Category Archives: PlayStation VR

Lindsey Stirling is coming to Synth Riders

Synth Riders invites players to come and explore a world “Underground” with the Lindsey Stirling Music Pack.  This pack captures Lindsey’s expressive and energetic playing style as you ride the rails and soar with her violin in five tracks spanning her career.  The new collection will be available from April 14th on Meta Quest, Steam, PlayStation VR and Viveport featuring five paid DLC songs and a unique visual Experience for “Underground”. 

A multi-talented musician, songwriter and dancer, Lindsey Stirling blends her trademark violin with a multitude of musical styles.  This pack highlights her diversity and versatility: whether playing alongside the powerhouse vocals of Lzzy Hale in “Shatter Me”, exploring her Celtic musical influences in “First Light”, in collaboration with Raja Kumari on the Bollywood-inspired “Mirage” and even in the Synthwave-inspired “Shadows”, Lindsey’s violin is your guide.

As an artist with a strong sense of visual style, the Synth Riders Experience for “Underground” is heavily inspired by the striking imagery of Lindsey’s own video for the song, while continuing to explore themes of confinement and freedom, key inspiration for the song itself.  This Synth Riders Experience is very much a playable video clip, with its hand-crafted visuals matched perfectly to the music creating a truly unique, immersive way to experience music.

In a first for Kluge Interactive, the Synth Riders team collaborated with Lindsey Stirling on location to create this amazing trailer, featuring an electrifying performance from her.

“As I played the Synth Riders version of Underground for the first time, I was so excited and surprised to see that the visuals were very inspired by my music video. The game is an absolute blast and I couldn’t help but have the cheesiest grin on my face the entire time I was playing. Also, as a bonus I got my cardio in by playing the advanced level. I think my fans will love it!”

Lindsey Stirling

The Lindsey Stirling Music Pack features five paid DLC songs:

  • Underground + Experience
  • Shatter Me
  • First Light
  • Mirage
  • Shadows

“Lindsey brings such a unique quality to her performances both physically and musically.  There is a litheness and energy there that makes her such a great match for Synth Riders’ gameplay – riding the rails really gives you the feeling of playing the violin along with her!”

Abraham Aguero – Creative Director Kluge Interactive

With the addition of the “Lindsey Stirling Music Pack” Synth Riders’ soundtrack now features 55 free and 35 DLC songs, all playable in a variety of difficulty levels and modes across the game. Meta Quest owners who haven’t yet played the game can try it out for free in the demo available on App Lab, featuring 5 songs with all modifiers.

The “Lindsey Stirling Music Pack” launches April 14th on Meta Quest, Steam, PlayStation VR and Viveport. All five tracks can be purchased individually for $1.99, or together as a bundle for $7.99 with a 20% discount.

Follow Synth Riders on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and join their Discord community for more news and events.

Sam & Max: This Time It’s Virtual! Review – PlayStation VR

For better or worse, I am a huge sucker for updates to classic gaming franchises.  So when I was offered the review of the newest Sam and Max PSVR game, it was without hesitation that I enthusiastically agreed to take it on.  Sam and Max have been legends of the gaming world for the better part of three decades, dating back to their first point-and-click adventure Sam and Max Hit the Road released in 1993.

The titular team consists of canine gumshoe Sam and his wisecracking bunny sidekick Max, who make up the Freelance Police detective service investigating any number of wacky events caused by otherworldly criminals.  Granted, over the years I’ve come to terms with the fact that Sam and Max games generally are not the greatest in terms of gameplay but are always enjoyable experiences due to their superb humor and clever design.  And with that I can say that This Time It’s Virtual is a classic Sam and Max experience; it might not be the best PSVR game on the market, but damn if it isn’t a fun – but sometimes frustrating – experience.

This Time It’s Virtual starts by throwing gamers into the thick of the VR space, with a missile-launcher battle against a big hydra monster in the street outside of the Freelance Police office.  This battle introduces gamers to the basics of the VR controls employed by the game, which I will say is definitely NOT the most intuitive control scheme in the VR market.  Regardless of the settings modifications, the controls are wonky and confusing, with some buttons unique to certain controllers and others mirrored across the two.  Over the handful of hours I put into playing This Time It’s Virtual, I never once felt like I had a comfortable handle on the controls – which is a shame because the game really has a lot to offer.

Back to the story – gamers step into shoes of an aspiring detective applicant to work alongside Sam and Max.  And after the initial hydra boss battle, Max doles the new guy a series of menial office tasks – making coffee, microwaving corn dogs, throwing darts (or switchblades, or axes, or swords, or Max himself), punching clowns, and shooting cockroaches.  Again, these tasks are to help familiarize the gamer with the controls which work OK, all except for the throwing motions which are about the worst in the business.  Out of the dozen or so throws, I think I hit the target three times – twice of which were ricochets off the wall or ceiling which just happened to deflect willy-nilly onto the target.  The game features a lot of throwing challenges which consistently were my lowest-scoring events.   Shooting is another story – it’s awesomely rewarding – but we’ll talk a little more about that later.

Sam and Max take the gamer to an abandoned amusement park, which is the home of Sam and Max’s new applicant training grounds.  Each attraction within the park has been transformed into a themed chain of minigames – a dangerous obstacle course, a bop-it style bomb diffusion exercise, a shooting gallery, etc.  Deaths are pretty hard to come by, but each pass garners the gamer an A-F grade that they can repeat for a better score.  Some of which are enjoyable enough for a replay, but others are so annoying there’s absolutely no reason any sane gamer would want to subject themselves to the frustration multiple times over.

After three minigame threads, gamers take part in an investigation – traveling to a location and interviewing a colorful cast of characters in an attempt to solve an overarching mystery.  It’s all pretty mundane stuff, but each is capped off with a frantic boss battle that will put the gamer’s newfound skills to the test.  After that, it’s rinse and repeat.

As alluded to earlier, the dialog really makes the game enjoyable – especially Max’s double-entendre laced quips which were funny enough that I heard my wife cracking up behind me even with the PSVR earbuds plugged firmly in my ear holes.

Visually, the game is solid insofar as the character modeling and overall environmental aesthetics.  But it is glitchy – and by glitchy I mean really, really glitchy.  For some reason, Sam wants to walk exactly wherever the character is walking – and I am serious…exactly where the gamer is. And rather than simply bumping into him, you end up inside him in some totally black hole that is impossible to avoid.  And don’t bother getting too close to any buildings, because you’ll end up in a similar black hole world that is even more disorienting and impossible to escape than being inside Sam.  There’re inaccessible alleyways that if Sam and Max step one foot in it will send them offscreen in a weird moving sidewalk style animation, and if you fall off a building’s roof you might as well restart the game rather than experience the black hole infinity drop that does happen.  I had heard about similar glitches in the earlier PC VR releases of This Time It’s Virtual, but I was really hoping they’d fixed these issues at some point in the last year or so.

Sam and Max: This Time It’s Virtual! Has a lot going for it, especially with the excellent writing but at the same time it is a glitchy mess. I can get over some of the odd clipping issues, but the throwing mechanics render those events almost unplayable.

Sam & Max: This Time It’s Virtual! launches on PS VR next week

Sam & Max: This Time It’s Virtual!, the over-the-top action VR title from developer HappyGiant and publisher Big Sugar, will launch for PlayStation VR on 23rd February, priced $19.99/€19.99, and with a 10% discount for PS Plus Members for a limited time.

Join the irrepressible dog with a hat and hyperkinetic rabbity-thing in the duo’s first foray into Virtual Reality. Brought to life by an all-star team of Sam & Max veterans, including Sam & Max creator Steve Purcell, concept artist Peter Chan, and writer/designer Mike Stemmle.

Become part of the dynamic duo’s off-kilter world for a furious day of monster-slaying, obstacle courses, responsibly discharged firearms, and, of course, saving the entire freaking world. Sam & Max: This Time It’s Virtual! mixes quips, crime-fighting, puzzles and escape rooms with challenges of skill and classic point-and-click adventure sure to put even the heartiest Freelance Police cadet through their paces.

Gameplay Highlights

  • Experience the two-fisted japes and tomfoolery of internationally beloved icons Sam & Max in mind-melting virtual reality!
  • Push yourself to be the best of the best of the middling, as a dog and a naked rabbity thing harangue and cajole you through a bewildering assortment of Freelance Police Academy training challenges.
  • Discover the horrible and socially relevant secrets lurking behind, under, and within Cap’n Aquabear’s rotting theme park!
  • Give evil scientists and demonic trespassers their just desserts… with sprinkles!
  • Immersion so real you can feel Sam’s breath on your neck!

Sam & Max: This Time It’s Virtual! is available now for Oculus Quest, SteamVR and HTC Viveport Infinity headsets, and is coming to PlayStation VR on 23rd February.

After the Fall Review – PlayStation VR

In the few short weeks of its release, gamers far and wide are referring to Dutch Developer Vertigo Games’ newest release After The Fall as “Left 4 Dead VR” and with good reason – because for all intents and purposes, this 4-player online cross-platform zombie-shooter is about as close to Left 4 Dead as any game in the 13 years since its release.  And while this would normally elicit eyerolls from hardened L4D fans, in the case of After The Fall it is widely accepted as all-good.

So maybe it hasn’t been all good – the original PS4 release was marred with some serious issues that caused the developers to issue a statement asking gamers to hold off with installing until they could work some of the major buds out.  But once they got things sorted and gave the all-clear, gamers were introduced to one of the most exhilarating VR first-person cooperative shooter experiences yet on the PSVR.

PSVR allows gamers to use a bevy of different controller setups; DualShock4, two PlayStation Move controllers, or the underappreciated PS VR Aim controller.  Given that, I decided to go with the VR Aim controller which added some complexity to the play, but made things real as hell.

Gamers are introduced to the controls with a quick tutorial in a local arcade that serves as the hub of all the gameplay, and the area in which weapons can be permanently upgraded using Harvest Points that are acquired during the game’s missions, or what they call Harvest Runs.

The arcade is chock-full of other gamer avatars running around chatting, gesturing, and otherwise looking like an odd bunch of goofballs looking for action.  Action can be found by approaching one of the many open videogame cabinets (circa 1988) and grabbing ahold of the onscreen gun peripheral.  This kicks in the cabinet’s screen from which gamers can pick their desired Harvest Run mission, and decide whether to play the game online with three human platers, or remain offline with three bots.  Obviously, going with humans is generally the best way to keep your character alive to the end of the level, but the bots are surprisingly helpful in their own right.

After a lengthy load time, gamers are teleported to the starting point where they can purchase the requisite add-ons to add to their tool-belt; pipe bombs, health injectors, ammo, etc..  I’ll admit that this was something I had a really hard time understanding where/how to pack these items once purchased, so I generally just went into the level believing the other gamers would cover my butt when needed.  They generally did.

I’m playing this on a launch-day PS4 with a first generation PSVR setup, so the visual quality on my rig is about as basic as it gets and that being said, even for a VR game was still grainy and bland compared to some of the other VR games I’ve reviewed recently.  But for the sheer intensity and immersion, After The Fall absolutely takes the cake over most of those other games.  The pace at which the zombie waves pour out of the walls will keep gamers absolutely on their toes (or edges of seats if sitting), and when the big bad boss comes it’s an all-out scramble to keep clear and keep plugging away the various vulnerable spots.

The in-game audio is exceptional in the PSVR headset, with a very food sense of spatial surround to help gamers hear enemies approaching from all directions.  The guns pack an audible punch and the explosions are near-epic with deep bass booms.

Each Harvest Run takes about 30 minutes to complete, and if all players are wiped out it means starting from the beginning.  Keeping alive isn’t too much of a chore – given the various health and ammo restocks scattered throughout the levels, but if you get on the wrong side of a boss fight, you’ll quickly end up in the red, literally.

The game’s comfort settings are endless, giving gamers the ability to tweak settings for movement, turning, posture, and accessibility.  Gamers who like snap-turning can adjust the snap angles, and smooth-turners can tweak the speeds to minimize motion sickness.  I was able to find the perfect blend of smooth movement and turning that didn’t leave me retching, so I was a happy gamer.

The cross-platform play is seamless, with gamers sporting the icon of their chosen gameplay device over their names.  I didn’t notice any appreciable lag in gameplay with any of my co-op sessions, and everyone seemed respectful and appreciative of having other gamers to share in on the fun.

After The Fall is an exceptional VR experience that pays homage to an absolute gaming classic.  Hopefully Vertigo will continue to support After The Fall with additional levels and upgrades to give the game a long enjoyable life.

Moss: Book II Release Window Revealed

After kicking off PlayStation’s July State of Play with the reveal of Moss: Book II—the highly-anticipated sequel to one of the most critically acclaimed VR games ever made—Polyarc is sharing with the world that players’ adventures with Quill will continue this spring 2022.

Moss: Book II builds upon the story set forth in the platinum-selling Moss video game that still ranks as one of the best rates VR games to date. Having rescued her uncle Argus, Quill’s adventure continues with the revelation that a winged tyrant is hunting her within the hexed castle where her uncle was held captive. But Quill has a plan of her own, one that could finally end the merciless rule of the Arcane and save the world from a great unmaking. Lined with dangerous terrain, challenging puzzles, and enemies twisted in fire and steel, the journey will be trying—filled with triumph and heartbreak alike—but new allies, old friends, and the very nature of the castle itself can offer help along the way.

To stay up to date on all the latest about Moss: Book II players can follow Polyarc on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. Visit https://www.polyarcgames.com/ for more information.

Fans can also get a behind-the-scenes look at Moss: Book II in Polyarc’s recent videos showcasing the game’s development:

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.