Review: Pixel Ripped 1995 (PSVR)

Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4
  • HTC Vive
  • Oculus

Platform/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • 4K HDR

Extras:

  • PlayStation VR Required
  • PS VR Aim Controller None
  • Move None
Title: Pixel Ripped 1995
Format: PSN (1.58 GB)
Release Date: May 12, 2020
Publisher: Arvore Immersive Experiences, LLC
Developer: Arvore Immersive Experiences, LLC
Original MSRP: $19.99 (USD)
ESRB Rating: E
A code for the game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
Albeit not widely accepted yet, virtual reality presents a new frontier in game development. That’s not to say that innovation is lacking in our traditional 2D expression. But a lot of new experiments are being made in virtual reality that simply are not possible on a television screen.

Pixel Ripped 1995 is one such experiment, and, like its predecessor, Pixel Ripped 1989, it is a charming nostalgia trip that truly can only be experienced in VR. I was calling it the “Inception of gaming” and I discovered that I wasn’t the only one calling it this. Because, in essence, Pixel Ripped has you playing a game about playing a game. But, it’s not simply the act of sitting in a living room playing on a virtual television.

The innovative component of Ripped comes in that middle gaming session: the first layer of the gameplay inception. You are playing a character who is still too young to game for hours without your parents taking note. So an example of a game within a game (within a game really), is you playing a Castlevania-type game in the middle of the night, during a rain storm.

Your mom doesn’t want you to stay up playing, so you have to make sure your in-game character doesn’t make loud noises (by avoiding hitting large bells, for example). If you step on a creaky floor within the game, you have to hurriedly power off the TV with your remote control, so your mom believes you’re asleep. Why your avatar wouldn’t just play with the volume down is beyond me, but maybe he really loves the game music.

It was intriguing to basically play a “stealth” game in the first layer of the game (with your parents), so you could continue playing a platforming game in the second layer of the game.

It’s those unique gameplay styles that make Pixel Ripped 1995 a charm to experience. And, the first layer gameplay is filled with so many touches of authenticity, such as game cartridges and cases across your room, and meta game posters decorating your wall.

There are also some really awesome VR play mechanics, such as the ability to fly a Star Fox-type ship with your hands (like you used to play fly with your toys as a kid). I’m absolutely sure that I had a smile on my face every time a new game mode started.

Pixel Ripped 1995 is not a long game by any stretch. Between 2-3 hours, with some fun replayability and challenges. But I feel the price matches the experience and quality (not to mention love) put into this little game.

Visuals:
Here is that Inception comparison again. Layer one of the game utilizes some styled 3D models to represent your home, and other locations, as well as the NPCs. Additionally, the meta world (the gaming world within the cartridge itself) is also represented in 3D.

The visuals here are highly polished and oozing with style. The developers kept the theme simple and cartoon like, but that doesn’t stop the game from looking great. In fact, the style allows clarity in the presentation, while still evoking those nostalgic feelings.

Layer two is the game within the game. It’s here that the games resemble games from the 90s, and for the most part, they absolutely do them justice. Having just come out of playing Streets of Rage 4, I did find that the characters in the in-game brawler lacked some frames of animation, but the presentation truly looked like a love letter to those brawlers from the 90s

Audio:
Styled with the same aesthetic as the visuals, Pixel Ripped 1995 has some fantastic voice work. Honestly, the only thing that became a little redundant was the script itself, particularly when my parents kept repeating the same lines as I was playing my virtual game, but hey, my parents used to do that when I was a kid anyway.

The sound design within the layer-two games was also authentic and appropriate for the 90s, with some familiar chip tunes that were just maturing into that 16-bit era.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is single-player only and features no online component.

Conclusion:
There’s no denying the charm that is Pixel Ripped 1995. It represents another unique approach to virtual reality development and gaming. It’s not a long game, but you’d be hard pressed not to smile when you’re competing against other kids in the local arcade while am evil goblin warlord is controlling the other players and trying to distract you from being the town’s best gamer. It’s a win within a win, within a win.

Score:

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

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