Mini-game compilations can be a great way of combining multiple gameplay genres into one neat little package. Titles like Sports Bar VR and Loco Dojo showcase some of the best ways to bring together common, well known past times or slightly more weird and wonderful ideas respectively. The latest title to enter this arena is Summer Funland by newly formed indie studio Monad Rock, mixing together many elements to create a pleasant – just not outstanding – experience.
Summer Funland is best described as one of those entry level virtual reality (VR) videogames. There’s something for everyone yet long term VR enthusiasts will likely only get two or three hours use out of it before they yearn for something with more depth. But that’s not to say Summer Funland is a bad VR experience, in fact what it does right is done very well, there’s just this overall feeling that Monad Rock has played things fairly safe for its first title.
Set in a rich and vibrant amusement park, Summer Funland has 12 rides/attractions to keep you entertained and it’s certainly in keeping with the theme. You enter the park and in front is a map showing you all the activities. They can either be selected from the map or using a teleport function you can explore the park, finding the rides as you go. The studio also encourage this with a little treasure hunt, with various cuddly items hidden around.
The mini-games themselves are standard fare, with a Wild West shooting gallery, a whack’a’mole style game involving penguins and mallets, or a wall version where you just use your fists. While enjoyable for a couple of go’s you soon want to move on. While the games – much like a real theme park – are a side distraction, it’s the big rides that impress. There’s a rollercoaster that loops and twists around the entire park, giving some great views of the landscape before plunging down through caverns or under jumping dolphins.
Then there’s Gotham, plonking you on Batman’s bike as it races through city streets and down train lines, dodging cars and locomotives galore. An exhilarating experience, like any good ride its over before you know it. One of the longest is the Underwater Journey. Placing you in a submersible you head down into the depths, as it gets deeper all sorts of creatures appear as well as an ancient long lost civilisation, with crumbling ruins and giant statues falling around you. It’s these moments that show how well-crafted Summer Funland is, with beautiful attention to detail that enables you to relax and enjoy the ride.
For gamers the issue remains about replay, and how many times you want to sit on the same ride, or whack the same penguins. No matter how good it looks, Summer Funland won’t quite have that same draw as more focused titles. Summer Funland may not light the VR world on fire but it provides an enjoyable – if somewhat short – piece of entertainment. If you’ve got kids or want an all-in-one experience to show VR virgins then Summer Funland is an ideal starting point.