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The State of PSVR: Spring 2019

We paid the PlayStation VR Showcase 2019 a visit in New York to check out 8 new promising titles for the VR headset.

  • Text: Ketil Skotte

Trover Saves The Universe
We're big fans of Justin Roiland so when he creates a VR game tonally close to Rick & Morty, we pay attention. The story, you say? Your dogs have been dognapped by the lunatic Glorkon who has inserted them into his eye sockets and is now using them to destroy the universe. How's that for a plot synopsis? "You" is, in this case, an old guy bound to his chair. He enlists the titular Trover's help (luckily Trover can walk) in order to save the universe - and your dogs, of course. The story might be crazy, but the gameplay sticks close to what works. Trover Saves the Universe is a straight-forward albeit solid action-platformer.

Similarly to Astro Bot: Rescue Mission you control both Trover (with the DS4) and the old guy (primarily with your head). Nothing we encountered in the demo stood out in particular from a gameplay perspective, but Trover's biggest qualities (the game's, that is) are probably to be found in the dialogue, characters and the bizarre world. For the record, it made us laugh at least a few times which doesn't happen all that often in games. Trover Saves the Universe will likely appeal the most to fans of Rick & Morty as the gameplay doesn't seem interesting enough to carry the game alone, but we're still looking forward to chortling through the rest of the story when Squanch Games' title releases on May 31 for PSVR (and normal PS4).

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Everybody's Golf
Sony's semi-popular golf series (which is hugely popular in Japan) goes VR on May 21 in a separate release, which doesn't require the latest (and only) release for PS4 from 2017. Compared to that release, the VR edition is a lot lighter content-wise. You get three courses with 18 holes each that can be tackled solo. Tournaments and competitors are not on the table, it seems, but developer Clap Hanz is considering including online features in the future.

You can use both the DS4 and a Move controller as your virtual club. We would recommend the latter as it provides by far the more intuitive controls. In general, we're not always too keen on the Move controllers - for instance, it's really not the best stand-in for a gun - but as a club it's perfect. Everybody's Golf is easy to approach and swinging your club is satisfying, so to speak, but maybe the whole package is just a tad too light on content - especially given the pricing. The foundation for a good experience is there though so maybe it's worth waiting for a price cut or more content.

No Man's Sky: Beyond
Due to a tight schedule, we didn't get the chance to try out No Man's Sky in VR, but we were told that it's the full game and not an extra mode which sounds promising. In addition to this, it's now possible to control the game with the move controllers. Doing so changes movement to a warp-based system where the warp points are chosen freely. We don't know why anyone would want to play the game like this, but now the opportunity is there.

After a disappointing launch, No Man's Sky has done a lot to redeem itself and the upcoming Beyond edition, which includes all updates, online and VR, could very well be what truly unlocks the full potential of this ambitious title.

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Five Nights at Freddy's VR: Help Wanted
As was the case with No Man's Sky we didn't get to play around with the murderous animatronics in the upcoming VR edition of the streaming phenomenon Five Nights at Freddy's, which combines existing and new material. We did, however, get to chat a bit with developer Steel Wool's co-founder and lead designer, Jason Topolski, who informed us that the full game has 40 levels and is created in collaboration with the creator of the original mobile game.

While talking to him, we watched another reporter playing through the demo and it was pretty fascinating to hear Topolski explaining how his mistakes could be used the tweak the design in order to improve the game.

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Playstation's VR Showcase clearly showed that Sony has far from given up on its pricey accessory. Last year was a hallmark year for the platform giving us gems such as Astro Bot Rescue Mission, Tetris Effect, Beat Saber and Moss, and the titles shown at the showcase make a strong case for the future while also showing the breadth of experiences that work well in VR. Our favourite picks were probably Iron Man VR, Ghost Giant and Trover Saves The Universe. The first is exhilarating, the second touching, and the third is hilarious. Sweat, tears and laughter. A great mix for fans of VR.