HoloBall PlayStation VR Review
Publisher: TreeFortress Games Developer: TreeFortress Games Genre: Sports
Players: 1-2 Age Rating: 3+ Other console/handheld formats: N/A
Playing certain Wii games made me sweat, more active Kinect games made my sweat ducts work overtime, and I can now officially say that a PlayStation VR game has also made me sweat buckets. HoloBall is definitely a game that gives you a work out, and it is certainly one that will cause many people to get hot and sweaty under their headsets.
HoloBall is like tennis in VR, and tennis in VR works very well indeed. Playing the game with one or two Move controllers, you go up against a moving square shaped AI opponent, and it’s up to you to get the ball past it five times in order to win the round. This is easier said than done though, particularly as said AI opponent gets stronger in each new round.
There’s satisfaction to be found in beating the AI in a rally, particularly when you are playing against it in later rounds when it’s faster and firing back more powerful shots at you. Also, the fact that the AI taunts you with various statements makes you want to beat it and shut it up.
To get the most out of the game, you’ll definitely need plenty of standing room, and it’s all the better if you have that space or can at least rearrange a room in order to play the game. HoloBall does allow you to calibrate it to your room size, but the more space you have, the better, as this means that you can actually play the game in the way that it was supposed to be played.
As simple as the rules of the game are, HoloBall does have a nice level of depth to it. The tractor beam feature for instance allows you to hold a button down to reel the ball in towards your racquet/s. This allows you to unleash trickier to read shots for your opponent to deal with as well as to rescue yourself from losing a point through a dead ball. The tractor beam adds so much extra depth to the game that would otherwise have been absent without its inclusion.
As for modes, the game has a campaign mode. This mode has four difficulty levels, beginning with the easiest level, and then unlocking more difficulties as you progress. The game also has an arcade mode, which includes Zen, Score Attack and Endurance options. Zen is a good practice mode in which the AI isn’t present and you just hit the ball against a wall, and it allows you to change everything from the ball to room size. Score attack has you getting as high score as possible and aiming to complete all 20 rounds, and finally, the Endurance mode gives you three lives to work with, in which you then have to get as many points as possible before you run out of said lives.
The game does have a multiplayer mode, in which another player can take over from the AI using a DualShock 4 controller in local multiplayer, although it really isn’t ideal with the square’s slow movement speed, and there are sadly no online multiplayer options present. Developer TreeFortress Games will apparently remedy this in the near future with an update for the game, so it’s just a matter of waiting before this option becomes a part of the game.
Visually, the game has the 1980s retro futuristic look of the likes of Battlezone and Far Cry: Blood Dragon. The glowing Tron-like neon visuals can be described as simple but effective, whilst the energetic Synthwave soundtrack from Dance With the Dead really fits the theme of the game.
HoloBall is one of the PlayStation VR’s most enjoyable games, and I really did feel so immersed and competitive whenever I played it, and it’s also satisfying in the way that it feels like I was also benefitting through exercising when playing. The game is so simple, but yet it has a pleasing level of depth, and it’s one that comes so easy to recommend at its current £11.99 price point. With the addition of online multiplayer soon, HoloBall’s future is set to become even brighter.