Many writers have written about the concept of ‘flow’ in gameplay, sometimes also called ‘getting into the Zone’. It can be a bit of a nebulous concept, but people who have spent enough time playing Guitar Hero or Rock Band – or even playing a real instrument – will know that feeling when you feel like you are moving without conscious direction.
Beat Saber is a virtual reality (VR) rhythm title which excels in creating that feeling of flow as the music guides you through slicing and dicing the blocks that speed towards you.
Armed with a lightsaber in each hand you can feel like a Jedi (or a Sith) as you move the motion controllers in the specified direction to cut the blocks that represent the beat of the music. Doing it right rewards you with a satisfying visual and musical accompaniment that beautifully match the music.
Cutting the blocks in the right rhythm is not the only thing that players need to watch out for. There are also solid walls that zoom towards you that must be dodged using a sidestep or by ducking, but the music doesn’t stop playing, so timing becomes crucial as you balance dodging and slashing.
Once you get into the rhythm of it, it can start to feel like an elaborate dance, or a martial arts kata that can generate a feeling of being a supreme master of rhythm and sword. A bit of a shame that there are only a few tracks to play through in this Early Access version, but more should be on the way as the title moves towards the full release.
There are several difficulty levels available to test your skills against, and you can get a surprisingly good workout as you strive towards a perfect score.
The full gameplay video is available to view below, and Beat Saber is available to buy from Steam Early Access, priced at £15.49 (GBP). VRFocus will bring you further news on Beat Saber as it becomes available.