Most Fun Workout Since DDR
Game Title: Sprint Vector
Developer: Survios (Review code provided courtesy of them)
Platform: Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, PSVR (PC Steam version reviewed using Oculus Rift)
Price: $29.99 (PS4 Version Link)
What is it?
Sprint Vector is a physically-engaging platformer racing game designed from the ground up for VR. The core gameplay involves up to eight total players racing on foot on a variety of themed courses. Using actual physical motions to accelerate characters and perform various actions is required to get through these courses. The ultimate goal is of course to reach the finish line before everyone else and to assist you in that there are also Mario Kart style power-ups that can be picked up on the track and launched from your hands. These power-ups are completely optional and for those looking for a more purely skill-based experience can opt to turn them off.
The game includes 12 total courses for racing, but also an additional nine challenge courses which are meant for solo players to tackle and compete on the leaderboards. Each of these challenge courses also has three different modes, meaning there are actually 27 total challenges available. Players can earn stars by clearing both regular courses solo and the challenges depending on their performance. Stars can then be used to unlock extra character recolor skins.
There are eight different playable characters, each with their own unique appearance and skin options. Characters seemed to be a purely cosmetic choice, with actual racing statistics being fully up to the player’s own skill and physical ability.
While basic movement requires a combination of a button press and arm swinging, there are a lot more advanced maneuvers that give the game a larger skill gap. This includes climbing and flinging yourself, jumping, drifting, and even flying. The game does include a few helpful tutorials to teach you how to pull off each of these before heading into an actual race.
What Did I Think?
- Immersive and fast movement that didn’t give me any motion sickness. This is probably thanks to how physically active you have to be to achieve movement so it feels more like you are actually running and flying around.
- I loved that there was so much more to it than just basic running motions. Making use of these different actions on the fly and improvising at high speeds is a blast and makes me want to keep getting better at the game.
- A variety of themed tracks plus addition challenge mode ones.
- Added optional power-ups give races a Mario Kart vibe and makes it feel like you are never completely out of the race.
- Future content is planned for those desiring more.
- Skatepark lobby hub is a great place to practice, socialize with others players, and just have fun in general.
- Visual feedback is displayed based on your speed so you know if you need to making larger or faster arm swings to reach maximum speed.
- Various comfort and tracking settings are available to help prevent motion sickness for those more vulnerable and to keep you in an ideal play location.
- Some sort of career mode would have been a nice touch for some extra solo content to progress through and learn more about the playable characters, multiplayer is where it is at though so not a huge deal.
- I’m a big fan of unlockables so more of those would have been nice. Currently it’s mostly limited to unlocking character skin recolors in whatever order you desire using a star currency that is earned by completing solo races and challenges. It would have been nice if multiplayer had its own currency too to earn to unlock extra cosmetic content since that would considerably boost replay value for some.
- No cross-play with PSVR version is a bummer since that would help give the community a boost.
- All of the different maneuvers I learned felt natural and great to use after a playing for a little while.
- Rumble helps give some helpful and immersive tactile feedback while playing.
- Manual control stick camera rotation helps with re-centering the camera where you want it.
- The game provides a helpful play area square on the ground to remind where you should be standing and what direction is facing forward.
- Initially it may seem a bit daunting trying to remember each maneuver and master them, but this is a game that is clearly about building skill so in time if you give it the chance you’ll become a pro.
- It is ideal to have a larger play area due to how much you’ll be swinging your arms and turning around.
- Great art direction in both character and track designs that makes use of plenty of color.
- In-game settings to tweak to help find ideal balance of performance and visual fidelity.
- Great performance both solo and online on my system which is pretty entry level to mid-range for VR.
- Tutorial levels might be a bit taxing for some depending on your machine as I did get some framerate drops and jitteryness, probably due to the videos that play on screens. Don’t let this discourage you immediately if you experience this as well and what and see how it performance during regular gameplay.
- A fun, upbeat electronic soundtrack that fits the action and pace of the gameplay. Some tracks had just the right amount of chill too where I would find myself skating around the skatepark too it for a bit become lost in it.
- Solid sound effects that further immerse you into your virtual physical actions.
Verdict: Highly Recommended
Numerical Score: 9.0
Sprint Vector is one of the few VR games out there today that really makes full use of the hardware and its immersive potential. In an ocean full of VR shooters and slash em’ up, Sprint Vector is breath of fresh air in that it really makes full use of your body and hands rather than opting for the same old simple control movements. The physical skill gap almost makes it feel like you are learning a new real life sport too which is an awesome thing to say about what in reality is a video game. This is the kind of game I’d like to see packaged with every VR headset as it definitely has that VR killer app potential like we’ve seen with a small handful of other polished and fun titles that have arrived over the past couple of years.
As a player you may feel a desire for a bit more content, but this is confirmed to be on the way in future updates adding both tracks and characters. Outside of those I hope to see more cosmetic unlockables added to give players more personalization when playing with others online. My current thoughts are player trails, player icons, hats, unique glove gun projectiles, taunts, voice lines, and perhaps some more unique non-recolor skins that are rare or challenging to earn in some way.
I look forward to seeing the future of this game as it would be awesome to see it become a mainstream success sitting alongside other non-VR games like Rocket League. Not only is it an amusing and immersive experience, but it gives a excellent workout too so you never can feel too bad about going for just one more race.
Is this something that is going to sell VR hardware to thousands of people? Maybe not yet since the hardware itself has more steps to take even if the software library is becoming great thanks to titles like this. However, for those that already are VR-Ready and capable this is an easy buy.