Developed by: Perilous Orbit Published by: Cherry Pop Reviewed on PlayStation 4
Sony’s PlayStation VR platform launched with over 25 game, an impressive amount of content to play right out the gate. It’s now close to a month since PlayStation VR’s release and there are still launch titles to discover. One title that stands out in the strong launch line up is Cherry Pop game SportsBar VR. Ever had that feeling of wanting to go out, be sociable, and just hang out but don’t actually want to leave your house? Well Cherry Pop has decided to bring the bar experience to you in the comfort of your living room.
This was originally an HTC Vive game called Pool Nation VR before it was ported to the PlayStation VR and renamed SportsBar VR. As with most VR experiences, SportsBar VR uses a fully immersive first person view that make you feel like you’re in a bar with people standing around, engaged in conversations, and surrounded with everything that you would normally expect to see in a sports bar. Once you’re in the bar, three menus options appear: online multiplayer, AI matches, or free play. Everything is really self-explanatory and straightforward since it’s a port of a pool game. The AI matches are the main focus with many difficulty settings ranging varying degrees of easy, medium, and hard.
When you’ve got your fill of pool, there are other games discover and have fun with. With the most recent update there are a total of 7 other bar games to play altogether. This includes darts, skee ball, chess, checkers, shuffleboard, and air hockey. Each game is fun, easy to pick up, and play using the PlayStation Move controllers. Each one handles well and has pretty accurate controls ranging from lining up a pool shot to controlling the Air Hockey paddle. The one that felt the most off and inaccurate is darts. Throwing a dart with the Move controller just never felt as good as the other games; every time I threw a dart it would steer off to the left and never hit the dartboard. There were a few time I did hit the dartboard but not to the point where I was actually aiming for the targeted number I was trying to hit.
With pool as the main focus, SportsBar VR falls a bit short since there’s not a whole lot to keep you coming back for more. Single player is limited to playing against the AI at pool on various difficulty levels. Going online changes the whole vibe of the game and that’s where the game shines the most. A person could easily spend hours with five other people enjoying the bar games, chatting via mic or just causing complete chaos within the bar. Every time I’ve gone online each experience has been different from one another. With it being more of a hangout experience, you can easily make new online friends. Laying around the bar are fun toys to mess around including a pong ping gun shooter to beach balls, footballs, ping pong paddles, big number one foam fingers, and more. You can even spawn a bottle instantly, pick up the jukebox or lift up ice buckets from the bar. The one major problem I find in playing online are the bar games: the physics just go right out the window and you lose the fluid motions of a thrown rolling ball or hitting a moving puck. It’s very frustrating especially when you never know where the ball or puck will truly end up. If they could correct that in a update, the games would be that much more intense instead of feeling broken. Some online game session will fare better than others and can still feel enjoyable at best, but overall it still needs work.
As part of the PSVR launch line up, SportsBar VR stands out because it’s what you would expect a sport bar experience to look and feel like. It’s the details that make it, down to the variety of pool tables to the crowd, the noise, the music, and beer bottles. The actual VR games themselves need a lot of work, however. I’ll give it the benefit of doubt for being a launch title game. Cherry Pop is currently releasing updates and hopefully with more to come. If you own a PlayStation VR, I would recommend giving SportsBar VR a try since it’s a great concept executed well and is fun with all the craziness that goes on when online.