‘Robot Rescue’ Would Be One Of PlayStation VR’s Best, If It Were A Full Game

by Jamie Feltham • October 26th, 2016

PlayStation VR has been out for just under two weeks now, but we still haven’t managed to thoroughly rifle our way through all of the headset’s enormous launch line-up. We thought we’d just about played all of the biggest releases but there is one name that keeps unexpectedly creeping up in conversations. It’s not Batman, RIGS or Driveclub; it’s an experience that’s captured the hearts and minds of the early adopter community, and it’s not even a full game.

I’m talking about Robot Rescue, one of the handful of mini-games that appears on Sony Japan’s excellent free launch compilation, Playroom VR. I’ve seen this little platformer brought up time and again on internet threads and among friends over the past 12 days. After finally trying it for myself, I can see why.

playroom-3

Robot Rescue is essentially PS VR’s answer to Lucky’s Tale, one of our favorite games on the Oculus Rift. It’s a short but oh-so-sweet third-person platformer in which you guide one of the game’s adorable robot heroes through a spritely world, finding his also adorable robot friends that have scattered in terror at the arrival of some block-shaped baddies. You use the DualShock 4 to control your brave little protagonist as he (it?) leaps over chasms, battles enemies, and collects gold coins because, well, it’s a platformer.

There isn’t a whole lot to separate the game from Playful’s Rift launch title; they share the same perspective and some very similar mechanics, but Robot Rescue does bring a few of its own tricks to the table. The most notable of these is the use of the DualShock 4’s position tracked controls. Rather than disappearing from the game world, your gamepad will appear in the environment just as it does with games like Tumble. It will even store the robots you find, but it’s best featured when you use it to aim at grappling points and then flick the controller’s touchpad up to fire out a tightrope.

Your character can then jump onto that rope and you’ll walk them along it (shown below.) At one point, it’s necessary to raise the rope higher to reach some out of the far away coins, and you can also move it quickly to dodge incoming enemy attacks.

playroom-2

Given Robot Rescue only lasts about 10 minutes, the idea is never fully utilized but, even for this brief running time, it showcased an intriguing level of invention. It made me think of other ways the DualShock 4 could have been used: perhaps as a shield for incoming enemy fire, or a way to light the path in darker levels.

I also really liked the use of positional audio, which would give away the position of hiding robots as they let out cries for help. At one point I spun my head around after hearing one of their measly squeaks to find one hiding around a corner I had completely missed before. Again, it’s a feature that never reaches its full potential, but could provide a new dimension to hidden collectibles in a full game.

It really is a shame that Robot Rescue is so short, but luckily anyone with a PS VR can try it out as part of Playroom VR completely for free. The precious few minutes it offered were some of the most enjoyable I’ve had yet with the headset. We don’t know if Sony Japan is currently working on any other VR projects but, if not, we’d implore them to get to work on a full version of this cutesy, tantalizing taste of what VR can do for one of gaming’s most beloved genres.

And Playful should certainly pay attention regarding whatever they work on next.

Tagged with: , , ,

What's your reaction?
Like
Wow
0%
LOL
100%
Dislike
0%
  • Mario Baldi

    I completely agree. It as been probably one of the most polished experiences I had so far with the Psvr, and definitely the one I had the most fun

  • Sean Lumly

    Amen. Robot’s Rescue was my favourite PSVR experience by a large margin. I’m convinced that 3rd person VR holds tremendous (if not the most) potential for VR experiences because they allow for deep and varied gameplay, something not offered in first person games. Plus 3rd person games are JUST as immersing as their first person counterparts.

    1st person seems the obvious choice for VR, but 3rd person is where the most potential lies. Robot’s Rescue is a wonderful wake-up to the industry that are coasting on the novelty of VR. There are a wealth of 3rd person games that would be AMAZING in VR including
    – Twin stick shooters (eg. Alienation, Dead Nation, Resogun, Geometry Wars, etc)
    – Real Time Strategy (eg. Starcraft, Warcraft, Command & Conquer)
    – City Builder type games (eg. City Builders, Sim City, or perhaps Civilization, etc)
    – Top-down JRPGs (eg. Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest builders, etc)
    – Strategy RPGs (eg. Valkyria Chronicle, Final Fantasy Tactics, Banner Saga, etc)
    – MOBAs (eg. DOTA, League Of Legends)
    – Platformers (eg. Mario 3D Worlds, Ratchet & Clank)
    – etc.

    And there is an added advantage for developers: all of these games would work using 2D displays as well.

    3rd person VR is a no-brainer, and I believe it is the “killer app” for VR.

    • polysix

      “and I believe it is the “killer app” for VR.”

      Thank god you are not in charge of all of VR then. This is nothing more than cool eye candy and it gets old fast. Anyone who’s been around VR a while know that ‘traditional’ fixed point games in VR may look sexy but they are not a compelling reason to wear or invest in a HMD. Virtual Reality is (supposed) to be a lot more empowering, immersive and encompassing than getting your kicks by looking at understandably very nice looking cute models (just cos they happen to be close to the camera). I enjoyed Playroom VR but it’s not where I want my VR headed in terms of “killer app”, if it were it would die out like 3DTV in a couple of years (btw you can get almost as cool an effect playing this same type of game with 3D TV as it’s on rails into the screeen and your camera is linear except for being able to turn your head – which you COULD do with a stick on 3D TV). Hardly a killer app, maybe for the terminally unimaginative though.

      I’ve had DK2, Vive and PSVR – overall PSVR is actually my ‘favorite’ due to comfort and lack of god rays (and decent software) but if you ever try great tracking and full/active body VR (Vive) you’ll realise how ridiculous it is to cool an old school platformer than happens to look very nice in 3D with a touch of camera control linked to the head – a VR “Killer App”.

  • Alexandre Lamarre

    Totally agree. Very much under-appreciated game. I remember the Nintendo guy saying that Mario was not made for VR. He should play this and reconsider.

    • Right? When you get right down to it, just about any 3rd person game could handle VR taking the place of the normal static camera position. With games like the Mario series, where fine details aren’t capitalized on, VR is an obvious next step.

      For that matter, Super Mario 64 would be insane remastered for VR!

  • polysix

    It’s cool, I enjoyed it in VR but I honestly think most people raving about it are because they are new to VR and it does look shiny and cool to new eyes. To me it was a highly polished and cute looking VR platformer, but still a far cry from what “VR” is really meant to be about. Of course lots of people would love it but I can’t think of it as a killer app, if so you may pretty much just don some 3D glasses for a very similar effect for a game of this time (move in one direction into the screen with limited reasons to look around). In fact I guess most people raving about it never tried 3D either.

    VR is much much more than platform games, lets not encourage this kind of low balling.

    • Sky Castle

      You are wrong here. I own both a Vive and Rift since day one and would easily buy a PSVR just for this if it was a full game. While there is nothing better than roomscale gaming, there will still always be a place for third person platforming. I usually stay away from seated gaming, but this game is pretty damn fun and creative.

    • Fab Z

      Is it a killer app? What’s a killer app anyway? Is it a compelling reason to spend lots of hard earned cash by millions of people in one holiday season? Is it that revolutionary thing that we won’t be able to live without anymore once we’ve tried it? The “killer app” is one of those definitions that gets thrown around a lot in relation to VR. “Gimmick” is another. I disagree with both the vast majority of the time they’re used. IMO those definitions miss the potential and the current reality of the VR technology we are dealing with.
      The point you make about “what VR is really meant to be about” is I think worth discussing. IMO VR is going to be a broad topic, it’s likely to end up with multiple areas of interest. Gaming will be one of course, but VR will be important to a variety of people in a variety of ways. In this context some of The Playroom’s minigames have provided a taste of some experiences that many gamers would love to pursue more of. It’s so much fun that it leaves most people wanting more, so that’s a good sign that there’s a market there. When I was playing it there were many wow moments and I kept thinking “imagine what a great Mario game Nintendo could do in VR”.
      VR is platform games, it’s porn, it’s sports games, it’s Broadway shows, it’s a new medium. It’s developing and will require many small steps and some big steps every now and then and I see no end in sight for it.
      Robot rescue gave us a glimpse on one of those steps which is why people rave about it (as did I). Whether it turns out to be a big or small step will depend on it’s development and implementation.

    • Fab Z

      While I agree that there may be some newbie excitement, I have to clarify what is a killer app anyway? Is it a compelling reason to spend lots of hard earned cash by millions of people in one holiday season? Is it that revolutionary thing that we won’t be able to live without anymore once we’ve tried it? The “killer app” is one of those definitions that gets thrown around a lot in relation to VR. “Gimmick” is another. I disagree with both the vast majority of the time they’re used. IMO those definitions miss the potential and the current reality of the VR technology we are dealing with.
      You make a good point for discussion “what VR is really meant to be about”. IMO VR is going to be a broad topic, it’s likely to end up with multiple areas of interest. Gaming will be one of course, but VR will be important to a variety of people in a variety of ways. In this context some of The Playroom’s minigames have provided a taste of some experiences that many gamers would love to pursue more of. It’s so much fun that it leaves most people wanting more, so that’s a good sign that there’s a market there. When I was playing it there were many wow moments and I kept thinking “imagine what a great Mario game Nintendo could do in VR”.
      VR is platform games, it’s porn, it’s sports games, it’s Broadway shows, it’s a new medium. It’s developing and will require many small steps and some big steps every now and then and I see no end in sight for it.
      Robot rescue gave us a glimpse on one of those steps which is why people rave about it (as did I). Whether it turns out to be a big or small step will depend on its development and implementation.

      • Well said.

        Since picking up my PSVR, I’ve bought a wide variety of games for it. The greater majority of the games that I think have given me the best experiences have been vehicle based simulators, whether on the ground or in space –but I have to say that Resident Evil 7 (with all of the VR safety features disabled) is one of the most insanely cool things I’ve ever experienced… it really felt like I was the lead character in a Rob Zombie inspired horror movie, and it was scary as hell!.

        Driveclub VR & RIGS have also been intensely cool. Driveclub VR feels like the real thing. RIGS, meanwhile, captures what it would feel like if Honda Robotics division got involved in making full scale sports-mechs. Those mechs are awesome! (Though… really… I would have preferred a mech based title that played a bit more like Mechwarrior 4.)

        Personally, while I welcome just about anything of quality coming to PSVR, I’d like to see more simulators and light-sims that bring that greater level of immersion. If we’re going to go trying to retrofit yesterdays software to tomorrow’s technology though, I’d at least like to see more full length games in the vein of Freespace, Freelancer, Starlancer or the X series, as well as lot of other non-space based sims. Anything using ground based or flying vehicles tends to work well with VR, provided it’s done right.

        Now that I think about it… Skyrim would be freakin’ sweet on VR!

  • pineanas

    This game was more fun for me than all the semi ‘realistic’ demos…PSVR could be the rebirth of mascot platformers and point and click adventures! Fingers crossed, headset in hand!

  • Michael Naselli

    Anybody figured out how to rescue the robot on the balloon midway through the game?

    • Abe

      You need a second player who would control the ship. There is a fan that spins the propellers, which will move the grounded player across to the platform.

  • Red Demption

    I really really hope they make this happen. I played this at a friends house and it was the cutest game. I liked that better than any of the full games I played on there.