Sparc from CCP Games just launched for PlayStation VR (PSVR) and if you’re considering picking it up you should be warned: it’s pretty intense. After each session (even if it’s only an hour long) I am already sweating and need to take a break. It plays out a lot like a Tron disc battle, except instead of throwing discs you throw glowing orbs at your opponents.
In theory it’s a simple game, but when you start considering the angles of bouncing the ball, strategies of racking up strikes, deflections, dodging, and more — it’s a surprisingly deep experience. And since everything is all about competitive 1v1 multiplayer, you’ll need all the tips you can get to excel. That’s exactly why we reached out to Sigurdur Gunnarsson, a developer at CCP, and combined his advice with our own to help you take control of the court online.
Do The Training And Challenges
When you’re playing a new multiplayer game it can be tempting to skip the training scenarios and dive straight into the full game. I’m advising you not to do that here. While the premise itself is simple enough (throw your ball at your opponent but don’t get hit) the underlying systems do require a bit of explanation. For starters, if you hit the zone directly behind your opponent (but miss them) you earn a “strike” instead of a point.
As you rack up strikes the size of your orb will increase, as will its speed. This balances the game out because even if your opponent is dodging your orb like crazy you still get rewarded for good accuracy. Watch the video above for more details about the game’s Training session and you can also do the solo challenge missions to help with target practice and aiming your deflections.
Practice Your Dodging
At the heart of Sparc is the orb that you throw and the shield that it creates when held in your own hand. Its easy to become reliant on the shield and feel helpless if you’re not holding your ball, but it doesn’t have to be that way. You should really practice your dodging.
Ducking is easy enough, as is moving from side to side, but more than just avoiding the orb is deciding how you want to avoid the orb. If you duck down low and let it sail over your head, that could throw off your aim for a follow-up. When possible, try turning or side-stepping the orb and immediately following up with a throw of your own because you know your opponent will be defenseless.
Time Your Throws
From my experience there are a few times that are best to throw your orb at your opponent. As mentioned before the obvious time to do it is when they’re waiting on their orb to return and they don’t have a shield. This way they’re forced to try and dodge (or punch, if you’re playing Basic.)
But another smart strategy is to deflect your opponent’s orb back at them with your own shield and then immediately throw your orb as well. If you aim both attacks correctly then your opponent could be forced to try and dodge two orbs at the same time, or quickly retriever their own and deflect yours back immediately. It’s a tough position for them to be in and is one of the best ways to get a point.
Use Your Entire Arm To Throw
When throwing your orb you should make a conscious effort to extend your entire arm and follow through with throws. Reach back all the way behind your head with the orb and perform a complete arc. Don’t just flick your wrist because that won’t have enough speed and is more likely to get thrown off erratically.
This is especially helpful if you’re trying to make straight shots down the arena or bank orbs off of walls. Good throwing form is just as important as good aim — they go hand in hand.
Use The Walls
Speaking of, don’t try and pelt your opponent with the orb directly each time. These shots are easy to deflect or punch and can very simply be side-stepped without much issue. A much smarter approach is to bank the orb off of walls and keep your opponent guessing.
It can be hard to predict where an orb is going to land if you bank it off of walls, but that’s not really your concern. If it misses then it will come back without issue and if you land a hit, then great! You really have nothing to lose. Eventually, you’ll even get the hang of the trajectories and and be able to intentionally make hits from wall bounces with regularity.
Curve Your Throws
This is a bit harder to pull off, but if you twist your wrist just right as you’re throwing with a full motion, then you can actually curve the orb through the air.
Curving a throw is useful because you can throw an orb diagonally towards the corner and then have it curve down into your opponent. Alternatively, you could aim it at the opponent, then have it curve down into the floor of the arena before bouncing up and hitting them.
Don’t Forget The Strike Zone
Finally, don’t forget about the strike zone behind your opponent. Just because you miss or your opponent is an avid dodger doesn’t mean you aren’t making progress. If they keep dodging but you’re throwing the orb straight down the middle then you’re still getting strikes and having it grow in size.
Eventually they’re going to mess up. Target the strike zone from angles via wall bounces to earn the strikes and then time your throw with a smart deflection and you’ll likely score at least one point, or perhaps two points, from the bombardment.
These are some of the best tips we have for getting started with competitive multiplayer play in Sparc! Let us know what you think of the game down in the comments below! And don’t forget to read our full review here for the final verdict.