Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) has gone to great lengths to ensure that the launch of PlayStation VR defeats many of the naysayers, no less than in the realms of social experiences. Keen to ensure that virtual reality (VR) can be enjoyed by families and friends as well as the core videogame demographic, every early adopter of the head-mounted display (HMD) will receive multiplayer-centric Playroom VR for free. Bargain, right?
There’s also PlayStation VR Worlds to consider. While it may not be a ‘party game’ per se, the implementation of SIE’s social screen initiative – wherein one player uses the HMD while another assists through a separate view on the television or mobile device – proposes some very interesting potential gameplay mechanics. It’s inherently limited by design at present, though much like VR as a medium is destined to evolve in years to come.
In the meantime, having friends and family round for a spate of couch multiplayer is important for expanding the potential audience of not just PlayStation VR, but the medium as a whole, and the below titles are your best bet for doing just that on day one.
Playroom VR – Sony Interactive Entertainment
As stated above, Playroom VR will be a free download for all PlayStation VR early adopters. So that’s an easy decision. But what exactly will you be doing with this software? Well, in true couch multiplayer style, there’s a selection of mini-games included that have players working both with and against the player wearing the PlayStation VR HMD. Monster Escape places the solo HMD wearing in the position of chasing down one-to-four players sharing the television screen and using DualShock 4 controllers to evade the large green beast towering down upon them, whereas Ghost House has the players working co-operatively to hunt supernatural beings in a cartoon haunted house. Playroom VR is a fantastic way of demonstrating this new technology without the fear of the many complicated implications of VR.
Carnival Games VR – 2K Games
One of the biggest selling franchises on the hugely successful Nintendo Wii console is coming to PlayStation VR. This should divide audiences into two camps immediately: those open to casual videogames and those who refuse to accept them. Those in the latter camp are best just ignoring its existence, but those looking for a videogame to play with their mother or father, son or daughter, or partner or friend unacquainted with videogames could do far worse. Carnival Games VR promises a palatable experience with extremely low barriers for entry.
Ace Banana – Oasis Games
Not exactly the most high profile launch title for the PlayStation VR, Ace Banana tasks the players with defending a pile of bananas from evil invader monkeys. To do this, you’ll have to put your archery skills to the test using PlayStation Move controllers. What makes Ace Banana stand out as a party videogame is that the levels are keenly designed to increase in difficulty from short bursts to longer endurance tests, and that the entire videogame can be played co-operatively.