Review: VR Karts (PSVR)

Formats:

  • PlayStation 4
  • Oculus Rift
  • HTC Vive
  • Samsung Gear VR
  • Google Daydream

Format/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • PlayStation VR Required
  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • PS VR Aim Controller None
  • Move None
Title: VR Karts
Format: PSN (UK) (1.35 GB)
Release Date: May 11, 2017 (EU)
Publisher: Viewpoint Games
Developer: Viewpoint Games
Original MSRP: £29.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: TBD
PEGI: 3
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
Let’s start with customization. You can create your own kart and driver. That’s great, except you can only customize the colors on the kart. There are no other paint patterns, tires, or body designs to choose from. There are a few more options for the driver but not much more.

The game has a standard racing control scheme and a tilt option. The tilt controls would have been great and immersive in VR if they had worked at all. Most of the time the karts were undrivable with tilt. I did everything I could to make this work and the best I could do was go around two curves before I had to switch back.

There are four Cups, each with four maps to conquer. There is some variety in the courses as you’ll race around castles, along beaches, and inside a cave system. They’re basically just different paint jobs in the end. There isn’t enough flavor with the different themes to really make one track stand out from another.

Four races is not that long so I understand not being able to save in the middle of a race, but not being able to pause in the middle of a race or even between races is really frustrating. There’s no reason for this when you aren’t playing with others online.

There are a number of weapons you’ll use while chasing the gold medal including standard traps that will drop behind you. Meanwhile, the projectiles that you shoot are aimed by looking around with the headset. This is fun and a great use of VR. After a while though it begins to feel a little cheap.

… There isn’t enough going on …
You’re not able to fire these weapons until they have locked onto another racer. No skill is required, just fire and forget. You’re already aiming with your head, why not use this accuracy to lead someone as they go around a curve and pick them off?

Landing a hit on the kart in first place with a rocket I aimed and timed myself would make passing them much more satisfying.

Oddly, one of my favorite things in the game was using the side mirrors. It was easy to take a quick glance to the side and cut someone off as they were trying to pass me. I was able to line up a racer behind me and drop my trap instead of switching to a rear view to see who was behind me as I crashed into a wall.

Visuals:
The theme of each race is all too easy to overlook. There isn’t enough going on to make them interesting, especially when you’re is focused on the race and what’s up ahead. The framerate also stuttered pretty badly at times. A few times it was so consistently choppy it felt like I was looking at a flip book.

Audio:
The game has all the sounds one would expect from a kart racer. The idling of the karts before the race and the sound of a boost from a perfectly timed acceleration as the race light turned green were passable.

… VR Karts lacks the soul of a good karting game …
The menus have snappy sound effects and the music accompanying the racers on the track is fine. That said, I seemed to have tuned it out after taking my first corner and collected my first weapon.

Online/Multiplayer:
People should not buy this expecting a large online community. The only time I was able to find someone I still had to wait ten minutes and after two races I had to sign off. This is really unfortunate because the AI poses little challenge.

Conclusion:
Overall, VR Karts lacks the soul of a good karting game. There are no character unlocks and no upgrades for your kart. The courses are lifeless with no jumps or short cuts. If you stay off the grass there’s nothing to interfere with you on the road – no patches or something that will slow you down and nothing moving back and forth that the driver has to avoid.

There are features from great kart racing games that are missing while the features that made it into the game feel rushed and incomplete. There are so many great PS VR games that people should play. Spend your money on those instead.

Score:
5.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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