A lot of people have been unhappy with the price of VR games in our new industry’s first year of consumer availability. For the most part, Steam has been flooded with well over 1,000 games and experiences, the vast majority of which are abbreviated teasers, uninspired tech demos, and cheap cash grabs. There are plenty of gems and meaty experiences sprinkled throughout, but they are far from the norm.
In some ways, HeroCade almost feels like a response to that climate. Instead of nickle and diming you for a couple hours of fun, tops, this is one single bundle with nine games total all for a price that’s lower than what you’d pay for many individual VR titles: only $15. We don’t really factor the price into how we review a game, but suffice to say that this is one hell of a good deal.
Of the nine games included in this HeroCade bundle, a little over half (five) aren’t very good at all. Zombie Strike, for example, tasks you with shooting at zombies from a helicopter in the sky. The perspective is so zoomed out you can barely see the figures shambling around and there’s next to zero feedback on your weapon. It’s uninspired and boring. Jurassic Survival isn’t much better. At first it looks similar to The Brookhaven Experiment, but there is very little enemy variety, boring level design, and bad animations. The dinosaurs barely even react when you shoot them.
The bottom of the barrel is also filled with the likes of Gumi No Yumi, a puzzle game that has no business existing in VR at all, and Space Bit Attack, a poor first-person version of Space Invaders that’s one of the most blatant pieces of shovelware I’ve seen in VR so far, and Alpha Turkey Hunt barely masks the fact that it’s just a bland wave shooter with little else to offer.. For the most part, I’d recommend avoiding those five altogether, although I can’t stop you from poking your head in just to see how bad the experiences are.
When you moved past those though and into the real meat of it all with the final four games, that’s where the value is clear. PolyRunner is simple and doesn’t really need to be in VR at all, but it’s still a thrilling endless runner with a strong “just one more time” addictive nature.
Next up is 405 Road Rage, a nice little endless driving game that has you darting in and out of traffic and trying not to crash. I wish it was playable in first-person mode to make it a bit more immersive, but even though it has no real reason to exist in VR, it’s still a fun and well-designed game at its core.
But the real highlights of this package and the main reason I’d recommend picking it up are for the two horror game standouts: Sisters and Dreadhalls. Sisters is only about 5-10 minutes long and is really nothing more than a slightly-guided jump scare, but the setting and sound design are great. Definitely worth trying at least once and is a real treat to put people through after they get their beginning VR bearings.
Dreadhalls is 100% worth the price of admission all on its own, though. In the game you’ll explore an elaborate dungeon with procedurally generated layouts. This helps ensure that the game is slightly different each time you play it, upping the replayability and making it even scarier to tip-toe around corners. It plays out similar to a game of hide-and-seek with creepy monsters that stalk you in the shadows.
With all of the other games you get in this bundle, Dreadhalls is still clearly the best of the bunch. Most of the rest are little more than filler because saying there are nine games is a lot more appealing on the surface than just two or three. Even still, the game is showing its age. There are better horror games on PSVR now (such as Resident Evil 7) and it doesn’t really do anything you haven’t seen before. But it’s still great seeing one of PC’s first awesome VR horror titles making its way to Sony’s console.
The HeroCade bundle on PSVR does a great job of collecting a large amount (nine total!) of games into a single package. They’re all tied together with a loose “narrative” of sorts but about half of them are hardly worth even playing. Dreadhalls and Sisters are easily the best of the lot, but the sheer breadth of games on display is commendable. Worth a grab if you haven’t tried Dreadhalls yet, but I wouldn’t recommend it for the other eight games on their own.