HeroCade VR

HeroCade VR
Developer: Lucid Sight
Release Date: Out Now
Price: £9.49
Nausea: None/Little
Controllers: DS4 & Two Move Controllers
Game Length: 15 Minutes

A “9-in-1 minigame collection” is a phrase that would normally raise alarm bells. It’s too good to be true you’d think. And it is, it really is. 

The first thing you’ll notice about Herocade are the long loading times. They’re unnecessarily long, especially when you eventually find out the quality of the games being loaded for you. There is also an ever-growing sense of existential dread when loading during specific VR titles, such as this. Instead of an icon, loading bar, or anything of note, you’re left alone in a silent black void waiting for something to happen. On paper, this sounds only slightly disconcerting, but time can move very slowly in a black void. Give it several more minutes, however, and you’ll be longing for the comfort of the void, as the games on offer are somehow even worse.

Before you begin your adventures in the land of Herocade, you are first introduced to the hub, a simple and somewhat dull level select situated in another void with precariously narrow walkways, but also including a floating, talking blue orb. It appears charming at first and is somewhat reminiscent of the alien Max from the 1980s film Flight of the Navigator, but it soon becomes tiresome. He’s also surprisingly rude as he doesn’t remember you when you exit the game entirely and come back, which means you have to listen to the same dialogue every time. There’s also a bothersome space whale screeching the whole time you’re wandering the hub. What it’s trying to say I don’t know but it sounds as pained to be there as I was.

And so onto the games! I’ll discuss all nine, some more briefly than others as some have very little substance and will be played less than the time it took to load them.

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405 Roadrage is both simple graphically and gameplay wise.

405 Road Rage
First up is 405 Road Rage and gameplay wise it’s very basic. The aim is to move your car from side to side evading the flow of traffic as well as oncoming vehicles. You control your vehicle by turning your head from side to side and using the DS4 to control speed. Using your head to move can be uncomfortable and diminishes the VR immersion as you can’t look around without crashing your car. It also doesn’t help that the other vehicles are randomly generated, so it is entirely possible to have a line of traffic spawn and be unable to move past them at all.

After several more attempts, I got the hang of it. and after discovering you can buy more cars, and upgrade ones already owned, it should be a “just one more go” type of affair, but unfortunately, the gameplay just isn’t deep enough.

The developers could have been attempting a Flappy Bird type of affair but with poor controls, terrible sound effects and no reason to be in VR this title won’t be remembered.

Poly Runner
This game is very reminiscent of the indie title Race the Sun, which was a PS Plus title way back in May 2015. Like Race the Sun it’s an endless runner where you control a futuristic plane and fly onwards, avoiding any obstacles, for as long as you can. You can control the craft using either the DS4 or turning your head. Using the DS4 diminishes the immersion somewhat, but turning your head can feel awkward and unnatural and also stymies the immersion.

The music is lacklustre and the sound effects are lazy, as they are in most of these mini-games. It’s not the worst game in the world but it’s highly unlikely you’ll be coming back for more unless you have a heated desire to top the online leaderboards.

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Space-bit Attack is essentially Space Invaders in VR.

Space-bit Attack
This title is essentially a VR version of Space Invaders but lacks the addictive quality that made the original such a classic. There are things that work here, such as the music, though it could do with more variation. Unfortunately, there is simply no reason for this title to be in VR. It doesn’t make the game more interesting or interactive. Like other games in this collection you have to keep your focus on the action in front, not behind or around you, so you have as well just play in two dimensions.

There are power-ups which enhance the fun factor but not enough. The bullets fly too slowly at first and it’s a very boring game for those not playing, it’s not enjoyable to watch, so is a fairly anti-social VR title. And like the others, you won’t be coming back often, if at all.

Turkey Hunt
This title is definitely in the running for most pointless and annoying, from those on offer here. Turkey Hunt is a wave-shooter but there’s so much wrong here it’s doubtful you’ll last the first wave. You’re plonked into a fixed spot and have to shoot groups of cardboard cut-out turkeys as they descend upon your position.

The sound effects are truly awful and borderline frightening. There’s no music, the gun FX are weak and the turkey squarks are horrendous. They’re relentless. It’s so terrible it’s almost humorous until you remember you paid for this.

There are unlockable weapons and leaderboards but you’ll be bored long before you make a dent in either.

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Gumi No Yumi has no reason to be in VR.

Gumi No Yumi
Much like Space-bit Attack, Gumi No Yumi has absolutely no reason to be in VR. It’s a puzzle game in which you control a cute little animal, possibly a racoon, and are tasked with pushing varying colours of jelly sweets into their corresponding squares.

The music and sound effects are okay. They’re very Japanese; over-the-top cutsey fun. Unfortunately, the game itself isn’t. It’s very basic and isn’t worth the effort it takes to strap yourself into the headset.

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Jurassic Survival is way too dark.

Jurassic Survival
Jurassic Survival, like Turkey Hunt, is an on-the-spot wave shooter. The first thing that hits you when starting is just how dark the game is. I can see why they’ve done it. They’ve attempted to make the game scarier but it’s more frustrating than anything else. The environment is dark but the enemies are lit up like a supernova. You can see them way off in the distance, and although the aiming is dreadful you can still hit and slay enemies way before they reach you – at least on the early levels.

The dark environments do help create tension at first. But, enemies can take ages to spawn so you’ll often find yourself waiting for something to do and the fear factor soon wears off. The dinosaur animations are dire. They’ll run up to you fine but then they’ll stand several feet in front and snap at you periodically. When you shoot them they barely wince.

Some of the smaller dinosaurs glitched in place and were unable to be shot until another one joined them and when the T-Rex finally graced me with its presence I was disappointed to find it just took a few extra bullets to take it down.

This is another mini-game with no music and where the sound effects are subpar.

You can use either the DS4 or Move Controllers but it would have been nice for the developers to put as much thought of the gameplay as they did the control methods and once again there are purchasable weapons and leaderboards but no real reason to play more than one wave.

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Sisters
Sisters is the second of three horror mini-games included in this collection, the others being Jurassic Survival and Dreadhalls. Upon starting the game you’ll find yourself in an old, dusty room with nothing but a torch – which can be controlled with either the DS4 or a Move controller. As day turns to night a storm brews outside, though this particular storm has the worst sound effects I’ve ever heard.

I played Sisters for all of five minutes as nothing happened. I was stuck in one position, looking around, turning the torch on and off. There was a creepy doll in the room which I expected to move – or at least do something – but nothing happened. Before the boredom set in, I was mildly creeped out but if you want a proper horror experience, go for Resident Evil 7, not this.

Z-Strike
With so many terrible games here it’s difficult to decide which one is the worst but Z-Strike has to be up there. For starters, it’s a phone game lazily transformed into a VR title. Like the majority of other Herocade games, it doesn’t benefit from being in VR. 

You assume the role of a bomber, or gunman, flying around in a helicopter attempting to gun down waves of zombies in order to save a few humans. You can barely see what you’re shooting at and once you realise what you’re meant to do you realise you don’t care. 

The biggest insult is that you can’t quit the game mid-wave.

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Dreadhalls is the best and only game on offer in this collection. 

Dreadhalls
Dreadhalls is the only game included in this collection that feels like an actual game. It tasks you with exploring a dark, mysterious and creepy dungeon; collecting coins, potions and avoiding the deadly inhabitants.

Graphically the game is simple but crisp. It’s the first PSVR game where in-game text was really legible. The visuals won’t blow you away by any means but they work. The passageways are dark but rooms will light up upon entering them. This aids the fear factor; you’re never quite sure what’s in the next room. Each room is a chance for horror.

The VR immersion is great. You really do feel as though you’re exploring a dungeon and the atmosphere will get to you. It’s nowhere near as frightening or exhilarating as Resident Evil 7, but not much is.

The music here works well and the sound effects are okay. They both work well together to create an off-putting, ominous atmosphere.

If you enjoy Dreadhalls I would recommend Crystal Rift, released late last year. It’s the exact same premise but with the added bonus of combat.


VERDICT: 4/10 – Dreadhalls is the only title worth playing more than once and is almost worth the asking price alone. Almost. 

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