Any Vive owner knows that the controllers can take a beating. Swing them into a thin wall, TV, or human and the wand itself usually walks away unscathed while you’ll be left with hundreds of dollars in repairs/medical bills for whatever it hits.
With that in mind, I would still exercise extreme caution when playing Smash Party VR.
This free release, launching today, is a collaboration between animation studio Titmouse and Viacom NEXT, the emerging tech division of the media company. It’s based off of the real annual smash parties that Titmouse hosts in Hollywood, and is a short and simple affair. You find yourself in a cage, you’re given a baseball bat that’s maliciously wrapped in barbed wire (and curiously stained in blood), and given a minute to smash as many items as you can.
Smash Party VR requires slightly more than that minimum room-scale tracking space to be played, asking for 2.1m x 2.1m of space. It quickly becomes clear that this area is needed, as you’ll be wildly swinging round a single controller, trying to break cups, plates, TVs and toilets as fast as possible. The cage around you represents the limits of your tracking, but I’d still recommend keeping the chaperone system visible at all times for this one, especially if any of your boundaries are near something that could be smashed in the real world inside of the virtual one.
Put your wrist strap on, lock the cat in another room, keep the Vive wires away from your feet, and maybe unscrew the light bulbs. If you’re not careful, you’ll end up breaking just as much in the real world as you do in the virtual one.
It’s safe to say this isn’t the most responsible VR game, not that that’s a problem if you have the space. The same rings true for the bizarre presentation, which makes the Vive seem more like a pair of drug-goggles than it does a VR headset. The audience consists of twisted beasts that blind you with their hazy, vibrant colors, while the moon hangs in the sky, bearing down on you with an angry stare and a massive joint. It’s very, very strange to say the least, like you’ve stepped into a 3D-immersive scene from Hotline Miami, only you’re mercifully smashing teacups and not skulls.
And that’s pretty much all there is to this one. Hold the bat above your head for a few seconds and it will charge up, eventually transforming into a giant ax that you can bring crashing down for more destruction. In between rounds you’ll get bonus games where members of the audience will toss things for you to smash, and there’s an extra round at the end of every match where items will be tossed upwards Fruit Ninja-style for you to quickly swipe at. You’ll have seen it all within a few minutes of play.
Smash Party VR is shallow, but fun, free, and arriving out of the blue, so there’s little to complain about. If it ever comes to Oculus Touch, we’d recommend knocking down a wall or two preemptively in your VR room before giving it a go — just as a precaution.