There’s a certain fascination that game shows inspire in its watchers. I’m not sure whether it’s because it’s so much fun to watch people make fools of themselves on television, or whether the idea of entering one of these game shows is super enticing. Well, at least now you’ll get to know what the latter feels like with The Incredible VR Game Show. You might not have an actual audience to watch you compete (unless you duct tape some “friends” to your couches), nor are there any real prizes at stake, but it can be a thrilling experience nonetheless.
The Incredible VR Game Show from Tantawowa is available on Steam for Oculus Rift and HTC Vive at a $9.99 price tag. I got to enter as a contestant in the 10 mini-games it offers along with three other contestants and took turns playing 3, 5 or 7 random mini-games. Just kidding, I played it alone. But the game does offer a local co-op mode for up to four players.
While the 10 mini-games aren’t exactly a lot and you’ll get through them fairly quickly whether playing alone or in a group – they are all very different from each other, meaning you get a diversified experience at least. The game randomly picks which mini-games you’re going to take part in, in sets of three and two – at the end of which points are tallied up and a winner is announced to the stiff and mostly silent audience.
Check out my gameplay video:
The colorful low-poly environments do add a level of cheer to the silly antics that The Incredible VR Game Show made me take part in, which helped to counter some of my frustration at wanting to get a good score and failing at it. A sentiment which will probably carry over to a local co-op with friends or to online multiplayer if it gets added eventually. Though for now, if you don’t have any friends to play with, The Incredible VR Game Show can become a lonely and somewhat boring experience because the mini-games do not hold enough excitement on their own to warrant more than one or two playthroughs alone. The mini-games are also incredibly short so you’ll speed through them relatively quickly.
Some of the mini-games in The Incredible VR Game Show also need some polish because there are full-length VR games out there with similar concepts that do it much better. For instance, the bow and arrow game is more frustrating than fun, with a poorly designed arrow notch mechanic and a lot left to be desired in the way of aiming. Another mini-game that feels disappointingly roughly put together (and severely strange) consists of you having to accompany a stuffed bear across a stretch of road. Well, maybe stretch isn’t the right word because the road is about as wide as I am tall.
To give that some clarification, the in-game teddy bear was about as tall as I was. Now, not that it doesn’t make sense, since The Incredible VR Game Show only makes use of room-scale for all of the in-game movement, but the small piece of road and narrow cars did make for an unsatisfying two minutes. Not to mention the creepy stuffed teddy bears, nor the glitches that made then stretch like taffy when I picked them up.
A Step In The Right Direction
So overall, I’d say that The Incredible VR Game Show does offer the opportunity to have some genuine fun, especially if you’re playing with friends, and the idea is certainly unique and refreshing after so many VR zombie wave shooters. However, the game has a very basic structure at the moment and will need a lot of polish and more content if it hopes to compete with other social VR games on the market. The audience part of the experience was especially disappointing (it is a game show after all) and it never felt like I was actually part of a game show.
One of the strong selling points of VR is that it had the ability to immerse you in the experience and this certainly doesn’t show it. A great example of how to create a good audience in a VR game is the upcoming Jousting Time that lets anyone join in via any platform to watch and participate as an audience member in the arena games. I wished Tantawowa had made more of an effort to incorporate a similar concept and bring the game show aspect to the forefront instead of it simply being a thematic framework around 10 random mini-games.