Title: Arca’s Path VR
Platform: PC, PlayStation 4 (Reviewed)
Developer: Dream Reality Interactive
Publisher: Rebellion Developments
Release date: Out now
tl;dr: Imagine Super Monkey Ball in VR.
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I’ve recently picked up a PlayStation VR and something I’ve noticed is that it’s filled to the brim with shooters and a few rare gems scattered in between like Moss or the recent Astro Bot Rescue Mission. So, getting Arca’s Path VR for review was breath of fresh air from all the shooters and I was pleasantly surprised how much fun this game, with its beautiful art, the controller-less gameplay and the 70’s sci-fi vibes.
The story for Arca’s Path VR is very vague as it lacks dialogue, it’s presented in triangular comic book panels which display the gorgeous art style for the game with its unique characters and vibrant colours. Anyway, the story follows a young girl who finds a VR helmet in amongst a bunch of trash on a dystopian planet, she puts the helmet on which forces her into a ball where she must finish each level… So, I guess we’re actually the girl who puts the helmet on. A more focused story would’ve been a nice touch, but it doesn’t take too much away from the gameplay.
Arca’s Path VR reminds me of the Gamecube days playing Super Monkey Ball and getting super frustrated as I couldn’t quite master the courses without falling to my death over and over again only to be frustrated seeing people just blitz courses that haunted my nightmares… Arca’s Path is like Monkey Ball but with a different control scheme, let me elaborate.
As I mentioned earlier, the game isn’t controlled the conventional way with the DualShock 4 but rather using the helmet itself that controls a cursor on the screen and it does take some getting used to. You have to learn how far each of your head movements moves the ball, as too heavy a touch will have you sending the ball flying if you move the cursor too far in front of the ball, I experienced far too many falls off the course from moving the cursor violently around the screen… Most of my deaths were caused by trying to pick up one of the several crystals scattered about each level.
Outside of the main campaign, each level has its own individual time trial mode which is unlocked by collecting the crystals in said stage. With either gold, silver or bronze medals up for grabs it does provide a wealth of challenge but unfortunately, the game has no online leaderboards which means you have no one to compete with once you’ve earned that gold medal which is a bit lacklustre for some.
One of the coolest things about Arca’s Path VR is how the game is presented, it has an intentional texture and model pop in feature as you move about the levels. Allow me to explain if you don’t know what I mean, think about some massive open world games like Breath of the Wild for example, you’ll be riding on your horse and all of a sudden a tree will pop into view that wasn’t there a second ago, on the Switch this is for resource management as a game as large as BotW is heavy on the hardware.
Whilst in Arca’s Path this is a design choice and it’s a pretty nice touch as we are viewing this from a VR helmet (VR-ception), so think of this as Arca’s helmet using this form of resource management. It allows you to focus on the things directly in front of you, instead of those in the distance. The only things that do render before the map is the skybox and the crystals which is helpful as during parts where you are rolling down a hill you need the time to position yourself to snag that crystal.
Overall, Arca’s Path VR is a must have for VR owners and it’s not just limited to the PlayStation VR as it’s available for Vive, Oculus and the other big named VRs out there. It’s pretty cheap too and gives you hours of fun with the campaign clocking in around four hours and then grabbing all the crystals to unlock the individual time trials. Add to that the challenge of learning the levels for those before going for those gold medals and you could easily get a week’s worth of fun out the game. Plus, you don’t even need a controller, you only need your head and the VR so you could be eating yourself silly with Christmas snacks whilst exploring a beautiful scape of puzzles.
- Gorgeous visuals from art style to level design.
- Inovative controls that literally makes you use your head.
- Awesome glitchy techno soundtrack.
- Some levels can feel a little repetitive.
- Some harsh difficulty spikes.
- No online leaderboard for time trials.
Arca’s Path VR is rated T for Teen by the ESRB and PEGI 12 due to fantasy violence.
Disclaimer: This review is based on a review code provided by PR for the purposes of this review.