We might literally be weeks away before PSVR2 launches, but developer Dr. Bloc has surprised PSVR users with another game for their system to enjoy. Here’s a look at Straylight, which is also out for PC-based headsets and the Meta Quest 2.
When playing Straylight, our minds went back to another VR game – Yupitergrad. Both are sci-fi titles, and both games feature swinging mechanics that are incredibly well suited to VR. But rather than having a more narrative-driven experience with a retro-futuristic theme, this one’s more about agility and speed-running, emphasizing the traversal element over anything else.
The controls for traversal are easy and intuitive to use – just aim for an anchor point and launch your harpoon/rope gun to connect to it. Then, pull towards yourself, and off you go. And as easy as that concept is, the level design quickly throws you a curveball or two, as they contain obstacles, a need for careful timing, and the infinite abyss of space if you happen to miss and fall down.
For a game like this to work it needs to perform well on a technical level, and thanks to a rather minimalist look and feel it works very well on the now-modest hardware of the PSVR. The developers have done quite a lot to make sure that ‘minimalist’ doesn’t equate ‘boring’ here though, because levels in Straylight are often filled with bright and colorful elements despite their relatively simple geometric forms.
What also stands out about Straylight is that it manages to walk that thin line between being accessible for those not too used to VR and perhaps prone to motion sickness, and being challenging enough for those who’ve earned their VR stripes. You’ll see a lot of that second part in the fact that you can challenge ghosts of your previous best time – or predefined ones to really show you how you stack up against what the developer intended for the level.
Where the game suffers a bit is in its lack of content. Without a story mode, those not too interested in pushing for better times will quickly get through the game’s eleven core levels – though you can double that number by also checking out the ‘hardcore’ levels that offer more of a challenge. This one’s being released as a budget price point, but if you want to get the most out of it you’ll have to tap into your competitive side a little.
Straylight is one of those games that, thanks to its use of motion controls, couldn’t possible work as well outside of VR. Swinging is a great and immersive way to get around the limitations that VR has (where you can rarely physically walk somewhere in the VR space), and this game delivers on that experience. It’s an experience that probably works best in a wireless format because of its reliance on some quick turns, but provides a fun experience on PSVR as well.