Release Date: Out Now
Platform(s): PlayStation VR (Reviewed), HTC Vive, Oculus Rift
I’m starting to feel like the team over at Survios are some kind of VR geniuses. After releasing the really enjoyable shooter Raw Data last year, they’re now back with something completely different in Sprint Vector – a game based around sprinting… like, literally sprinting. Arms pumping and everything.
There’s nothing quite like it on PlayStation VR and you can expect to bust out a real sweat whilst playing. It’s absolutely brilliant though, so you can also expect to have a hell of a lot of fun.
Sprint Vector sees you competing against AI or online opponents in a series of hectic races, all of which are controlled by pumping your arms to sprint. This might sound a little strange, but it actually works really well and makes you feel like you’re actually in the motion of running.
So you’ll pump each arm in motion with the Move controllers, all whilst holding and releasing the trigger buttons at specific points. If you rise and lower your arms high enough (all whilst hitting the sweet spot when releasing the trigger) you’ll run ever faster, giving you a quick speed boost to zip ahead. If you need to turn, you simply tilt your head in a specific direction, though you can press one of the face buttons on the Move controller if you want to make an even snappier turn. You can also jump by holding down the Move button on the controllers whilst running, or if you hold down the Move button and the triggers at the same time you’ll come to a speedy halt. Easy, right?
In theory, it might seem easy enough, but believe me, the controls of the game take some getting used to. Everything happens so fast and with a constant pressure on the player to keep moving, co-ordinating all of your actions quickly can be quite testing. Add to that the fact that you’re going to be getting a serious workout in the process, and it’s easy to see that Sprint Vector is going to have a bit of a learning curve for players – luckily, it’s bloody satisfying to play, so at least it’ll be a fun process.
There are more advanced techniques to be aware of too though, with Sprint Vector giving the player a few tricks to take advantage of. A quick placement of your hands towards your hip can see you drifting around corners for example, whilst you’re also able to grab at boost trails to shoot ahead of competitors. You can even blast away at objects in the environment to find secret paths if you’re clever enough. There really are a ton of different tricks you can pull off, and you’ll need to master them all if you want to succeed.
Racing in the game takes place over twelve different tracks, each of which are incredibly well designed and pretty to look at. Admittedly, some of them lend different things from each other, but each track still manages to feel unique in their own little way. Best of all, there’s never just one route to take; more adventurous players can discover all sorts of shortcuts that’ll often shave seconds from their race time.
I can’t emphasise enough how well structured each track is though. They perfectly complement each gameplay mechanic of Sprint Vector and it’s an absolute blast to race across them.
The majority of your time in the game will be spent taking part in standard races, though there are also Challenges available for those who want a bit more of a test. These typically offer obstacle course-like tracks for you to race upon and give you a different goal to complete – it’s a bit of a change to simply trying to beat everyone else to the finish line, and they’re also a good way to get used to all of the different gameplay mechanics. There’re only nine challenges available in total though, so unfortunately they won’t last you too long.
Fortunately though, the option to race against others online offers endless hours of fun. I thought playing Sprint Vector against AI opponents was great, but going online and facing off against other real-life players who’re also pumping their arms like lunatics in their living rooms was just amazing. Like most competitive games, it’s always better to know you’re playing against someone else – plus, those victories are all the sweeter when you’re able to gloat in front of real life players afterwards…
Want to know the best part about the online races though? The power-ups. Much like Mario Kart, you’re able to utilise a bunch of zany power ups to hinder your rivals mid-race. You can fire missiles at your opponent, launch bombs around the map, or even get a quick speed boost to launch ahead of your rivals – there’s nothing quite like narrowly beating an opponent over the finish line all thanks to a cheeky speed boost, right? I’ll be honest, some of the power ups are a bit more difficult to use thanks to the fact you’re constantly swinging your arms to run, but they add an incredibly fun (and naughty) twist to what is already a thoroughly entertaining multiplayer experience.
Add to all of the fun of the gameplay the bright and vibrant visuals, and you’ll quickly see that Sprint Vector is something special. The graphics follow a cartoony style that really stands out, especially with the character and environmental designs.
Talking about the characters, there are eight to play as in total though the only difference made is a cosmetic one – there’s no difference in stats between them, so it’s a level playing field for everyone. Given the game’s first-person perspective, you won’t notice much difference based upon your character choice anyway, though at least your opponent will get a good look at your choice of behind when you’ve got them eating your dust, right?!
For the most part Sprint Vector offered a pretty flawless gameplay experience, though I did come across a few bugs here and there. At one point I got completely stuck in the environment and couldn’t move anywhere, whilst on another occasion I got my character stuck in a constant turn where I couldn’t move in a straight line. These aren’t common issues that I came across though, so hopefully most players won’t face them during any of their races.
There’ve been plenty of fun and unique titles made available on PlayStation VR, but Sprint Vector really stands out as something special. It’s an absolute blast to play, and there’s simply no denying that there’s nothing quite like it available on the platform right now.
It’s so satisfying taking on other players online, whilst the impressive visuals and fun gameplay mechanics ensure you’re constantly wowed when you’re in a race – even if you are breaking a big sweat outside of the headset!
If you’re a PlayStation VR owner, you really need to give Sprint Vector a purchase. Not only will you be getting one of the platform’s killer apps, but you’ll also get to have a good workout in the process… it’s win-win, right?