Games for the PSVR are slowly coming, some have been good, some superb and some just a waste of time but all have one thing in common, they start with Sony’s advice that PSVR isn’t recommended for under 11’s so I personally find it strange that they release a game like VR Karts that is aimed squarely at that age group.
Graphically VR Karts has a very cleanly presented comic book style with a bright colour palette and certainly shares a lot of similarities with the Mario and Sonic racers of old, the VR is implemented well and can be very effective in places with no signs of any motion sickness at all, but for me it just doesn’t shine. Characters are your standard go to racers with a very minimal options selection to customise the colour of your helmet and clothes or add various novelty add-on’s like sunglasses and horns, this also extends to the Kart itself but limited to a simple colour swap only.
The main gameplay element apart from making it around the course are the power ups scattered around the tracks for you to drive through, these give you a variety of options of to either gain an advantage through speed boosts or hinder your opponents with look and lock on missiles, dropping mines, Emp’s or other varying weapons to slow your chasing opponents down. Most of these have been seen before and come as no surprise but one that did stick out was called ‘The Beehive’, this dumps a Beehive on your selected opponents head giving them a view of proceedings through a small eye hole, it’s fun for a while especially in multiplayer but soon becomes as overused and familiar as all the rest of the power up options.
On release VR Karts comes with 12 tracks and the overall environments such as ‘Castle Island’s and ‘Kart Canyon’ do not change much but the track designs and weather affects vary which is certainly a bonus and offers some minor improvement on the minimal 9 tracks when it was released on the Vive and Gear back in 2015.
Single player is fun and frantic for a while offering the standard quick race, time trial and championships (Rookie, Amateur and Pro) but soon becomes familiar and samey. I personally had issues with cornering on most tracks but soon realised you need to boost around to encourage drifting, so make sure you do pick up the boost on the way around because these Karts just don’t like corners. Multiplayer fairs similar with the standard expected options for this type of genre including track voting but I couldn’t see an option for voice chat so presumably you are expected to join through the PS4’s chat option if you choose too.
This is all fine and acceptable but I found it exceptionally hard to find a server with a reasonable number of players to challenge, especially on my first attempt where I waited over 15 mins before someone was found, granted it was gone midnight and everyone who would probably be playing this online would be in bed because of school but when I did finally get a match it’s was fun stuff but the lack of chat and originality was certainly noticeable and soon repetitive. NOTE: I did try online again during the day and found it was obviously much quicker to get a match going but no race was ever full and the inability to move back to the main menu if you got bored of waiting for a game seems silly, I had to close the game and restart to get back to the home screen?
VR Karts is fun for a while but it’s nothing that hasn’t been release before, yes it’s in VR but I personally feel this doesn’t warrant the £35 price tag, especially as it’s just over a tenner on the Oculus store. And as I said earlier considering the age group it’s aiming for the VR aspect is not recommended so it’s down to personal opinion if you are wanting it for the kids. My 6-year-old has played it and had great fun so Viewpoint Games have certainly hit their intended group but I do limit him due to the alleged possible side effects to under 11’s, this leaves me to wonder why you would create a certain type of game for a certain age knowing it’s not recommended for the exact group you’re aiming for?
All in all, VR Karts is a fun Kart racer designed specifically for kids but not officially recommended for kids, and I feel the lack of originality and minimal player options will soon see this in the PS+ monthly freebies – so save your money. Overall it’s not bad but not good either, it certainly has some good qualities but in my honest opinion it’s an old PS2 game with the asking price of a new PS4 game which for me is just plain stupid and greedy.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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