The only thing more aggravating than not being able to play a game, is watching someone else play. Sometimes I wonder if this feeling of resentment is magnified when it comes to VR. Knowing that the player is in another world, and you’re stuck there watching them flail about like an idiot. Well, Podium Bash lets you fire cannonballs at that very same flailing idiot.
That’s right, you and up to three others can do your best to shoot that HMD hogging friend off a podium. Where does he land? How about some shark infested waters! Now, it wouldn’t be as fun if the VR player didn’t stand a chance. So, they do get the ability to dodge, block, and bat away the attacks. Let’s take a look at Feisty Crab Studio’s, Podium Bash.
At its core, Podium Bash is a party game. Yes, you can play solo with up to four AI, but it will get a little stale quickly without friends ribbing each other. The player using the HMD will find themselves on a fairly small podium high above some water. On one side, a cheering crowd. On the other side is a wall with four tracks, one above the other, complete with sliding cannons.
As the HMD player, your goal is to stay on the podium as long as possible as your friends try to shoot you off. Luckily, you have a shield and sword to help bat away the oncoming fire. Against the AI, this is pretty easy. In-fact, one of the flaws of this game is that you can just crouch down and hold the shield above your head. This seems to stump the AI, while it apparently prompts a friend in your room to kick you in the ass until you stand back up.
All the non-HMD players man the cannons. They can move around the tracks from right to left or go up and down to higher or lower tracks. They will have a swing meter that shows the force of the ball you will shoot. Shoot when it’s in the red for maximum firepower! They will need to aim and have a good angle on the target to knock them down. But, get enough players shooting at the same time from different angles and watch your target squirm.
Podium Bash is in its early access stage and feels pretty basic right now. It is definitely a party game that should be played with friends for some laughs. The graphics are basically children’s artwork, complete with cardboard cutout scenery. This fits the fun vibe of the game but overall the animations are underwhelming. Especially the HMD player’s death. I want to see those sharks rip him apart!
The sound is simple but it works. You will always know when a cannon has been fired. Eventually, it would be nice to have a bit more diversity in the sounds as they do get repetitive. I am mainly talking about the crowds endless cheering loop, it’s horrible.
Both the HMD and cannon players have access to a good number of different weapons. The cannon folk can fire beehives and other random things instead of cannonballs. The HMD player can choose from a wide range of shields and swords. You can even use a giant foam finger, which is fun for taunting other players.
After the Fall
I really liked that I could have some friends join in on this one. The game supports up to four controllers or the keyboard can be used as well. It would be nice to have online gameplay but this game is made to be played with local players. It is just too easy to cheat without a constant fear of getting blindsided by a bud.
Podium Bash needs a some more refinement with some minor things, like the death of the player for instance. A little something would go a long way here for being able to make fun of your fallen friend being eaten by a shark. The developers have teased at another gameplay mode that has multiple players firing at targets. This being a party game, it will only add to the value to have a few more options to keep the party going.
Right now, Podium Bash is available for both the Rift and Vive on Steam. The early access price is $5.99 and, to me, that is a reasonable price. If you have friends that like to come over and check out your HMD, this is just another fun title to keep everyone involved while they wait for their turn to be the flailing idiot we all long to be.