Sports Bar VR – Review

Update: Version 1.4 

In the most recent update Sports Bar VR received three additional games – Chess, Checkers, and Shuffleboard

Shuffleboard is good fun. You can twist the Move controller upside down and throw the ball like a basketball to try and get it in the hoop with the highest score. Mechanically, this works best of the three games by far and is a great addition to Sports Bar VR with several challenges attached to it. Shuffleboard really bolsters the package in a positive way.

Chess and Checkers, on the other hand, just don’t work at all. This is a real shame as there’s a lot of potential there, but it’s extremely difficult to pick up the piece you want, let alone place it where you need. There also doesn’t seem to be a clear way to play either game online or against an AI opponent, which completely defeats the purpose of either of them. While you can pass a pad between you and a couch buddy, only one of you is going to get the full effect. That, and it’s a little bit boring on your own.

So, it’s a mixed bag of an update. Hopefully future updates will expand the possibilities of chess and checkers and make them easier to control. Fortunately, Shuffleboard is such good fun that you can almost forgive everything else.


Version Reviewed 1.1

Grab a bottle of beer, and wear a foam hand while walking around with a pirates’ hat on your head. Modern bar life in a nutshell according to this PSVR launch title.

Cherry Pop Games and Perilous Orbit have taken a different route from spaceship shooters and deep sea diving to bring us pool tables and air hockey. Smart strategy perhaps, but introducing games like this to the hardware also comes with its own set of risks. It’s never going to achieve the same level of immersion as the real thing – same with anything – but walking into a bar and picking up a cue is a lot more achievable for most people than piloting an aircraft or taking part in a bank heist.

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And sadly, it doesn’t quite match up to the real thing with the game’s overcomplications with player height, play space and sensitivity. While the game does give you the option to sit down, it also much prefers if you’re stood up. and the absolutely awful HULK Mode which seems designed to make you throw up rather than bring you closer to the action.

Now onto the good news, this is still a great game of pool and air hockey. Smacking the puck up and down the table and competing with AI and human opponents is both pleasurable and therapeutic. Being able to see the full length and depth of the table while using Move to freely deflect any incoming attempts, hearing the satisfying clinks in your ears, is as close to the real thing as possible.

Pool’s pretty great too. Walking around the table would obviously be overly nauseating and unnecessarily clunky. Fortunately, you can teleport around at the click of a button in order to line up the perfect shots. Sometimes Move doesn’t track exactly, but using one controller in your left hand to lock down the shot and using the right to nudge the cue forward is simple and effective. It also plays out surprisingly well and you can even achieve a decent level of accuracy and feel in control. Arguably more than in many other motion control titles. Simply use Move when positioned behind the white ball and you’ll see a circular outline appear around other balls on the table to show you where your shot will end up. This is easily the selling point of this entire package. Especially when you’re wagging tongues across the table with someone from the other side of the world in a relaxed social environment. That’s pretty cool.

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Darts is the other addition to the base package where you can summon darts at will while wandering around the bar, then line up with any of the boards for a score attack mode. The darts protrude from the top of the left Move controller – or Right depending on which is your dominant hand – and you throw the dart with the other controller. By holding the back button of the non-throwing controller you line up for precise aim, then rear back with the other controller and throw forward. Again, this works surprisingly well, and you can, of course, play 501 or 301.

All of these games work online or against an AI opponent, and you can earn XP, bonuses, and customisable items while playing. It gives reasons to keep playing with you able to change the look of your player, as well as building up your level to 100 where you can be considered a sports bar master. Or something.

The problem is that the AI opponents are overly proficient at the game and with the controller input issues, this immediately puts you on the back foot. Likewise, the online pool of players is still fairly limited even though the game has been out for a few weeks. And sadly, when you do get a game there are some issues with regular disconnects.

Fortunately, it is a fun social environment to be part of. You can goof off by throwing beach balls at each other, pretend chugging beer and attempt to look like the most bizarre floating Playstation VR Helmet on the Network. It’s exactly the type of game PSVR needs to offset the most serious titles in the launch lineup and the experiments that show what the hardware can do.

Technical issues aside, Sports Bar VR is solid interactive fun with quirky elements that help it stay fresh and authentic at the same time.

Pros
+ Decent games of pool, shuffleboard, and air hockey
+ Substantial amount of customisable options offer longevity
+ Recreates social spirit and atmosphere very well 

Cons
– HULK mode is awful and doesn’t even really control accurately.
– AI overly proficient which doesn’t suit the technical issues
– Control issues make it difficult to be in total control of every game

 

Sports Bar VR

7.5 out of 10

(Based on Update 1.4)

Platform review on :- PSVR

About the author

Ray Willmott

Ray is the founder and editor of Expansive. He is also a former Community Manager for Steel Media, and has written for a variety of gaming websites over the years. His work can be seen on Pocket Gamer, PG.biz, Gfinity, and the Red Bull Gaming Column. He has also written for VG247, Videogamer, GamesTM, PLAY, and MyM Magazine,

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