Review: Beat Saber (2018)

When I first heard about Beat Saber, I knew I was going to enjoy it.

I’m one of those people that will air-drum sections of songs on top of my steering wheel when an awesome song comes on the radio. The news that there was going to be a VR rhythm game where you slash the beats of adrenaline-pumping music? A dream come true.

I think Beat Saber’s current success stems from the passion of the game’s developers and the masterful simplicity of its concept. With hand-crafted levels, the music experience is enhanced and immersion is encouraged. Created by Prague-based indie game studio Beat Games, Beat Saber has a humble origin story. Starting out with just two developers: Jan Ilavsky, Vladimir Hrincar and a ‘music guy’, Jaroslav Beck, Beat Saber‘s development began in 2016; when the trio first played around with the basic concept, they realised that, ‘the prototype was a lot of fun!’ After showcasing the game and realising the overwhelmingly positive response, it has grown into a viral sensation since its original release on May 1st 2018. Today, Beat Saber is available for Oculus Rift/Rift S/Quest, HTC Vive, PlayStation VR and Windows Mixed Reality Headsets. Arguably, widely beyond the original expectations of Beat Games. Wholesome indie-dev goodness.

I play on Beat Saber using the PSVR system with PS Move controllers: the haptic response through the controllers simulates the feeling of actually slashing the iconic blue and red cubes. The more you play and immerse yourself in this virtual world, the more you feel invested in the challenging campaign. Each time you play, you can feel yourself getting better and mastering particularly tricky portions of songs. The challenges, too, are fun and patience-testing but that feeling of finally mastering them? Completely worth it.

What I didn’t expect, however, was how physical the game would actually be. From the outset, it just seems like you stand wearing your VR headset of choice and slash a few virtual blocks. Boy, was I wrong. The day after my first hour-long session on Beat Saber, I felt as though I’d ran a half-marathon – aching in places that I didn’t know existed. For me, this just adds to the appeal of Beat Saber – I can incorporate it into my weekly exercise and not actually feel like I’m working out! And for someone (like me) who’d rather game than exercise… it’s perfect.

Beat Saber is the perfect blend of fun and challenging gameplay that is fantastic for all ages and VR experience levels. (I should note that it is currently the only PSVR game where i’m yet to experience nausea or headaches after prolonged use.) It is genuinely easy to learn and incredibly fun to master, presenting the opportunity to get up, dance to awesome songs and virtually slash your way to victory. The recent addition of the Imagine Dragons DLC and future 360-degree mode signifies a very successful future for this VR game – one that that its players can only benefit from.

Want to find out more about Beat Saber? Check out their website!

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