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  • Hands-On: Vacation Simulator For PSVR Retains Owlchemy’s Signature Charm
    Hands-On: Vacation Simulator For PSVR Retains Owlchemy’s Signature Charm

    Vacation Simulator from Owlchemy Labs may look a lot like Job Simulator, but it packs a whole lot more than the studio’s first VR game. Designed as a direct successor to the comedic menial labor simulation experience, Vacation Simulator puts players in a wide range of stereotypical “relaxing” situations.

    At a recent pre-E3 preview event we got the chance to go hands-on with the PSVR version of the game for the very first time after previously trying it out on a Vive Pro at GDC earlier this year.

    In terms of content, the demos were basically the same. I got to visit the idyllic, colorful beach landscape you see in the screenshots and trailers here. I built a sandcastle, tossed a frisbee, took selfies in the water, and played a ball game with a robot. It was like the VR-fueled vacation I never knew I wanted.

    What stood out to me most in terms of differences between playing on Vive Pro and PSVR is obviously the visual quality. The Pro was significantly more crisp with next to no noticeable screen door effect in a game with this sort of art style, whereas the PSVR didn’t quite reach that point. It still looked and ran great, mind you, because bright, bold visuals like this look great in any headset, but it was noticeably downgraded from the Vive Pro.

    Additionally, since the PSVR doesn’t truly support 360 tracking for anything other than your actual headset (if you turn around your body blocks the camera from tracking the controllers) the layout was reorganized a bit I’m told. I didn’t actually notice the re-organization, as it’s very subtle, but this way they’ve ensured you never need to fully spin around on PSVR to access everything.

    You might recall that Job Simulator is a series of small, mini-game style jobs like being a chef, a car mechanic, or a convenience store clerk. Each level has everything you need within arm’s reach so you never need to move around beyond your play space. Rick and Morty VR, Owlchemy’s second game, used that same concept but instead let you teleport back and forth between four squares on a grid that were each sized like the levels from Job Simulator. Now, with Vacation Simulator, there are entire worlds full of these zones that you teleport between to play.

    My demo only offered a brief glimpse of the beach environment, but we’re told there will be several in total. And just like both previous Owlchemy games, we expect the majority of the fun will come from messing around with things, going off the beaten path, and seeing just how far the game’s physics will let us go. You can read more about the demo’s content and mechanics here.

    All in all, Vacation Simulator is shaping up to be a worthy successor to Owlchemy’s iconic ‘simulator’ line of VR games. It’s slated for release on Rift, Vive, and PSVR later this year.

    Let us know what you think of Vacation Simulator down in the comments below!

    Tagged with: owlchemy, Vacation

  • Why Media Molecule’s Dreams Could Be PSVR’s Most Important Game
    Why Media Molecule’s Dreams Could Be PSVR’s Most Important Game

    I’ve been following Media Molecule’s Dreams with cautious optimism for three years now, not because I doubt the LittleBigPlanet developers’ ability to make a robust, accessible creation platform, but because I was worried the team wouldn’t realize the full potential of the app on PSVR. Creative platforms like Tilt Brush, Medium and Tvori make for some of the most compelling VR experiences on the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, and PSVR has been missing out on them for two years now.

    But Dreams’ possibilities go far beyond these virtual art studios.

    Now, my caution hasn’t yet been remedied, but recent signs suggest things are looking up. Media Molecule has understandably had to dance around the subject of VR in interviews and previews while the Sony marketing machine gets its messaging in order, but there are vital signs of life. For starters, an interview last month suggested that Dreams’ VR support will allow players to create within their headsets and even play certain experiences inside PSVR. We might not be able to play all of the games’ user-created levels in VR, for example, but it sounds like it’s possible for users to make content specifically tailored for VR.

    Then, earlier this week, a report surfaced claiming that Dreams’ VR support will now be included from the game’s the as-of-yet-undetermined release date and not patched in later as previously expected. We have to take that report with a pinch of salt, of course, but if true it suggests that Media Molecule is fully aware of just how important Dreams could be to VR.

    In the past year we’ve seen many of VR’s existing art apps expand to include not just static 3D paintings but also introduce intuitive new ways to make animations and even create new worlds and objects for videogames. Oculus’ Quill now lets users make keyframe animations with a fairly simple interface, for example, and some developers have even managed to make entire VR games out of assets created inside Tilt Brush. Unity, too, hopes to streamline content creation and turn more people into developers with experimental apps like Editor VR and Carte Blanche.

    Make no mistake about it; these are the first steps in a revolution for 3D content creation, but they still require users to have a basic knowledge of development engines in order to incorporate VR-made assets. Editing in Unity inside VR looks incredible, but it still requires a decent understanding of the platform’s UI to get started, as does importing easily-made Google Blocks assets into your pipeline. Carte Blanche’s content packs, meanwhile, will have you making VR levels in seconds, but could also limit exactly what people can make in VR.

    Dreams, however, could leapfrog all of these solutions.

    If, come release, Dreams presents an accessible means of not only making 3D worlds and objects in VR but also designing interactive experiences within them, it could be the most important PSVR game thus far. What we’ve seen so far from the game on standard displays seems promising; an intuitive UI navigated using PlayStation Move

  • Facebook Explains Why It Engineered The Half Dome Varifocal VR Headset
    Facebook Explains Why It Engineered The Half Dome Varifocal VR Headset

    At Display Week in Los Angeles Facebook revealed why its researchers and engineers built a varifocal VR headset.

    Over the last few years researchers at Facebook’s Reality Labs (formerly known as Oculus Research) developed a series of prototypes designed to solve a fundamental problem facing current VR headset design. The event opened Tuesday with a keynote by Douglas Lanman, who leads the Computational Imaging Team at FRL which developed the prototypes in partnership with eye tracking systems developed by Rob Cavin and Alex Fix as well as wide-field-of-view optics developed by a team led by Jacques Gollier.

    The work was first revealed as the Half Dome prototype at Facebook’s recent developer conference, but the presentation during Display Week went much deeper as part of a symposium put together by the world’s preeminent researchers and engineers in display technology. Lanman used the event to explain how and why Facebook engineered this system with moving displays over multiple generations. It started with a loud monstrosity but was eventually engineered into what we see in Half Dome.

    The headset actually moves the displays to match the positioning of your eyeballs, and could help with the vergence-accommodation conflict plaguing VR headsets today. In virtually all consumer VR headsets, the lenses make your eyes focus far away. When objects appear near, there’s a conflict in where the lenses of the headset are focusing your eyes and where they naturally wants to focus. This can cause eyestrain and limits how long some people want to wear a headset.

    Here’s how Lanman described the issue in an interview with UploadVR:

    “Nearly all consumer HMDs present a single fixed focus. Some have focus knobs, but most just lock the optical focus of the displays to something around two meters. When you look at a near object, vergence (eye rotation) and accommodation (deformation of the eye’s crystalline lens) move together. As your lens deforms to focus on a nearby virtual object, it is focusing away from the fixed focus of the HMD. So, most people report seeing some blur. Sustained vergence-accommodation conflict has been linked, in prior vision science publications, to visual fatigue, including eye strain.”

    Exploring the kinds of displays to solve this problem is a “daunting engineering challenge,” according to Lanman, so the “science community is only beginning to investigate.”

    “In terms of visual clarity of near objects, varifocal displays have proven beneficial in our experience, as well as according to prior publications,” Lanman said.

    In our interview, Lanman offered the first hint of what it feels like to try the Half Dome system.

    “In a quiet room I don’t hear the screens or feel them moving,” Lanman said. “These are still feature prototypes, so the engineering isn’t completely perfected.”

    An Oculus spokesperson declined to say when developers or journalists might be able to test the system. (Oculus has in the past presented new dev kits for testing at its developer conference late in the year.)

    “We may never see these specific technologies in a product,” spokesman Brandon Boone wrote in an email. “Not ruling it out forever, but for now, we

  • Zone of The Enders 2’s VR Support Is As Confusing As It Is Thrilling
    Zone of The Enders 2’s VR Support Is As Confusing As It Is Thrilling

    VR has a welcome habit of resurrecting the most unexpected of franchises. Gungrave is ending its 16-year hiatus later in 2018, for example, and even Double Fine’s dormant Psychonauts series found a new home inside PSVR. Perhaps even more surprising than these two, though, is the return of the Konami’s Zone of the Enders: The Second Runner, not just because of its underdog status but also thanks to its publisher’s increasing distance from the traditional gaming market. The upcoming PS4 and PC re-release is just one of four games Konami is releasing this year.

    If you’re one of ZoE’s many cult followers, you should count your lucky stars that Zone Of The Enders: The 2nd Runner – Mars even exists. Having gone hands-on with the new demo, though, it’s not hard to see why it does.

    Mars lets you play through the entirety of ZoE 2 in PlayStation VR (PSVR), Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive. Doing so trades the series’ traditional third-person camera from which you pilot advanced battle suit, Jehuty, for a first-person cockpit view. It’s a logical swap though, based on the new demo, not an entirely practical one; the out-of-body experience lets you see more of the game’s expansive maps, typically infested with swarms of enemies. An automatic lock-on system also means diving into those swarms for melee attacks erratically jolts you around.

    ZoE’s control scheme, meanwhile, has its own learning curve to master, with attacks assigned to one button and defined by if you’re moving and how close you are to an enemy. If you’re new to the world of ZoE, the demo’s opening moments can be unnervingly hectic.

    It’s worth persevering (and, for the weak of stomach, diving into the comfort options), though, as Mars’ VR support can be tamed. Even for someone who hasn’t touched a ZoE game since 2012’s HD remasters, I managed to find my feet in the 15-minute demo and even started to enjoy the ever-strafing combat system. While cannon fodder enemies exist purely to let you live out your Gundam dreams, a mid-demo boss fight sees you picking choice moments to dash in and slash away before retreating to shoot down a sea of missiles at the last moment.  It’s especially rewarding to see enemy mechs sent flying by well-timed attacks.

    That new cockpit view has some nice touches, too. A small hologram of Jehuty sits to your right side, showing your movements as if you were playing from the traditional perspective. It doesn’t make up for the reduced field of view, but it does help you gather your bearings a bit. It’s a shame that many of the game’s in-cockpit cutscenes quickly revert back to a virtual screen, though Konami seems to have gone an unexpected extra step by making the traditional cutscenes 3D.

    Ultimately I’d guess the VR version of Zone of the Enders 2 will go down pretty much like the traditional version; it will find its passionate fanbase in the people that gel with the series’ somewhat awkward controls and laughable dialogue,

  • Hands-On: Creed VR Boxing For PSVR Is Shaping Up To Be A Contender
    Hands-On: Creed VR Boxing For PSVR Is Shaping Up To Be A Contender

    For a few weeks in real life last year I went to a boxing gym. Before long I injured my wrist and eventually stopped going because having a kid has a way of limiting your time (plus I’m lazy.) However, I jump at the chance to get up and move around when in VR. Livestreaming Beat Saber has been a ton of fun and reviewing games like Knockout League or Sparc helped me work up a good sweat. Now Creed: Rise to Glory may soon be added to my list of favorite VR games to use as exercise.

    During a recent pre-E3 demo showcase from Sony, I got the chance to go hands-on with Creed once again. Previously, I played the game on Vive at GDC earlier this year, but this was my first chance to play it on the PSVR. Luckily, I hardly noticed a difference.

    Creed: Rise to Glory has the feel of something that might be marketed as a movie tie-in game, especially since Creed II is set to hit theaters later this year, but it stands on its own as far as we can tell. In fact, other than seeing Rocky at the start of my demo before I started training I’d never have known this game was related to Rocky or Creed at all.

    Perhaps they’ll incorporate more references to the source material before release, because I’m told a lot of stuff that we’ve seen at preview events is all just placeholder for now. For example, the voice over for Rocky that’s currently used in the demo is one of the worst Sylvester Stallone impressions I’ve ever heard, but thankfully it isn’t final.

    In terms of content, this build was basically the same as the GDC demo. I was fighting a new opponent this time, someone a bit faster but who did less damage, so it was a little different.

    The core of what makes Creed special among VR boxing titles is how it threads the needle between silly, arcade boxing like Knockout League and realism-focused simulation along the lines of Thrill of the Fight. I compared it to Fight Night in my previous article and that feels pretty accurate still.

    Survios created what they’re referring to as “Phantom Melee” system that helps players simulate what it would feel like to actually be in a fight. Since you can’t actually force a player to get knocked back or to feel a hit in the face, they have you mimic your character’s movements at key scenes to replicate the reactions.

    It’s a bit hard to explain, but if you watch the video included above (or here) you can see it in action during my demo. Specifically, watch from the 1:12 point in the video.

    Boxing as a sport is a great fit for VR because of how active it is and how focused it is on hand movement. Since motion controllers (and headsets) do a great job of tracking movement already, it’s a natural fit.

    Plus, since you’re always facing straight ahead to match up

  • Former Rift Exclusive Paper Valley Heads To Steam With Price Drop
    Former Rift Exclusive Paper Valley Heads To Steam With Price Drop

    VITEI Backroom’s idyllic VR adventure, Paper Valley, launched earlier this year as an Oculus Rift exclusive, but it’s soon to soar to another platform.

    Paper Valley will be coming to SteamVR on June 6th with support for both Rift and the HTC Vive, the studio confirmed today. The Steam listing for the game has just gone live and there’s a new mixed reality trailer to mark the occasion, too. Come launch, the game will be available for $12.99 (formerly $19.99), with a 15% discount also running lanch week. VITEI is also launching the game’s soothing soundtrack for $2.99 and also in a bundle for $14.99.

    In Paper Valley, players throw paper planes at targets, restoring a world back to vibrant life in the process. The game is designed to be a relaxing, non-violent adventure.

    We certainly saw the game’s charms when we reviewed it earlier this year, though we ultimately thought it was a little too light. “There is an appreciated peacefulness to be discovered here as you send planes on their way, but the game constantly feels like it’s aiming for more enlightening sensations that never break through,” we said. “I was happy to spend two hours with it before returning to more traditional VR realms, but the memories of its sun-kissed landscape won’t linger long.”

    Tagged with: Paper Valley

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  • Turbo Button’s Charming Along Together Hits PSVR, Go, Rift And Vive Next Week
    Turbo Button’s Charming Along Together Hits PSVR, Go, Rift And Vive Next Week

    Another one of Daydream’s enjoyable exclusive games is making its way to other headsets this month.

    Along Together, a charming storybook adventure from Floor Plan developer Turbo Button, hits PlayStation VR, Oculus Go, Gear VR, Oculus Rift and HTC Vive on May 29th. The game sees a young child teaming up with an imaginary friend as she searches for her lost dog. Playing as that friend, you guide them through levels as a giant, manipulating platforms and solving puzzles to clear the way.

    Check it out in the trailer below. It’s a wistful little game with bags of charm, even if it doesn’t boast the slapstick ingenuity of Floor Plan. The game’s set to cost $19.99 on PC and console headsets (with a 25% discount taking it to $14.99 on launch week) and $14.99 on mobile headsets.

    “Along Together might not demonstrate the creative spark that Turbo Button has showcased in the past, but it makes up for it with smart design and strong core gameplay mechanics,” we said when we awarded the game 7/10 in our review last year. “Though family friendly, it’s puzzle/platforming premise applies just the right amount of challenge and has bags of charm to boot.”

    This isn’t the first Daydream exclusive to find its way to other platforms; the excellent Virtual-Virtual Reality debuted on Gear VR earlier this month too and CCP Games’ Gunjack 2 made its way to Gear last year. Let’s hope that means other exclusives like the excellent Eclipse: Edge of light make their way to other devices soon too.

    Tagged with: Along Together

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  • GameFace Launches Pre-Orders For $599 Standalone VR Dev Kit That Supports SteamVR
    GameFace Launches Pre-Orders For $599 Standalone VR Dev Kit That Supports SteamVR

    You may have heard of GameFace Labs before; the VR company has actually been around for almost as long as the Oculus Rift. I even remember trying a very early built of the company’s standalone VR headset back in 2014. As VR grew from its early days to where it is now, though, GameFace drifted in and out of the spotlight and a product launch looked increasingly uncertain. This week, though, the company is taking a step forward.

    GameFace yesterday launched pre-orders for the first developer kit of its upcoming headset, labeled as a head-mounted console (HMC), running on Android Nougat. The device is powered by Nvidia’s Jetson TX2 module, which the company originally designed for use with intelligent devices like drones and smart cameras. It also features two 2560×1440 OLED, low persistence displays with sub-20ms latency.

    Running on Android, the headset can access experiences made for other smartphone-powered headsets like Google Cardboard, though GameFace is also supporting another major platform: SteamVR. Users will be able to tether their headset to a PC to access SteamVR content with six degrees of freedom (6DOF) Lighthouse tracking via base stations included with the kit. According to the product listing, Lighthouse tracking is also supported in standalone mode.

    The developer kit comes with a 6DOF-tracked controller, too. It’s unclear how GameFace intends to let users navigate SteamVR experiences with just one controller. We’ve reached out to the company to clarify.

    The kit can be pre-ordered for $599 and will start shipping to approved developers in the next few weeks. You can apply through the company’s developer portal. These developers will also get access to a software development kit (SDK) as well as a free HMC unit when it launches “later this year”. We don’t know the price of the consumer kit right now.

    GameFace’s HMD presents an interesting remedy to the issue of VR accessibility versus immersion. Recent devices like Oculus’ $199 Go are affordable and easy to jump into but don’t offer the tracking or graphical fidelity of what’s available on the Oculus Rift. Rift powers more convincing VR but requires an expensive PC. By giving users the choice between the two, can GameFace make a mark on the industry?

    Tagged with: GameFace, GameFace Labs

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  • MIT Researchers Test Autonomous Drones Using VR Training Grounds

    Researchers at MIT are using VR to train autonomous drones in safer, less expensive environments. Commercial drone use has skyrocketed over the last four years. Breakthroughs in unmanned aircraft technology have lowered the prices of key components to the point that filmmakers, researchers, even casual hobbyists have been able to join the fray, resulting in

    The post MIT Researchers Test Autonomous Drones Using VR Training Grounds appeared first on VRScout.

  • This ‘Sensory Reality Pod’ Will Make You Feel VR

    Sensiks is a glimpse of the direction multisensory virtual reality could be heading. One of VR’s obstacles is delivering visceral, skin-deep sensations. Amsterdam-based startup Sensiks is trying to solve this problem with “sensory reality pods,” or SR, as its CEO calls it. Put simply, the “SR pod” is a high-tech booth emitting artificial heat, wind

    The post This ‘Sensory Reality Pod’ Will Make You Feel VR appeared first on VRScout.

  • Pixar Co-Founder: VR’s Education Potential ‘One Of The Greatest Steps In Years’
    Pixar Co-Founder: VR’s Education Potential ‘One Of The Greatest Steps In Years’

    Through films like Finding Nemo and Toy Story, Pixar Animation Studios has redefined the cinema over the past few years. But one of the company’s figureheads is looking to VR and AR to transform another important pillar: education.

    Pixar co-founder and chief scientist Loren Carpenter recently said as much to Tes following a lecture he gave inside VR last month. “I feel very optimistic about the educational potential of augmented reality and VR devices,” Carpenter said. “I think the application of VR in education is one of the greatest steps in years.”

    Last month students at the Windsor Forest Colleges Group in Slough, UK were treated to an in-VR talk from Carpenter, who was beamed into HTC Vives as he spoke in California. Carpenter envisioned trips to Mars inside headsets where teachers can label points of interest and show the solar system in scale. That sounds a little like Google’s existing Expeditions platform, though that’s yet to leave our planet.

    Carpenter is also a big believer in AR, though he believes it’s still a few years away from ‘practical’ use.

    It’s always encouraging to see people as influential as Carpenter showing their support for VR and AR. While we may not be seeing any Pixar VR movies any time soon, we agree with Carpenter that the potential for these technologies to be used in education is massive. In fact, we’re already seen plenty of examples of this, from virtual museums to games that teach you through playing.

    Tagged with: pixar

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  • PS5 Won’t Arrive Until At Least 2021, Sony Says
    PS5 Won’t Arrive Until At Least 2021, Sony Says

    Sony Corp. again today reiterated that you shouldn’t expect to see the next PlayStation console anytime soon.

    Speaking to The Wall Street Journal a day after noting that the company’s current console, the PS4, was reaching the end of its lifespan, Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Tsuyoshi Kodera stated that it would be another three years before PlayStation made its next big move.

    “We will use the next three years to prepare the next step, to crouch down so that we can jump higher in the future,” he said.

    Wall Street’s report doesn’t make mention of what this might mean for PlayStation VR (PSVR), Sony’s virtual reality headset that’s powered by PS4. We’ve long assumed that any such successor to the headset would arrive on Sony’s next console, presumably to take advantage of increased processing power alongside any other new features. With this report, is it safe to assume PSVR 2 is at least three years out as well?

    Elsewhere, Kodera reportedly stated that Sony was looking to incorporate ‘better mobility’ into PlayStation, perhaps suggesting that the next console might find ways to compete with Nintendo’s Switch console/portable hybrid device. Again, we can’t help but wonder what that might mean for VR; could a more portable PlayStation perhaps mean and all-new form factor for PSVR, too? It’s going to be a long few years of questions before we get some answers.

    Tagged with: PS5, sony

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  • Hulu’s Interactive VR Comedy Door No. 1 Releases Tomorrow, Trailer Here
    Hulu’s Interactive VR Comedy Door No. 1 Releases Tomorrow, Trailer Here

    And now for something completely different…

    Or at least, that’s what Hulu is hoping its new VR comedy, Door No. 1, will be. The Ryot-produced experience is launching this Thursday, May 24th, and will be free to watch on the Hulu VR app, even if you don’t have a subscription. The first trailer for the experience is below.

    Door No. 1 is a ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ piece that stars Ravi Patel (Meet the Patels, Master of None), Steven Little (Eastbound and Down), Missi Pyle (Another Period) and Sarah Baker (Big Little Lies). Cast as Alex, the viewer finds themselves at their ten-year class reunion, determined to prove they’ve made something of themselves. As you meet characters you’ll get to choose how to interact with them used gaze-based controls.

    The piece is created and directed by Nora Kirkpatrick. As the trailer suggests, there may or may not be an appearance from a certain Snoop Dogg, too. We’ll be interested to see how the new format is used to mine humor in ways we haven’t seen before.

    The Hulu app is available on just about every major VR headset aside from Vive. It’s free to download and, as we said, it won’t cost you a penny to watch this either. Can VR comedy work? Now’s a good time to find out.

    Tagged with: Door No. 1

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  • Sword Art Online’s New VR Game Is Not What We Wanted
    Sword Art Online’s New VR Game Is Not What We Wanted

    It’s always hard to tell if new games set in Sword Art Online’s virtual reality universe are actually, y’know, VR games or just games set inside VR. This upcoming release looks like it’s the former, though it’s hardly the one we were hoping for.

    From the looks of it, Sword Art Online: Lovely Honey Days (yes, that’s really the name) is a dating simulation for smartphones that features series heroine, Asuna. Playing as protagonist Kirito, you interact with Asuna in seven different environments including picnics, ruins and the beach. If didn’t already know the direction this was probably going, the video below shows Asuna in a bikini, stepping over players with a towel on in a spa, and tied up during a mission. Yep.

    You’ll respond to her via on-screen prompts and even be able to talk to her outside of VR via a simulated messaging service. The app is set to arrive in Japan on iOS and Android across seven episodes throughout 2018, the first of which will be free. No word on a localized release right now.

    It’s safe to say this isn’t really what we were hoping for from a Sword Art Online VR game. The anime series depicts an expansive metaverse for players to adventure into, which provides the perfect context for a VR game. But all hope is not lost; the upcoming Sword Art Online: Replication sounds like it will be a much more faithful take on the series for headsets.

    Tagged with: Sword Art Online

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  • Hands-On: Astro Bot Is A Full PSVR Platformer Based On Playroom’s Robot Rescue
    Hands-On: Astro Bot Is A Full PSVR Platformer Based On Playroom’s Robot Rescue

    There are few things in life as satisfying as a good 3D platformer. Each time I play games such as Super Mario Odyssey, Ratchet & Clank, Crash Bandicoot, and countless other character-driven action platformer games, there’s always a smile firmly plastered to my face. The bright colors, whimsical music, and precision controls tap into the core of what makes video games so much fun. But we’ve rarely seen this genre explored in VR thus far.

    Lucky’s Tale (and more recently Moss) are rare exceptions, but most developers seem to think that playing a third-person game in VR is pointless. Luckily, I’m here to tell you that Astro Bot: Rescue Mission from Sony’s Japan Studio is a third-person 3D platformer built from the ground up specifically for VR and does a remarkable job of selling the genre for the platform.

    Back when PSVR first launched it came bundled with a free little pack-in collection of mini games called The Playroom VR. Most of these games were designed with multiplayer in mind and provided asynchronous thrills for everyone in the room — both inside and outside of VR. However, it also included a brief single player-only platformer called Robot Rescue. We loved it so much we called for Sony to make it into a full game and — despite the odds — someone was listening.

    At a recent pre-E3 preview event we got the chance to go hands-on with Astro Bot, the full game based on the seed of an idea found in Robot Rescue, and came away extremely excited to play it in its entirety.

    What struck me most when I first sat down with Astro Bot is just how polished it feels. The opening moments showed a globe-style world stage with multiple levels spread across it. The developer queued up one of the early stages for me to give a try. Once loaded, I look down at my controller and see the cute little robot peering up at me (shown below), fully aware of my presence. With a press of the X button he’s blasted out into the world, ready to track down his lost comrades on a daring Rescue Mission.

    The developer told me that there will be five worlds in total to explore and over two dozen total stages, including six boss fights. Including all of the extra challenges, collectibles, and replayability they liberally estimate it could take upwards of eight or more hours to finish everything. In the span of 20 minutes I did two of the early stages and a boss fight, so if that math holds true, it’s probably more like 3-4 hours just to finish each stage, with all of the collectibles and extra content adding on the rest. That’s just a guesstimate though.

    For a game like this, that’s a pretty solid chunk of time and already means it’s outpacing the likes of Moss and Lucky’s Tale from a sheer length perspective.

    Controlling the little Astro Bot was dead simple and special abilities will be earned slowly over the course