Void Racer: Extreme takes you on a thrilling sci-fi racing journey that combines the sleek hover bikes and vibrant neon aesthetics of Tron with the heart-pounding speed of classics like F-Zero and WipEout, all tailored for the Oculus Quest. While it’s not without a few rough edges, there’s something special about this game.
Surprisingly, Void Racer: Extreme is a sequel to the Oculus Go’s Void Racer. The major gripe with the original was its lack of 6DOF movement, which felt notably frustrating, especially when zipping around like a Tron-inspired light cycle. The inability to lean or move your head truly grated on the nerves. But now, Void Racer: Extreme steps in as a larger, better, and more polished evolution of the same concept.
In Void Racer: Extreme, you control your bike with just one hand, using the controller’s rotation and trigger to accelerate. Sure, you can play it cool with your arm resting on your lap or a table, but I discovered that the real fun and immersion came from reaching out into the virtual air with both arms and leaning my body from side to side as I played. It made a world of difference for me.
You might think it’s a tad lazy that the developers didn’t enforce hyper-realistic body leaning and hand steering. But honestly, in my experience, those attempts usually don’t pan out well (yes, VR Karts, we’re looking at you). Going for a more approximated approach while still allowing movement for immersion seemed like a sweet spot.
Among its rivals, Death Lap comes closest to Void Racer: Extreme, but it leans more towards Mad Max vibes than Tron. Still, it shares some mechanics and ideas with its combat-infused racing concept. However, in Void Racer: Extreme, you won’t spend as much time aiming and shooting; all the action is controlled by your gaze and a button press.
Now, here’s the subtle twist in Void Racer: Extreme that might not be immediately obvious unless you peruse the ‘How To Play’ section in the main menu: the areas outside the clearly marked track are referred to as the Void. Driving in the Void slowly drains your battery until you’re stuck waiting for a recharge. This introduces a strategic element, reminiscent of the hazardous zones in F-Zero games. You can take shortcuts across the Void, but only if your battery can hold out. Strategy meets adrenaline in this electrifying racer.
Comfort of this VR game
Void Racer: Extreme lives up to its name in the intensity department, and that can make it a rough ride for some. Speed demons beware – the high-octane action might leave you feeling a bit queasy. But don’t worry, there are remedies at hand. You can tweak your helmet’s field of view to narrow down your peripheral vision, reducing that dizzying sensation of speed. Plus, you have the option to fine-tune the bike’s lean when you make those hairpin turns. Still, if you’re prone to VR sickness, consider yourself warned; this game might not be your best friend.
The game’s concept isn’t bad, but it lacks a bit in execution, leaving room for improvement. The music tends to drone on repetitively, the sound effects don’t always sync with the action, and the track’s artistic style feels somewhat incomplete. None of these factors alone break the game, but they do leave us wanting more.
With over 100 races in career mode, a dozen unique tracks, time trials, and online multiplayer, Void Racer: Extreme packs a hefty punch for an Oculus Quest-exclusive VR racer. However, it falls short in terms of depth within each of these features.
Though it boasts “over 100 career mode races,” many are variations of the same formats. Alongside regular races, you’ll find time trials and ring collection mini-games that add some flavor. It’s a decent attempt at keeping you engaged, but it lacks the depth it could have had.
Progression and customization options are sparse, with limited bike unlocks and little else. Given the game’s immersive potential, some bike upgrades or cosmetic customization, like new skins or light trails, could have significantly improved replay value.
On a social note, finding a match has been a bit of a ghost town this week. This isn’t the game’s fault, but it does hinder the full enjoyment of the multiplayer experience.
Final Impressions and Verdict: Score of 6.5
Think of the original Void Racer as a VR game prototype, laying the groundwork for Void Racer: Extreme. This time, it’s a much more complete and smoother experience, although it’s not quite a slam-dunk recommendation. While Void Racer: Extreme nails many aspects, it still needs some extra substance.
If you’re on the hunt for that perfect blend of Tron, F-Zero, and WipEout vibes, Void Racer: Extreme delivers. It hits the spot. But to truly excel, it could benefit from a more vibrant multiplayer scene, a richer variety of career mode objectives, additional bike options, and a touch of extra polish in its presentation. Nevertheless, it’s a solid starting point with room to grow.
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