Review: VR Karts – PS4/PSVR

BY CHRIS HARDING

Chris Harding

Writer and Storywriter

PUBLISHED 5 YEARS AGO

It was only a matter of time before we got a kart racer for the PSVR. To be honest, I’m surprised it’s taken this long to get one out for Sony’s headset. The question is, then: Is it any good? Read on and I’ll tell you what I think.
VR Karts is, as the name implies, a kart racer that’s played in VR. You won’t need any of the PS Move controllers as the game is played entirely with the DualShock 4, though there are some movement options. Obviously, you’ll also need a PSVR headset too. I feel like I shouldn’t need to say that, but after the emails I got last week about VR games being playable without the headset, I feel compelled to state it in every review.
As you can expect, the game has you racing little go-karts around tracks against A.I controlled racers, or you can go online and race against others. Unfortunately I didn’t really get to test out the online component as there was never anyone to play with. Yeah, poor me, Billy no mates… That being said, I’m not really a big fan of playing against real people anyway. They have a tendency to be arseholes anyway… In other words: Better than me. What? I don’t like losing…

The opening minutes of VR Karts are spent teaching you the ropes. I first learned how to move forwards (momentum!) and had a little whizz around a fairly short track. Then the game taught me how to drift and use the game’s weapon pick-ups. Yes, of course it has weapon pick-ups, it’s a kart racer after all.
After the game was done holding my hand, I was free to do as I pleased. Naturally, then, I headed straight into the single-player modes and proceeded to lose terribly. I was no Jenson Button, let me tell you that much. But I don’t think I was completely to blame for my abysmal performance. See, VR Karts has this weird drift mechanic that hinders more than it helps. When you activate your speed boost and then try to turn a corner, you’re forced into a drift no matter what. It’s disorienting at worst, and a massive pain in the arse at best, so I quickly refrained from using the damn thing.

For me, that wasn’t the worst of it. Using the DualShock 4 for steering felt really odd; I’m using to using my DualShock 4’s movement controls in Driveclub VR, so going back to sticks was not too pleasant. There is an option within the game’s menu to change the controls to movement. I thought my problems would be alleviated and that I’d be swinging around the tracks with ease, yet that wasn’t the case. The movement controls were simply awful due to the sensitivity and inaccuracy of the gyro-controls. I thought I was crap finishing 3rd place with regular controls, but with the steering options switched to what I’m more comfortable with, I’d consistently finish last – and that’s after having steered off the course many times.
What is pretty neat is the way weapons are handled. Instead of just positioning your kart behind a fellow karter and hoping for the best, you aim using your head. You’ll need to look at who you want to fire a rocket at while keeping the reticule on them until it turns green, then you hit the fire button and away your boomy-boom goes. There’s not a great deal of depth to the combat though, and in honesty I was a little bored of it after a few races. It just felt a little unnecessary in the end, and perhaps the game would have been better served had the developers focused on the racing rather than tacking on the pick-ups.

The tracks themselves aren’t very interesting to race along. They’re flat, uninspired and just a little bit boring. Sure, the first few races are a bit of fun, but eventually the challenge is lost when you realise there’s no inherent danger in what you’re doing. Where’s the environmental hazards? Where’s the death-defying leaps? Where’s the fun? Sadly, that’s a question that answers itself the longer you play.
Graphically, VR Karts isn’t anything to shout about. You’re not going to be looking at a graphical powerhouse, but what’s on display does the job. The tracks actually look rather nice in motion with their bright colours and simple shapes, while other racers look pretty decent too. But as we all know, fancy graphics don’t make a game.
If you can look past the iffy controls, the uninteresting racing, and the unimaginative kart combat, maybe you’ll get a bit of joy out of VR Karts. That being said, I don’t think many PSVR owners fit the demographic for a colourful kart racer. Kids may well find this a thrill, but how many of them have the kind of pocket money that’ll get them a PSVR?

VR Karts PS4/PSVR Review
  • 4.9/10
    Overall - Bad - 4.9/10
4.9/10

Summary

Review: VR Karts - PS4/PSVR

VR Karts has all the parts to make a competent kart racer, but somewhere on the assembly line things went very wrong. The racing itself is fun for all of about 20 minutes until the tracks become a bore and combat becomes a chore. There’s potential in the VR space for such a game, but this game isn’t it.


Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a digital copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.

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