Last Week’s Gaming – June 15th, 2020

Animal Crossing Snowfolk

It wasn’t a huge games week this time around. But that doesn’t mean I have nothing to say about what I did play!

The crunch. I hate this time of year work-wise. It’s like the Christmas sales in retail. Bleah. Coupled with an incredibly annoying Telstra issue with work, this has just been such a pain.

But, as usual, gaming has been a pleasant refuge. I just haven’t had the mental capacity to play as much as I wanted. I did get to spend a nice night on the couch watching Food Wars with Rabbit though. Wouldn’t have switched that for anything ūüôā

But that’s enough of my week – let’s talk about the gaming I did get in!

Animal Crossing: New Horizons – Switch

Not too much in terms of my island progress, but it has still been fun to potter around. Now that winter has officially come to my island, I have also been having fun building Snowfolk.

I have some turnips ready to sell this week, and the plan is to pay off my last house upgrade this week. Once that is done, I will have a look at how quickly I can build some extra bells. The extra money can get dumped into building bridges and inclines, as well as moving buildings around.

But all that is ‘when I have time to sit and plan’. Work-wise at the moment, I can’t really put the time in I want to for this. But the end of the financial year is only 2 weeks away, and that is a lot of time to keep buying a lot of turnips to build that cash flow.

Animal Crossing Cherry Island
I also finally have a new fruit! Cherries have arrived on Sleep Cove

The Outer Worlds – Switch

Again, I haven’t played this as much as I wanted to, but I have been making progress. Currently, my character is up to level 5, and I have recruited my first two teammates.

Graphically, it looks better on Xbox. This was always going to be the case – portability does mean sacrifice. But even at the end of a long day, picking up the Switch and playing a quest then putting it down has been pretty much perfect. It’s the experience I hoped it would be.

The Outer Worlds Exploration
Running around the world and discovering new areas feels great

There have been some framerate dips, and texture popping (things appearing out of nowhere/images loading while looking at them) is a thing. But playing purely handheld, it has been running well. I have even found a quest I missed on my first playthrough.

I am still waiting to at least finish the first ‘world’ before doing my final review, but so far everything is promising. It might be another week before I feel comfortable giving The Outer Worlds a final review though

The Outer Worlds Sign Not Loaded In Properly
It looks worse when on a big screen, but the sign is only 'half loaded' - this is an example of texture popping

Iron Man VR Demo – PSVR

I have been eagerly waiting for this game since it was announced. Mixing VR with Iron Man is such a perfect fit. Seeing the view from the suit, the Iron Man display is basically Augmented Reality – all the readouts etc. placed over Tony Stark’s view of the world. Emulating this in VR is simple, and wearing the VR headset helps with the immersion of ‘wearing’ the suit.

The demo itself is short. It contains the tutorial, a ‘cut scene’ and the first chapter of the game. I quickly got used to the controls, and I can mostly zip around the sky without hitting everything inside of about 5 minutes.

Iron Man VR Tutorial
This is internal capture. It looks better on the shared screen. But holding up your hands and shooting feels awesome!

One thing became instantly apparent, though. You play Iron Man VR in a true 360-degree environment. This is great for immersion, but the PSVR cable is terrible for this experience. My first playthrough, I managed to not only unplug my headset but the VR control box from the PlayStation.

I doubt Iron Man VR will be released on anything but PlayStation. Still, this game would be perfect on the Oculus Quest or any other fully wireless VR headset. Here is hoping that PSVR2 is wireless with inside out tracking!

Iron Man VR Scanning Plane
The feeling of being in the Iron Man suit is impossible to describe

I don’t know if I will be grabbing Iron Man VR on July 3rd (the actual release date). Not because I am not looking forward to it, I just don’t know if I will be up to playing it day one. I will be grabbing it and playing it pretty heavily though, so expect to hear more about Iron Man VR in about a month.

What about you?  I hope you got some great games in.  Or are you looking forward to a new one?  Let me know!  Shout out on Facebook or @JohnHQLD me on Twitter!

Until next time,


Two games I want are out today – but the Steam Summer Sale is coming

One game that’s semi-free, and one I can play in VR freedom

So Tuesday I wrote about Void Bastards and how I was looking forward to giving it a play.

This morning, I checked Game Pass before coming in to work and there it was! I don’t see it on the Microsoft store, so playing on XBox it is.

It is available on Steam for AUS$43 (alright, $42.95) so if you want to play it on PC that’s the way to do it right now.

From everything I have seen so far, this is a title I am hoping will make it’s way to the Switch – but I will wait until I have given it a play before confirming that wish.

You can grab it now as well! Included in Game Pass, and on Steam.

I do think I will prefer Void Bastards on PC with keyboard and mouse, but if the controls work well having it handheld sounds amazing.

Either way, all going well I will give it a try tonight.  This weekend for sure.

And if I can finish setting everything up properly, I might even capture some video of my playing ūüôā

The gangs all here. Oh great. All of them? Really?

Another title that is now available on Steam (coincidentally also for AUD$43) or AUD$45 on the PlayStation Store is the heart attack inducing Five Nights at Freddy’s VR: Help Wanted.

I really want to give this one a try.  I went through the first three Freddy games back in the day but started to not throw myself at them for everything else.  Combination of time and stress I was already under.

I am a little torn with FNAF VR. It’s going to be stressful, and jump scares are an integral part of the franchise.

But I just got my wireless Vive adaptor, so no cables to trip me up.

What do you think FNAF fans? PS4 for the Platinum, or Steam VR for the wireless freedom?

Either way, I don’t think I will be making any Steam purchases for four weeks.¬† Traditionally, the Steam Summer Sale is just before Australia’s end of financial year.¬† Even though both games are new, some dollars off is some dollars off – which can be used to buy more games!

Until next time,


Doctor Who is coming to VR this September – Don’t Blink!

I bet there is a play on ‘Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey’ somewhere.

Yesterday I told you about a VR experience that I hopefully have running by now. This week, there was another bit of VR news that had me fanboying all around the place.

Doctor Who is coming to VR, and includes the voice talent of the Doctor herself Jodie Whittaker.

Take a look at the teaser below.

Gameplay wise not much is known.  As the player, you will be helping the Doctor by collecting some Time Crystals (Discovery technobabble anyone?) to repair the fabric of Time and Space as we know it.

Basically, I am thinking another escape room type scenario with the Doctor giving you the background and the crystals the prize.¬† We will have to wait and see though ūüôā

And the wait shouldn’t be too long apparently – it looks like it is all coming this September to PC (Vive, Rift and now the Steam Index I guess?) as well as PSVR.

The screens look quite good so far, but I am guessing these will all be from the higher res PC versions.

The original need of Police Boxes may have passed, but we all hope they are bigger on the inside
I am unfortunately not up to date with the latest series, but the inside of the TARDIS looks amazing
An everyday Laundromat. What could we find here?
Ahh. Play with the timeline, and find out.

But with promises of bad guys old and new and support from the BBC, hopefully The Edge of Time will shape up to be a quality Doctor Who experience.

Until next time,


Are you ready to enter Virtual Virtual Reality?

Inception says there are four layers.¬† Why do I feel like Tender Claws is prepping a ‘Hold my beer’ moment?

Another Virtual Reality game is coming from PC to PSVR this week.  This is a move I am enjoying keeping an eye on, as PSVR is tending to get the better ports of a lot of games.  This makes sense as PlayStation VR players outnumber Rift and Vive users by quite a margin!

The game if I can even call it that is called Virtual Virtual Reality.¬† In a lot of ways, it might be better described as one of the VR ‘experiences’, but it’s one that has always had my interest.

Before I even try to get into the why I am intrigued, check out the PSVR launch trailer:

In a bizarre Job Simulator type way, you enter the world of an Activitude employee, using VR to make their clients lives better. Or at least more enjoyable.

In the game, you don different VR goggles to enter different worlds as requested by Activitudes clients. Your task: help the AI master ‘Chaz’ deliver on the companies promises. Sounds simple, right?

Except there is a bit of a mystery to unravel. As you enter different worlds, you start to piece together the history of Activitude and the world you are in.

From all accounts, you can finish Virtual Virtual Reality in a couple of hours.  It was one of the early Virtual Reality gems after all. The story apparently has a great message on the Virtual World with slices of humor and warnings, but the pacing seems to have been the biggest downfall originally.

With all this in mind, I am hoping for a sub-$15 price on the PlayStation Store this week, but we will see.¬† If you have a Rift or a Vive, you can nab it on Steam for AUD$20 – and the Steam Summer Sale is surely only a few weeks away!¬† I am sure to play this in one form or another in the next little while ūüôā

Until next time,


Astro Bot Rescue Mission Review

20190102 AstroBot
20190102 AstroBot
Released 2018
Platform PlayStation 4
Publisher Sony Interactive Entertainment (Website)
Developer Japan Studio (Website)
Homepage (Website)
Players 1
Category Virtual Reality

The little bot that could

One of the first ‘games’ you get (or should get) with PlayStation VR is called The Playroom VR.¬† Essentially a few mini-games showing off the VR tech, The Playroom VR is a great introduction to different nuances of VR gaming.

One of these mini-games is Japan Studio’s Rescue Robots.¬† The idea is simple – you control a single robot through a 3D world and try to find all your missing friends through the level.

The catch Рyou are actively in the game.  Your avatar is a (relatively) huge vacuum looking robot that floats through the level on a set path.  Your controller is visible on the screen at all times, as it is part of the game.  You can shoot out a rope and grappling hooks to create tightropes and pull down walls.

It was a very immersive experience and a highlight of the package.

Robots Rescue PlayRoom VR
Rescue Robots was definitely one of the most popular Playroom VR mini games

And now Rescue Robots is all grown up

Now, Rescue Robots has evolved into its own game – Astro Bot Rescue Mission.

The basic gameplay is almost identical, but a bit of polishing has happened.  On starting a new game, you get to see the Bots and their sentient mothership attacked by an alien.  The ship is ripped apart, and the alien makes off with the ships PSVR visor.

So you control Astro, captain of the ship, and set off to explore five different worlds and find your friends.

Story-wise, this will never win awards.¬† It’s all a thin premise to get you where you need to be for the platforming, and that is where Astro Bot Rescue Mission shines.

On the surface, it’s a very straightforward platformer.¬† Control Astro and explore the stages, collecting coins and finding your missing crewmates.

Astro Bot Rescue Mission Opening
The more of your crewmates you save, the more greet you on the opening screen

Some crew are out in the open, some are hidden in various ways.  The great sound of the game lets you hear the bots cry out for help, and the 3D sound makes it easy to home in on where you should be looking.

What it doesn’t do is home in on how you should be looking – and that is a great element of Astro Bot Rescue Mission.

If you think of yourself as a camera moving around on a dolly, that would be fairly correct.¬† But you aren’t fixed in your seat.¬† There will be times you will want to stand and look ahead or behind you for secrets and hidden paths that your initial view hid with perspective.

Astro Bot Rescue Mission Exploring the World
So the little guy looking up is Astro, the guy up inm the air is one of your crewmates, and the big huge thing in the screen is you!

And that’s just part of it.¬† Some of the bots are hidden, but not all of them are calling out for help.¬† Some are quietly lazing around, minding their own business until you knock something or turn around to see them.

This kind of thinking is slowly introduced through the levels of the game.¬† In the first level, the fact that a bot in it that is lazing next to an enemy subtly teaches you that just because enemies came from there, doesn’t mean that a crew member can’t be around.

Then you get into the environmental controller bonuses.  Some levels give you different ways of interacting with the world directly.

The first tool is the grappling line, similar to Rescue Robots.  Create tightropes or pull down walls to make Astro new paths.  Shurikens are another bonus, allowing you to embed them in certain walls to make platforms.  Another is a water hose, letting you grow plants and vines as paths in the Garden levels, or cool lava to make a path in Volcano levels.

And of course, there is the old fashioned mini-gun ball launcher, to knock over everything in your way ūüôā

Astro Bot Rescue Mission New Item Unlocked
Trouble from above? Mini ball blaster unlocked! You have to play yourself, it's not all on Astro!

But it’s not just the gameplay

Astro Bot Rescue Mission is a great traditional platformer with not so traditional twists.¬† And as I have said, the story isn’t going to win any real prizes.

But the characters.¬† Initially, you think ‘Oh cute’.¬† But I actually started caring about not only the Bots but the ‘enemies’ stopping me and the others that help you along the way.

Having Astro look at you and wave as it makes its way around the level was fun, and a few times I actually found myself waving back!¬† This is a world that you don’t think about when you start playing, but truly pulls you in completely.

The cutesy graphics style may make Astro Bot Rescue Mission look like a kids game, but don’t let that fool you.¬† There is a lot happening here, and the simpler graphics not only establish the world but let it play smoothly on the PlayStation hardware.

Astro Bot Rescue Mission Cute little game
There is no way you can say the characters don't have personality

On the whole, the controls worked great.¬† There were a few times that I would go ‘out of field’ with the headset, but just moving back fixed that and it never happened at a critical moment, only when I was physically walking around exploring.

Once you put the PSVR on, you are in the world of Astro Bot Rescue Mission, and that is an accomplishment in and of itself.

So what’s wrong with it?

Honestly Рnot much.  The controls have a little bit of a learning curve, as the direction you push to send Astro is relative to where you are looking.

The biggest complaint I would have is the game length, and even that is a relative complaint.

There are five game worlds, each with four levels and a boss.¬† Once these are cleared, there is one ‘final’ boss – the alien from the start.¬† This is a pretty short game to get to the end overall.

But there is a lot more to do.¬† Each level has a chameleon you have to find, and finding these unlock challenges.¬† This adds 26 extra levels to the game, adding a couple of hours overall.¬† It’s a welcome addition and requires skill and practice, but unfortunately, it also feels a little like padding.

Astro Bot Rescue Mission Challenge Levels
Just when you thought you were done...

There is also a ‘grabber’ mini-game where you spend your coins.¬† This lets you rebuild levels inside the mothership to play and explore in.

Grab a bomb, waste some coins.¬† Levels can be replayed to farm coins, so it’s not a massive issue, but the mini-game is more for novelty than gameplay value.

That said, I have put Astro Bot Rescue Mission on the ‘I am going to Platinum this’ list for 2019 – and hopefully before the end of January!

Astro Bot Rescue Mission In The Mothership
When you get the grabber items, you get pieces for fun mini levels in the Mother ship. Ride an abducted cow anyone?

Even though the game is relatively short (a dedicated day to finish everything is my guess), it is a lot of fun to play and well worth the price of admission.

As long as it’s on sale.¬† AUD$55 is a bit much I think for the amount of game you get, but the AUD$31 until 19/01/2019 is pretty much spot on.

But there really is no better way to understand Astro Bot than by playing it yourself.¬† And while it’s not as good as having the controller in your hands, below is my first video of 2019 – finishing the first level of Astro Bot Rescue Mission with all the secrets!

Until next time,

Astro Bot Rescue Mission

Final Thoughts

It’s fun, immersive, and has that ‘one more go’ factor that makes great games great.

In small doses, Astro Bot Rescue Mission might even be a good trainer for getting your ‘VR legs’ if you experience motion sickness in VR.¬† Either way, a heap of fun and another great game from Japan Studio.




  • ¬†Lots of fun
  • ¬†Great use of VR systems
  • ¬†Great start to a potential new franchise
  • ¬†Friendly learning curve


  • ¬†Can cause Motion Sickness
  • ¬†Relatively Short

Tetris Effect Review

Tetris Effect Feature
Tetris Effect Feature
Released Tetris Effect
Designer Tetsuya Mizuguchi
Publisher Enhance Games (Website)
Home Page Tetris Effect Home

Over 30 years later, Tetris is still a game that holds its own

Many years ago, I got a Nintendo Game Boy for my 16th birthday.  The huge grey brick was still very new, and the thought of playing different games anywhere was magical.

The Game Boy came with Tetris, arguably the greatest game ever made.¬† The simple gameplay allows players to enter a Zen-like trance, where only you and the¬†tetrominoes¬†exist.¬† Clearing rows of blocks is a satisfying experience, and the inherent ‘Try Again’ challenge still works, even today.

Bring on the Tetris Effect

Such was the popularity of the original Tetris (no matter the platform you played it on), people started noticing something odd.  People started to report dreaming of tetrominoes and seeing interlocking patterns outside of the game.

For example, people started seeing how items on a supermarket shelf could be stacked differently to form single shapes.¬† You may look at some buildings off in the distance, and imagine the shape you ‘need’ to complete the rows.

Generally harmless, it nevertheless started research into the phenomena that playing Tetris for 30 minutes a day could help with cognitive skills.  Take that video game objectors!

Tetris Game Boy
This is where it all began for me. Tetris was around before this, but many hours were spent looking at a screen smaller than this picture! *Image from Nintendo UK

Of course, while all this is interesting, it doesn’t explain why Tetris was so popular.¬† All I can really tell you is that for me, Tetris is a kind of competitive jigsaw puzzle.

Think of any game that challenges you, and that feeling when you complete that challenge.¬† Never scored over 100 in Ticket to Ride before?¬† Got through the High Road in Crash Bandicoot without dying?¬† that feeling of satisfaction is addictive, isn’t it?

And this is where Tetris for me on the Game Boy sat.  As my score got higher and higher, I was rewarded with dancers and larger and larger rocketships launching.  It was fun to watch, and when I finally got the Space Shuttle, I was in heaven.  I still remember running around Lake Eppalock looking for my parents to show them.

Getting higher and higher scores was satisfying, but I could also play at lower speeds longer and just enjoy relaxing with the puzzle that is Tetris.  I could challenge myself or just sit back and relax, it was the game I needed it to be at the time.

Tetris Game Boy Shuttle Ending
This was the ending you hoped for back in the day. But it never stopped me from seeing if there was one more... *Image from Thumbnail

The more things change…

I am happy to say, at its core Tetris Effect is the same game I fell in love with almost 30 years ago.  There are a couple of new mechanics and game modes, but Teris is just Tetris, and I love it for being that way.

But don’t think if you have played Tetris before, you shouldn’t play Tetris Effect.¬† While the feel of the game has remained the same, so much more has happened here with the latest iteration.

But I don’t have PSVR

You can play Tetris Effect just on the PS4, and it is a great experience.  But you will be missing out on quite a bit.

For example, looking at the pictures I grabbed for this review, you can see a pretty game with various backgrounds and layouts.¬† What you can’t hear is the amazing soundtrack that goes with Tetris Effect and becomes part of the experience.

And that is what defines Tetris Effect – it’s an amazing¬†experience.¬† Playing in the dark with headphones on will allow you to immerse yourself and enjoy, but playing Tetris in VR is just special.

Tetris Effect Gameplay 1
I have pushed the game back, but being able to turn your head and be in this room as you play is amazing

The PSVR difference

VR allows you to immerse yourself in new worlds Рthis has been discussed before.  But in Tetris Effect, with good headphones and the headset, you become part of a magical tapestry.

It sounds arty and full of hype, but this is one of the few times I really can’t explain the feeling any other way – Tetris Effect is a great example of gaming as an art form, with art in the traditional visual and/or audio context.

Playing a level with Dolphins swimming is beautiful.  There are no other words for it.  Then the music pitches as you clear rows, and the Dolphins react playfully cheering you on.

The sensation is distracting because you are playing a game but just want to watch the dolphins play.  But you keep playing to watch what else the Dolphins do.

The sensation of zooming through the waters or skimming on top of the ocean is indescribable – you need to experience it yourself.

Tetris Effect Mountain
Some areas like Space and Sea begin dark, but you can also get majestic views like this

The Journey

The main mode of Tetris Effect is called Journey mode, and it is fitting.¬† Traditional gaming wise, you can consider it the campaign mode.¬† Each level has it’s own visual and audio style to go with it.

The very first level has you playing at the bottom of the ocean, with neon sea creatures swimming around you as you progress.

Complete 36 lines and you are taken to a ‘cyber Egypt’ level.¬† Rather than the bottom of the ocean, you are in a darkened room with the illuminated outline of the playing area before you.

As you progress, outlines of hieroglyphics form and travel towards you.  Complete this, and you are whisked to a red Zen world where your movements create sound.

Tetris Effect Under the Sea
It is so calm and peaceful, and as you continue you begin to see larger and larger sea creatures as well!

No two levels are similar, and each is an amazing experience.  The Journey moniker is well earned indeed.


While visually each level is different, there are changes and modifiers in each level or world as well.  Some will increase the speed of the blocks as you progress, either in score or number of lines.

Some levels will suddenly increase the speed insane levels.¬† Sometimes this is permanent, sometimes you just have to ‘survive’ the wave.¬† Each level is truly unique, but just like the visuals and audio, you need to learn how each level behaves.

Tetris Effect Journey Mode
Explore the galaxy in Journey Mode! I may have hit a level I need to practice though ūüôā

The Zone

Many players and I describe the Zen-like trance that you fall into when you get into a game of Tetris.  Tetris Effect adds to this with a new mechanic known as The Zone.

It’s pretty simple – create lines and fill up a Zone meter.¬† When you activate the Zone, it begins counting down but tetrominoes stop dropping, giving you a much-needed breather.

Each line you complete drops to the bottom of the pile, also allowing you ‘fix’ some previous errors.¬† This also has the benefit of allowing you to create groups more than Tetris –¬†Decahexatris (16 lines) is my current max, but I hope to improve soon!

Tetris Effect The Zone
Entering the Zone isn't just metaphorical in Journey - you can create awesome combos and high scores!

No time for Journey?  Enter the Effect mode

Tetris by itself is already a challenge, and the different modes on display through Journey mode are different.  But sometimes you just want to play Tetris, and this is where the Effect modes come in to play.

The description is ‘play to suit your mood’, and it’s very apt.¬† Want the challenge of clearing 150 lines offered in Marathon, but can’t quite get there?¬† Practice in Chill Marathon, that just clears the stack and starts again.

Only have a few minutes?  See how many lines you can clear in three minutes, or go for your highest score in the same time.

The most masochistic I have gotten is a mode where the tetrominoes drop in time with the music – you have no control over it.

Tetris Effect Space Station
How quickly can you make 40 lines? It takes longer than I thought

A gorgeous example of Yin and Yang

Tetris is a great game to calm and challenge yourself.  Everything in Tetris Effect rewards you in some way, but those rewards can also be a negative.

Made enough lines to see the horses gallop across the plain?¬† It’s beautiful, and they gallop right in front of you.

Get about 4-5 levels into Journey mode as a first-time player, and get used to the increased speed factor over time.  Then to have the speed triple or quadruple without warning can cause veterans to rage quit.  It really is just a case of learning the levels and their little quirks, but first impression wow it feels like a cheap loss.

But this is truly a first impression issue.  If you know that the game will occasionally lull you into a false sense of safety then thump you, then you can prepare for it.

I also wish there was a soundtrack released for Tetris Effect similar to Beat Saber.¬† I could listen to the first level for hours – it’s truly hauntingly beautiful.

So while it may sound like Tetris Effect will frustrate and annoy, it does so in a way that only dangles the challenge carrot before you Рand you will want to keep going.  And going.

Tetris Effect Dolphins in the Way
So the area is dark because it is early in the level, but you can see the dolphins starting to dance before the play area already

Until next time,

Tetris Effect

Final Thoughts

I haven’t really talked about the gameplay of Tetris, as the gameplay is pretty much a part of our culture now.

While there are some frustrating aspects to the gameplay, perseverance and practice will help you overcome – and you will want to.

Tetris Effect is more than just a game – it’s a project of beauty and love that offers more and more the deeper you go.¬† If you have only heard of Tetris, give this a go – you will thank yourself that you did.



  • ¬†It’s Tetris
  • ¬†Multiple modes to suit your mood
  • ¬†Incredibly immersive experience with VR and Headphones


  • ¬†The scenery can be distracting
  • ¬†Sudden multi-level speed increases are frustrating

Beat Saber PSVR Review

Beat Saber Feature
Beat Saber Feature
Released 2018
Developer Beat Games (formerly Hyperbolic Magnetism)
Publisher Beat Games (formerly Hyperbolic Magnetism) (Website)
Category VR Rhythm Game
Light Sabers!

Beat Saber is now ‘Official’!

A few months ago I did an early access review of Beat Saber, played on an HTC Vive setup.

On the whole, everything I said then holds up now, even on a new platform РPlayStation VR or PSVR for short.  Simple, accessible gameplay with great music and well-designed levels coupled with easily the most completely immersive physical experience in VR makes for a fantastic game.

And now the ‘full’ version is out, and first on PS4!¬† PC users don’t panic, Beat Games has confirmed an update to PC in the next few days, but with even more features like Expert+ (for all you freakishly good players out there!).¬† Expect to hear more about that when it’s released. ūüôā

What is the same

Donning the VR headset and being transported to a TRON like world with your definitely not light sabers because trademark at the ready, you feel instantly badass.

Then you do the tutorial, and the helpful voice tells you how to play. Slicing through the block, the slight feedback from the controller feels satisfying.¬† It’s what you thought cutting through an object with a plasma sword would feel like.

You may miss a cube, or mix colours up, but you finish the tutorial.  You feel amazing Рand it was only a handful of cubes.

Beat Saber Campaign Challenge Complete
It's not the tutorial, but a campaign challenge just completed. Those fireworks are so satisfying!

Then you drop into the game and start swinging to the time of an amazing soundtrack.¬† Now I am a Jazz and Blues fan primarily, I don’t like Dance or Techno as a rule, but I love the Beat Saber soundtrack.¬† It’s infectious.¬† You pick up when to swing from the timing of the beat, and you can feel from the tempo when things are about to calm down or go crazy.

The soundtrack is conveniently also up on Spotify!¬† I have made a playlist of all the ‘official’ songs, and there is a link at the end of the review if you want to have a listen.

No matter what level you play, going through a couple of songs you start to sweat a bit.¬† You aren’t controlling a fighter doing moves with a button press – you are carving up the notes.¬† You start to notice the weight of your sabers – they aren’t controllers anymore.¬† Five minutes in and you are starting to work out how to flick your wrist in time with a shoulder turn to get the saber back for a new swing.

You start to play on Normal and get new challenges like more walls and cubes coming in tighter groups.  A flurry of information flying at you, there is only one course of action Рswing.  End those cubes and watch your score soar.  The first time you finish a song with an S rank you feel unstoppable.

Beat Saber Obstacles and Challenges Increase
Walls, Ceiling Blocks to duck, Mines to avoid, and then insane levels of blocks all mix in on the higher difficulties

Penny Arcade did a strip that describes the feeling of playing vs how you look perfectly, and you can see it here.¬† People that haven’t played before may look at you strangely, and people that have played smile knowingly and cheer you on.

I cannot imagine anyone looking as awesome as they feel playing Beat Saber without the PC tech that lets you film yourself ‘inside’ the game like you see on YouTube.

This player is really quite good – but imagine how she would look just throwing her hands around in the air without the benefit of seeing what she sees in game?

But when you play – you honestly just don’t care.¬† It’s amazing, it’s satisfying, and it’s something you want to play again and again.

The Changes

So the core gameplay is the same.¬† It’s amazing and wonderful and a great time.

But that doesn’t mean that new features haven’t been added as well.

The most obvious change to start with is the Campaign Mode.¬† It’s optional, but a great way to begin playing and challenging your skills.¬† The Campaign mode is simply a series of levels that unlock as you complete them, with the ‘standard’ songs on offer but with modified gameplay enabled.

You start playing with a song on easy – probably like you would if you went straight to the ‘standard’ free play mode.¬† Experienced players will fly through it, but if you are learning it’s a good place to get a feel for the game.

Beat Saber Gameplay Modes
Choose your play mode! Freeplay is where I have spent the most time, but that will be changing

Finish the level, and you are normally presented with two options to progress.¬† You can see what is coming up before committing to the level, and so far I haven’t found an ‘easy’ or ‘hard’ option – just different challenges.

A couple of stages in, you have to start getting a minimum score that is fairly easy to obtain.¬† I’m not trying to say you should blast through the level on your first try, but if you can get to the end of the level you should hit the score.

I haven’t hit any yet, but I can imagine near the end of the campaign I am going to need minimum scores that require SS ranks to pass – the highest level in the game awarded at perfect play levels.

Then as you progress you get a maximum number of misses or bad cuts you can make.¬† These aren’t too bad for me, but again new players will have an achievable challenge laid out before them.

Beat Saber Campaign Layout
It's a kind of 'Choose your doom' feeling when you first see the campaign mode, but multiple paths and challenges let you find your own way through

The ones I am on at the moment and is presenting a challenge is Disappearing Arrows.¬† Up until now, each cube has shown an arrow with the direction to cut in.¬† This still happens, but after the cube is ‘locked’ the arrow dissolves forcing a memory aspect to kick in.

Now, this may seem¬†a little too much especially early in the game, but to me it’s also a great teaching tool.¬† Just like in chess, you want to be thinking three cubes ahead, with the pattern worked out for the one you are slicing and the next few.¬† Disappearing¬†Arrows forces this kind of thinking, and I think is an amazing way to help players improve.

These ‘modifiers’ aren’t just in the campaign either.¬† You can activate them in the Freeplay game mode to make your life easier or more interesting.¬† Depending on what you enable, you will also receive a score modifier to match.

Mastered Hard, but Expert is just that bit too much still?¬† Speed up Hard and get a score bonus, or slow down Expert and take a score hit.¬† I know I will be doing this with a few of the expert songs initially to give me that slight breather while learning the patterns – I think it’s a great idea!

Beat Saber Modifiers
Modifiers work both ways - you can make it harder if you mastered the level, or easier while you are learning it

The Tech and how Beat Games mastered it

So this is a weird one.  I have said (and maintain) PSVR is great for putting VR in an affordable price bracket Рbut this means compromises were made.

The HTC Vive and Oculus Rift have great tracking technology, and the Vive also has a wireless adaptor coming soon.¬† This is going to be the best way to play Beat Saber hands down.¬† The downside?¬† This kind of setup will set you back around $3,000 even with the ‘old’ Vive assuming you need to buy the computer as well.¬† Also, you will need a large open area to play in.

But Beat Games has tuned Beat Saber on the PSVR to work well even in ‘sub-optimal’ configurations.¬† What do I mean by that?¬† Well, it all comes down to set up.

Without going too far into it, there are some golden rules you should try and follow.¬† You should have a wide and clear area – move the coffee table full of reflective items out of the way.¬† You should also set up a VR camera about 10-15 cm’s above the players head and point the camera down slightly.¬† This will allow the camera to see your entire body and feet.¬† This means you also have to be a certain distance away from the camera as well – if you are only 45 cm from the camera, you are in trouble.

A lot of tracking issues can be traced back to camera placement, and that isn’t exactly the customer’s fault.¬† There isn’t too much detail in the PlayStation manual on any of this, other than ‘change the position and see’.¬† There is also the little issue of even putting the camera on top of a large TV, some people are still taller than this setup, leading to a cone where controllers regularly move out of.

Beat Saber PlyaStation Camera Setup Guide
PlayStation's setup guide works for games you sit and play like Moss, but not for anything you stand up and play

For various reasons, not everyone can have this optimal setup though.¬† For some, the distance they need to put the camera to maintain area and angle is too far away for the camera to pick up properly.¬† For myself certainly, if I drop my hands too far (in a normal ‘hands at side’ position’) tracking is lost completely.

Beat Games has managed to not only track within the cone relatively high speed changing movements, but instantly re-acquire ‘lost’ sabres.¬† This is the sort of care and design I wish all VR developers could put into their games, and definitely explains a lot of the wait for the PlayStation version to come out.

Most games on PSVR I am resigned to saving and restarting every hour or so because of tracking glitches.  Beat Saber has none of these problems, and I am throwing my hands around 10x more than any other VR game out there.

There will always be compromises with a single camera VR system – I’m not trying to sugar coat a problem.¬† But Beat Saber is by far the best tracking implementation of a game I have played in PSVR bar none, and extensive work has been done to minimise the impact of any technical limitations of the hardware.

So if you have a reasonable space in your living room (which most of us have, to a varying degree of reasonable) Beat Saber will work well in your play area.

Beat Saber Best PSVR Setup
Job Simulator actually has the best image I can find, but if you can see all of yourself in the 'Check Your Environment' Screen that's the goal

Those compromises I spoke of playing in PSVR?

The Move controllers are also just that little bit to… something?¬† The feeling of holding and swinging them isn’t quite as good as the Vive controllers, but way better than the Rift.¬† I also find with my right hand especially, I keep knocking the X button pausing the game mid-swing.¬† With more practice holding the controller this should get better, but I have only done it a couple of times on the Vive¬†ever.

The other issue is the PSVR headset itself.

The first PSVR unit has a cable that pretty much has to run in front of your body – you can’t turn your back to the camera to have it flow behind you.¬† This is annoying occasionally as you feel the cable hit into you, but dropping the cable behind you to come back out between your legs helps with this.¬† This is where the cable runs in the second unit, but the cable still gets in the way.

The Vive headset feels more comfortable with better weight distribution.¬† The PSVR also isn’t great for people with long hair – you need to spend the extra time pony tailing¬†up to keep everything out of the way and gripping correctly.

PSVR Comparison
The cable and headphone position may be slight, but it is a marked improvement

Each of these is a minor annoyance though and given the cost difference between PSVR and Vive very easy ones to live with.¬† Purely because of my house setup, Beat Saber is going to see significantly more play on PlayStation than Vive going forward – unless I want to play at the same time as Rabbit, then I will be sent upstairs to the desktop ūüôā

Until next time,

Beat Saber

Final Thoughts

I love Beat Saber.¬† It’s a great game that gives you a sense of immersion and total satisfaction that very few games can match.

Platform-wise, I prefer the Vive BUT I will definitely be playing it more on PSVR.  The ease of setup and room to move outweighs the technical improvements of the Vive in this instance.

Beat Saber is a huge amount of fun, and it’s not something I can show just by telling you it’s great.¬† There are VR around in major cities now, as well as a dedicated Beat Saber Arcade machine now – seriously, if you are even a little curious, hunt one down if you don’t know anyone with VR and try it.¬† But be warned – you may become hooked!



  • ¬†Who doesn’t want to swing swords at things?
  • ¬†Music and level design is incredibly appealing
  • ¬†The game is what you want it to be – change it to suit you
  • ¬†Physical Activity without going to the Gym!


  • ¬†VR is expensive. Hardware outlay (even PSVR) is an investment.
  • ¬†Needs a lot of space
  • ¬†Not a ‘group’ party game (e.g. Mario Party)

The Soundtrack link I mentioned?  You can listen to the player here or follow this link to open up the playlist in Spotify on the web.

Beat Saber PSVR is out and it’s amazing!

Beat Saber Wouldn't you just duck

Beat Saber is on PlayStation, and now I know why it took so long!

A while ago I took the plunge and bought the HTC Vive.  One of the games I was keen to get into was Beat Saber Рbasically Guitar Hero with Light Sabers.  Really, do you need more of a reason?

Now I enjoy Beat Saber, but playing in my study is fun, but hard.  I need more room than is available, and I have to hold back.  But the announcement of Beat Saber coming to PSVR was made a while ago, and we have been waiting.

And waiting.

But that wait is over, and it’s here.¬† And it’s AMAZING.

Now I can play in my lounge room where I have so much more space, without having to move my desktop or VR gear.¬† And that wait we had?¬† It’s now VERY apparent what was happening behind closed doors.

Beat Saber PAXAUS
Ahhh Beat Saber. Angel Voices Hard with no walls was great! Best overheard comment - "it's not as easy as he makes it look"

There is a full review coming on Tuesday, but that will be when the Black Friday sales are over – and there are some nice savings on the PSVR hardware.

If you are on the fence on VR at all Рlet this sway you.  The experience matches the PC version perfectly, and tracking has not been an issue for any session I have played.

Normally when I play ‘stand up’ VR games after about 40-50 minutes I start getting weird bugs where tracking just drifts off independent of what you are doing.¬† Beat Saber, with it’s far more rapid movement than any other VR game I play on PSVR, has this nailed – even on the base PS4.¬† No pro required here!

New songs, new game modes, new play modifiers – it’s all here, and it’s a great time.¬† PC owners don’t worry – all of these changes are ‘coming soon’, with the buzz this week!¬† Expert+ is on the way (for you freaks that can play like that!).

So yes, overall a glowing review will be coming Tuesday, but if you were thinking of getting yourself a treat or looking buy something for the PlayStation owner for the holidays Рdo it.  Take advantage of the sales and grab the PSVR.  There are already some really great games out there, but this is a game that is instantly fun!

Until tomorrow,


Beat Saber PSVR Finally has a release date!

Beat Saber Feature

Beat Saber Upstairs, Beat Saber Downstairs

So I have written a few times on Beat Saber and why I enjoy it so much.  This is close to the perfect VR entry game, and one of the primary reasons I bought a HTC Vive.

Well this morning on Twitter, there was some good news for people waiting for the PSVR version:

PlayStation VR is without a doubt the best selling VR hardware to date, and the fun of Beat Saber seems a natural fit.

The developers have been working on this for ages even delaying PC content to make sure the PlayStation experience is at least on par with the Vive and Occulus experiences, and at long last we finally have a shipping date – and it’s about 2 weeks away!

With the exception of Pokemon Let’s Go coming out next week, I see Rabbit downstairs playing on the PlayStation while I play upstairs on the Vive where there isn’t as much space.

So I will still have the PAX Aus memory of playing to compare the PSVR experience!

Until next time,


PSVR is turning 2! And we can get Borderlands 2 come December!

Borderlands 2

I love it when we get the presents for someone else’s¬†birthday

So I have talked about VR a few times on the site.  As a technology, it is amazing Рand it can only get better.

October 13th is PlayStation VR’s second birthday.¬† I enjoy PSVR and I can’t wait for games like Beat Saber to come to the platform, but PSVR has a similar problem to it’s bigger siblings in the Vive and Rift.

This problem is big game experiences.¬† Beat Saber is great, and I don’t mind firing up Operation Warcade and Time Carnage for a bit of fun.

Harls is thinking of finally finishing Farpoint, so I may have some more multiplayer fun with the aim controller soon.

But while these are all fun and great to play, with the exception of Resident Evil 7 there is no big gaming experience.  There are games you can play for a while, but even the amazing Moss is really just a series of isolated experiences.

Time Carnage 05
Shooting waves of incoming dinosaurs is more fun than it should be!

Something out of the blue has been announced to help remedy this though.  Available December 14th, the still fun to play loot collecting absurd shooter Borderlands 2 is coming to PSVR!

*If you feel like being completely irresponsible, have a drink every time you see Virtual or Virtually in the trailer below:

From the video, there seems to be the ‘teleport’ movement mechanic in play.¬† I am hoping I can play with just the controller, as Resident Evil 7 gave me no problems moving around like this.

With the tease of Tiny Tina, I am assuming that the VR version will include all of the DLC which will be hours of play in a very replayable experience – finally!

There is a downside though.¬† It looks like the VR version will be solo play only at this stage.¬† The idea of running around a new environment with Harls and a couple of others doesn’t look like it will be happening – at least not together.

But it’s still early days, and all of this will be confirmed prior to the release.¬† Apparently, in some countries, Borderlands 2 VR is up for preorder now. Not in Australia on Wednesday morning when I am writing this though.

This is a great step for PSVR, and as such there will be bits of news all over the place on this one.  I find it funny though, because I recently fired up XCOM 2 and Borderlands 2 to test my new 1080ti (yes 1080, not a typo) and both have had news this week.

I should fire up more old games and see what happens…

Until next time,