Startenders review (PSVR)

Startenders from Foggy Box Games and publisher Yogscast launched a while ago for the Quest, but recently made the jump to PlayStation. Always eager to dust off Sony’s first headset model, we took a look.

After Sony announced that PSVR 2 won’t be compatible with games developed and released for the original PSVR headset, we thought that developers and publishers would stop putting effort into releasing games for the platform, so we get excited every time we’re proven wrong. Startenders, as the name suggests, is a sci-fi take on bartending, and while VR has given us plenty of “job sim/food prep” games this one turned out to be a pleasant surprise.


Part of that are excellent controls. Where too many of these games rely on precise and unforgiving controls that the Move controllers usually can’t deliver, we rarely had any issues here. Part of that was that the in-game playing area wasn’t overwhelming either – the developers didn’t cram too much into a small space, and didn’t make the space impossibly large to navigate either. And when you’re not having to fight the controls, it’s a lot easier to immerse yourself in a virtual world in which you suddenly get whisked away to a space station where you have to mix drinks for a bunch of aliens.

The actual mixing of drinks has been well implemented here, and the developers have stayed away from forcing you to navigate a long bar full of different spirits and flavors – which would be a nightmare in VR. Instead, you cycle between different machines using platforms that you can rotate, always keeping what you need within an arm’s reach. You also don’t have to memorize a million different combinations either – orders are presented in an easy to follow manner with icons.


As with most games in this genre, when things get more difficult you get more and more drinks to make in the same amount of time, but the core gameplay doesn’t change much. For that reason, it’s nice that Startenders includes a range of different activities and mini-games to play around with when you’re not busy bartending, making for an almost playground-like feel rather than a barebones job sim that might grow repetitive after a while.

We enjoyed Startenders quite a bit, but can’t shake the feeling that it’s an old school type of VR game as well. It learned well from what came before though, and it’s one of the better examples in the genre, so unless you’re completely burnt out on the concept this is one we’re gladly recommending.

Score: 7.3/10

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