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.