Air Hockey makes a lot of sense in virtual reality (VR) simply because it’s not something you’re likely to play all that often. You might own a table if you’re the wealthy, seemingly time-rich occupant of the home that Air Hockey VR is set in, but otherwise this is a sport that’s usually reserved for waiting for bowling alleys to free up. Thanks to this new release from Trioxin245 Software, though, you’re now able to play pretty much whenever you want.
Air Hockey VR is set in a bright, breezy mountain side apartment that’s largely occupied by the massive table. That said, the developer has made an effort to make this a pleasant place to play; a modern living room sits off to the left side, with a TV slyly showcasing adverts, while a kitchen area rests to the left. It’s a perfectly convincing VR scene, and it’s quite easy to forget where you’re standing in the real world as you take on your opponent.
For many, Air Hockey VR will be controlled with head-tracking. When starting up a match, your head movements will be mapped to your mallet, with it following wherever you look. Gamepad support is included for those that desire a bit more control but, on the whole, the head-tracking does a decent job of replicating the frantic nature of the sport, which is often hard to keep up with. There are some kinks to it, though, as you can overshoot when throwing your head in one direction, causing you to quickly correct your stance, but it’s a moment’s issue at worst.
A major fault with Air Hockey VR, however, is its complete lack of any sort of multiplayer. Instead of linking up with friends online or locally to relax together – something that’s already possible in several other apps – here your only option is to compete with one of three difficulty levels of AI. It’s a serious dent to the title’s longevity, especially considering there isn’t any kind of progression to be had here. You’ll have seen all Air Hockey VR has to offer in 30 seconds, and there’s little reason to return unless you really take to playing against a computer. At least the AI puts up a fight even on the easiest of difficulty settings.
It’s a shame, because elsewhere Air Hockey VR is well made and perfectly likeable. There’s even an ability to switch camera positions, allowing you to find a height and distance from the table that works for you. But with so little on offer here in terms of content, it’s difficult to recommend this as your next purchase for Gear VR.