Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

Quick Take: Beat Saber

Posted by Rampant Coyote on May 18, 2018

Beat Saber is a VR game that mixes lightsabers, Fruit Ninja VR, and Dance Dance Revolution into a package where you are slicing blocks and bobbing around a small space to music. The music and the progression of targets is human-designed, as opposed to procedurally generated, so the courses are custom-designed with new music.

The game was released on Early Access on May 1, but is entirely playable and fun now. Rumors are that the game has been a fantastic success. It is one of the fastest-selling VR games on Steam, and also one of the highest-rated games (not just VR games) on Steam. I think this game’s success can be attributed to the mixed-reality videos they did. One¬†video has received over 2 million views on YouTube, and has been turned into videos on other social media platforms. The videos are of this woman (SwanVR), in this outfit, moving with the grace and flow of a dancer. I think whenever someone watches the video, they imagine moving as gracefully as Shuang, rather than the Star Wars Kid (which is probably how we really look).

While there are modes for using only one saber, or turning off directions, and probably some more modes coming up, the fundamentals are: You have colored blocks (and sometimes bombs) coming at you with arrows on them, timed to the beat of the various songs. You need to slice the block with the appropriately color saber in the direction of the arrow. Points are scored (currently) based on how accurate your swing direction is (entering and leaving the block, so be careful on that follow-through), and how closely you slice it to the middle.¬† Blocks with a circle on them can be struck in any direction. A score multiplier builds based on continuous runs without a mistake. Don’t hit the bomb, and dodge or duck the barriers that also come at you.

Okay. Sounds simple, right? It really is. Which is critical, because at higher levels things fly at you FAST and you need simple to avoid going from perfect to fail in about six seconds. The blocks don’t come at you in the easiest-to-slice angles. They don’t all appear at the same height. They sometimes come diagonally. The blue blocks are not always to the left, nor the red ones to the right. They come in tricky combos, where you have to cross the sabers with some good extension to hit blocks on the wrong side of you far apart.

The cool thing, is that as you are really getting on a roll, it feels like you are both dancing and going through some kind of martial arts kata for Jedi. It’s cool. It’s fun. And it can be a workout. I’m considering buying wrist-weights for when I’m playing this or BoxVR. Hey, I might as well get some more exercise as long as I’m having fun, right?

So is this another “killer app” for VR? Probably. If I was going to show off my Vive to someone, this might be my new “go to” game.

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