oblivion – Afterlife is also available on the Oculus Store for Quest and Rift platforms, and on Steam.

For more information on Wraith: The Oblivion – Afterlife and Fast Travel Games, visit the official website, Twitter, and YouTube.

Yupitergrad on PSVR will receive a free Twisted Pack Update

The Twisted Pack Update will be the biggest expansion yet for Yupitergrad on the PlayStation VR. In addition to some fixes, it will include all of the content previously released on other platforms – New Levels Update, Gymnasion mode, and Twisted Levels Update.

The free Twisted Pack Update will include:

  • 10 new levels from New Levels Update
  • New game mode – Gymnasion
  • 10 new levels from Twisted Levels Update
  • New music tracks
  • A pack of optional Halloween decorations

The levels from the New Levels Update expansion were created in collaboration with the game’s community. Thanks to their feedback and creativity, ten new levels can surprise even the best-trained cosmonauts.

Ten more challenges, previously included in Twisted Levels Update, take a level of “twist” on an unprecedented scale. Filled to the brim with sharp turns, spirals, obstacles, and chicanes, allowing you to reach insane speeds. These routes are sure to be the ultimate test of players’ skill.

Gymnasion is a brand new game mode, which gives everyone a lot of freedom and opportunity for unlimited acrobatic craziness. In the huge exercise room, you can train your skills in overcoming obstacles, the art of fast movement, or just jump in for a moment to relax after a hard day. Those looking for a challenge will also find something for themselves here. The “Ring Challenge” consists in flying through active rings placed all over the gym. However, you need to demonstrate great skills as there is a limited time to reach the rings!

The “Twisted Pack Update” will be available for free on PlayStation VR on October 28, 2021.

The World of Darkness comes to PSVR in Wraith: The Oblivion – Afterlife

Fast Travel Games announced today that its World of Darkness VR horror title, Wraith: The Oblivion – Afterlife, will launch on October 7 on PlayStation VR for a suggested retail price of $29.99 USD / £24.99 GBP / €24.99 Euro.

In Wraith: The Oblivion – Afterlife, you play as Ed Miller, a photographer who dies during a mysterious seance and becomes a Wraith. Suspended between life and death, you must explore the Barclay Mansion, using your supernatural Wraith abilities to uncover the horrifying truth of your untimely demise.

Combining a chilling atmosphere with terrifying supernatural enemies, Wraith: The Oblivion – Afterlife creates a true VR horror experience. Light on jump scares, but heavy on tension and mystery, players will need to rely on their sense of self-preservation to survive the Barclay Mansion.

Wraith: The Oblivion – Afterlife is the first VR title set in the World of Darkness, the shared story universe containing Vampire: The Masquerade, Werewolf: The Apocalypse, and others.

Wraith: The Oblivion – Afterlife Key Features

  • Become a Wraith: Your own death is a mystery that you must solve. As a Wraith, you’ll use supernatural abilities to move through walls, track the movement of other spirits, and manipulate objects at a distance to uncover the Barclay Mansion’s terrifying history and the truth of how you met your end.
  • Explore the Barclay Mansion: The Barclay Mansion is an opulent residence filled with Hollywood decadence, occult research, and terrifying monsters. Avoid vengeful spirits while using Relic Items and Wraith abilities to hunt for clues.
  • Beware of Spectres: Hostile Spectres, spirits of wrath and vengeance each with their own background and connection to the bigger mystery, roam the mansion’s halls. With few ways to defend yourself, you must avoid and outwit these lost souls who want nothing more than to send you to Oblivion, the end of all things.
  • Experience the World of Darkness in VR: Wraith: The Oblivion – Afterlife is a first-person VR horror game set in the World of Darkness, the shared universe containing Vampire: The Masquerade, Werewolf: The Apocalypse, and more.

Wraith: The Oblivion – Afterlife is currently available on the Oculus Store for Quest and Rift platforms, and also on Steam.

For more information on Wraith: The Oblivion – Afterlife and Fast Travel Games, visit the official website, Twitter, and YouTube.

Muse Returns to Synth Riders with a Music Pack Featuring Band’s Greatest Hits

Synth Riders invites players to join Muse on an interstellar rock journey through the band’s greatest hits. Muse returns to this fan-favorite VR rhythm game with a dedicated 5-song pack, among which are best-selling tracks such as “Starlight”, “Uprising”, and “Madness”. The new collection is now available on Oculus Quest and Steam (with PSVR to follow in two weeks), featuring five paid DLC songs and a unique visual Experience for “Starlight”. The pack will also be included in a special physical edition on PlayStation VR, scheduled to release through Perp Games on 12th November.

“Muse Music Pack” is the sixth music bundle for Synth Riders, a VR rhythm game known for freestyle-dancing gameplay and unique visual Experiences. The new pack pays tribute to these incredible British electro-rockers, with five tracks, including their best-selling single of all time and spanning twelve years of their career. Influenced by electronic, progressive and glam rock, the band blends these styles into a truly distinctive Muse sound, topped by Matt Bellamy’s soaring vocals.

Following on from the previous experience for Muse’s “Algorithm”, the pack includes a brand new Synth Riders Experience, tailored for Muse’s massive hit “Starlight”. Players are invited to immerse themselves in the artistically driven visuals inspired by this epic intergalactic rock ballad, and let the game blend sight, sound and movement together into something truly unique.

“It’s incredibly inspiring to be able to work with Muse again. They are a perfect fit for Synth Riders because of their sound – when you ride the rails to match the vocals, the combination is electrifying and emotional. For the Experience, our creative interpretation of the song’s lyrics gave us the freedom to explore a whole galaxy of particles, abstract images, and even a black hole!” – Abraham Aguero – Creative Director Kluge Interactive

NeonHAT Review – PlayStation VR

Neon Hat is like a trip back to 1985 to experience the 2021 we thought the future was going to be.  If that sounds like a mind-bender then it totally fits the bill when describing Neon Hat – a mind-blowing VR racing game from Spain’s Entalto Studios that will leave players nostalgic about the golden days of CGI.

There’s no denying Neon Hat is going for the 80’s aesthetic – and boy does it achieve it.  What the developers call a “low-poly neon world” those of us who were teens in the 80’s will instantly recognize the wire-frame, vector-style graphics as themes straight out of the worlds of Tempest, Star Wars Arcade, and Disney’s cyber-epic love story Tron.  Hel, there’s even some Space Invaders and Miami Vice thrown in the mix.  It’s like a trip down memory lane inside of a VR helmet.

As mentioned, Neon Hat is a VR racing game – but not one like we’ve seen before.  Combining the flying suit of Iron Man with independent jet engine thrusters in each hand (Move controllers), Neon’s Hat’s H.A.T. operator must compete in a series of races, shooting games, and boss battles to beat the game and win the prestigious Net Races competition.  The 3D enclosed racing circuits are decorated with precisely-positioned speed boost hoops which are utterly necessary to beat the three tough competitors.

The dual-thruster control mechanics may seem intuitive during the initial tutorial runs – simply point the thrusters, pull the trigger, and go.  But as the turn become tighter, and elevation comes into play, the control mechanics quickly become a bit confusing – about the closes comparison I can think would be navigating the swimming scenes in Uncharted – the buttons make perfect sense, you keep hitting the wrong buttons under pressure.

For instance, pointing the thruster left will certainly steer you leftward, but doing so too much will most likely slam you into one of the invisible wireframe walls that defines the edge of the course, severely affecting the speed.  In order to actually turn left, you must press the circle face button while pointing left, but if held too long the speed will likewise be severely affected.  It’s a constant dance, aiming the moves, feathering the accelerator, and tapping the turn.  With proper timing there is the ability to perform a kart-racing style powerslide speed boost, but very few times did the stars ever align for that to work for me.

Neon Hat features 10 different racing circuits which can be played in any one of the three base gameplay modes – Race, Pursuit, and Extreme Derby.  Race is the standard player versus bot racers (3), Pursuit has gamers chasing Data Snatcher all while shooting down the Space Invader-themed drones that protect it.  Those two modes can be set to run at either slow, medium, or fast speeds (aka kilobyte, megabyte, and gigabyte, respectively) which really amps up the excitement.  Extreme Derby is already set to gigabyte speed, but with damage turned on for hitting walls and obstacles making it very difficult to complete.

Obviously, with the complexity of VR there is no multiplayer – it’s all gamer vs. bots – but there’s a certain old school nostalgia to that as well.  One shining star are the boss battles that pop up every three races and have a definite feel of dodging fire in a first-person Sega classic Panzer Dragoon.

As alluded to earlier, Neon Hat is a visual treat for an old school gamer like me.  Between the wireframe landscapes, the 8-bit holograms floating by, and the square-brick obstacles in the path, Neon Hat is a visual trip back in time.  The exclusive Synth-Wave soundtrack likewise elicits a nostalgic feeling, albeit thankfully more along the lines of early 2010’s Daft Punk than of 1980’s Jan Hammer.  The music is hypnotic and warm without coming across as cheesy or contrived.

I had a pretty good time playing Neon Hat.  It’s certainly not one of the best racing games on the PS4, nor is it one of the best VR games on PSVR, but as a complete package of gameplay and presentation it’s totally worth checking out because it oozes cool.  And for those old school gamers who remember this stuff, you will have blast travelling back in time to look at the future we thought would be here already.

MORE SCREENS

Fracked Review – PlayStation VR

The PSVR system has been seeing a surprise surge in quality releases as of late, and not the least of which is Fracked, the stellar new first-person shooter (FPS) from the VR-exclusive developer nDreams.  Fracked isn’t your run-of-the-mill on-rails House of the Dead style light-gun shooter that we have become accustomed to in the VR realm – it’s a full-on, free-roaming, acrobat climbing, dynamite exploding, ski-slope escaping romp that is so awesomely immersive that you just might feel like throwing up.

Sadly, I’m not joking.

Fracked is the most awesome VR game that I simply cannot play for more than 30 minutes in a sitting, because on every occasion I end up with something along the lines of seasickness, which is a real bummer because it is such an amazing experience…the game – not the seasickness.

Fracked starts off by immediately instructing gamers that the intended way to play is in the sitting position. Sitting is an absolute must, as the game’s frenetic 360° action would surely result in more than a few accidents with standing gamers.  Fracked then has players link a PlayStation Move controller to each hand (two are required) and re-center the perspective using the Start button.

It’s right about there that the basic tutorial ends, as gamers are immediately throw into a white-knuckle ski run down the side of a mountain trying to keep ahead of an ensuing avalanche.  Having played a couple VR ski games in my time, Fracked delivers one of the better attempts at capturing the thrilling excitement sport – which comes into play more than once in the game.

Upon escaping the avalanche, gamers are thrust into the traditional FPS portion of the game – armed at first with a liberated pistol, and eventually a similarly liberated SMG, gamers traverse through mountaintop factory crawling with blue-faced baddies looking for a fight.  They aren’t the smartest of foes – they run right up on you like zombies looking for brains – but they aren’t the easiest to take down either, so each wave poses a difficult, yet exhilarating, challenge.

Making things even more frenetic is the reload mechanic that has gamers slamming magazines and cocking weapons upon each reload.  At first it all feels a bit wonky, but within minutes it becomes a rhythm of shooting, slamming, cocking, shooting, etc.

Movement is managed with the Move controllers, using the face buttons on whichever controller hand isn’t currently holding a gun; If the gun is in the left hand the right hand controls movement, if the gun is in the right hand the left controls movement.  Since guns are often switched from hand to hand to help fire around corners or from cover this contextual control scheme can get a bit hard to wrap your head around.  I found it best to keep the gun in the right hand for the most part and only use the left if I really needed to grab onto something to take cover or to grab a zip line.

And then there’s the climbing – and when I say climbing, I mean Uncharted-level scaling of sheer mountain walls and monkey-bar climbing over bottomless crevasses.  In fact, the climbing is so exciting and innovative that simply watching someone else play through a climbing sequence in Fracked is almost as enjoyable as actually playing it – as they stretch grasp above, below, beside, and behind themselves in what looks like some strange 80’s aerobics arm-workout routine.

But it all was too good apparently, because it was right about 20-30 mins in I started noticing the headset fogging up, the sweat began pouring down my face, and the strange feeling that I was spinning in my seat.  The headset came off and I could hardly walk straight to the bathroom to splash cold water on me.  That first time, I was wrecked for the night – feeling like the time I’d been on a charter fishing boat all day.  I thought I had caught a bug, until the next day when I tried the game again and it all happened again.  I then decided to experiment with my 16yr old son, I said nothing and let him play through, and at about the same spot in the game he suddenly yanked the headset off and said “something’s wrong – I don’t feel right”.  We tried again the next day with the same verdict.

That being said I probably made it through about an hour and a half of the 3-hour action and all queasiness aside, I was thoroughly impressed.  Fracked is an awesome package – it looks great with its cartoon-style graphics, solid voiceovers, and a great soundtrack.  I really wish I could play more of it, and I will over time – but I’d highly suggest gamers at least take a stab at the demo and see for themselves how cool Fracked is.