Preview: Playroom VR Monster Escape on PlayStation VR
Playroom VR‘s Monster Escape, was the first mini-game revealed from the title which is set to become known as the PlayStation VR’s Eye-Toy: Play or Wii Sports: a compilation title designed to allow players of all ages become familiar with the new technology. It’s a family-orientated experience that will likely only be wheeled out at parties, but there’s no denying that Monster Escape, Ghost House and Cat n’ Mouse are all fun experiences, regardless of how limited their appeal might become.
Monster Escape is most definitely the simplest of all 3 mini-games revealed from Playroom VR thus far, and as such it’s likely to have the shortest lifespan. For while it lasts however, it will surely be considered fun in the same way as the aforementioned comparative titles. Up to 5 players can come together in a 4 versus 1 scenario, where the 1 is that wearing the PlayStation VR head-mounted display (HMD).
This first player has 2 challenges. To begin with, while chasing the cutesy robotic on-screen avatars of their adversaries, the player must tilt their head left and right to demolish buildings which will then launch debris onto the road ahead of the players. During VRFocus‘ time with Monster Escape it wasn’t exactly obvious as to how this is of benefit to the player, though the suggestion is that it would slow down the other players and potential cause them to be trampled by you, and thus out of the second section of the mini-game.
This second section is that which has been seen most commonly in Sony Japan Studios’ promotional materials. The PlayStation VR wearing player has to move left and right, forward and back in order to avoid objects being thrown at them by the other players. As this continues, the ground beneath the now aggressor team begins to fall away, giving them less space to manoeuvre around the PlayStation VR player can catch him or her off guard, but also less room for new objects to appear in, meaning they will come flying towards the soloist at a much more frequent rate.
The players not using the PlayStation VR will all share a single television screen. Split-screen is not necessary as the level has been designed to comfortably fit all players in a small space, akin to some of the more popular Super Monkey Ball 2 multiplayer mini-games. Just as with the PlayStation VR player, the controls are kept simple: left analog stick to move, a face button to pick up and object and another to jump.
Monster Escape is a wonderful example of the potential social videogame applications of PlayStation VR – and virtual reality (VR) as a whole – as well as a great educator for families and friends. However, it’s hard to see this one aspect of Playroom VR having greater longevity than any single mini-game on the many akin titles that have launched alongside motion-control hardware in the past. Monster Escape is most certainly fun, but ultimately a very shallow experience.