Kerser, the first official virtual reality (VR) videogame launch from IRIS VR of Technolust fame, has arrived in time to be offered alongside the consumer edition of the Gear VR. An inexpensive endless runner, Kerser goes head-to-head with the genre defining Temple Run‘s own VR incarnation. Surprisingly however, Kerser manages to relate its limited design document to VR much closer than Imangi Studios’ headline grabbing release.
Kerser is a decidedly limited experience. Despite launching on the most modern of videogame platforms, IRIS VR has instilled very old school sentimentalities into Kerser. There is no level system, no continuation after defeat and no progression system in place (though there are additional vehicles purchasable with in-game currency). It’s a simple case of travel the most distance possible without colliding with an obstacle, then repeat in the hope of beating your high score or those of the online leaderboard.
The path of your vehicle can be controlled by either bluetooth control pad or head-tilt, the latter of which offers a steeper learning curve but arguably more precision than an analog stick once the player has become accustomed. The challenge begins by simply moving out of the way before your constant trajectory plants you into a building, but soon Kerser starts throwing a multitude of different obstacles at you. Along the way the player will have the option to attempt flying through rings; blue granting currency only, green adding a speed boost and red slowing time. There’s a great risk-reward system inherited by attempting to get the rings, and then again with the potential for causing a misstep in your alignment as your speed increases/drops.
The currency earned from passing through these rings can be spent unlocking additional vehicles. While these appear only cosmetic at first, there’s certainly a degree of personal preference in which aesthetic players decide is easiest for them to handle. Only 5 vehicles are purchasable in the videogame currently, though there’s nothing to stop IRIS VR adding additional craft should Kerser prove popular enough following the Gear VR’s launch.
Kerser is a limited experience not only in terms of its gameplay, but its visual appearance also. The randomly generated buildings and obstacles which create the challenging courses are lacking in detail and the vehicles – though slightly more impressive – are hardly up to the standard of design seen in IRIS VR’s other VR works. However, these limitations are reflected in Kerser‘s price. The videogame, available alongside the consumer launch of the Gear VR hardware, is priced at just £1.99 GBP.
Both reductive and progressive in different aspects, Kerser lacks ambition but proves to be an enjoyably challenging videogame nonetheless. Many consider Temple Run VR to have already demonstrated what endless runner experiences in VR will become, yet control and framerate issues still plague Imangi Studios’ first foray into the new medium. No such issues exist in Kerser, and so while it may be a lightweight affair, it is currently the best the genre has to offer on Gear VR.