As the virtual reality niche grows we can inevitably expect a whole slew of new game types to come along with it.
One of the most popular genres on mainline consoles and PCs are rhythm games, a subset of the music game genre that relies upon timed button presses and coordinated actions to produce a sound.
Think Guitar Hero’s layout or Konami’s arcade classic Dance Dance Revolution.
These types of games combine timing and reflexes with a musical backdrop for an audio-visual experience in gaming that not only marries the challenge of a puzzle game but the pace and adrenaline rush of arcade classics.
Bringing this type of game into virtual reality would almost seem like a natural evolution but few have done it quite as well as we would have hoped.
Beat Saber, however, could change all of that with its unique approach to rhythm games and its masterful incorporation of VR elements.
What Science Alert calls a “stunningly immersive game experience,”, Beat Saber transforms your controllers into red and blue light sabers that you then must use to slash through objects Fruit Ninja style in order to get the correct melody to play. Similar to the best of the genre, Beat Saber employs awesome sound with stunning, psychedelic visuals for a combined effect that is at times otherworldly and also reminiscent of the night club. Science Alert drew comparisons between the game and Guitar Hero and Rock Band but really it reminds this writer of titles like Atari’s Tempest 2000, Lumines, and Rez Infinite.
Unlike Guitar Hero and Rock Band which seek to simulate what it would be like to be a musician of said instruments, Beat Saber takes a more “out there” approach and the result is a video game without reservations that uses the mechanics of rhythm games to deliver its unique style of play. Of course, doing all of this in the virtual reality space makes the game that just much more “extra” and in the process transforms the title into a must-play for fans of the genre.
Eschewing simulation for something else entirely was the right call with Beat Saber as it makes the game a unique experience but the only thing we worry about is what happens when the novelty wears off.
Without anything that specifically takes advantage of the virtual reality platform, Beat Saber players could tire of its mechanics quite quickly. After all, if you want to listen to good music and watch a screen saver you can just boot up your computer and let iTunes rip. But for those of us that want something a little more and need a reason to show off how awesome VR can be, Beat Saber is a breath of fresh air.
So whether you’re looking for a pure rhythm game or you want something that is an “experience,” look no further than Beat Saber which is VR gaming’s most successful marriage of rhythm and gameplay that has hit the market in a while.