Games: Starblood Arena on PS4 VR
Starblood Arena (PS4 VR)
FOR those well-heeled enough to have Sony's VR dangling lazily from their PS4, Starblood Arena is a rare full-fat exclusive to remind you why you splashed the cash in the first place.
The first major PSVR release since Resident Evil 7 let us wander its grisly entirety wearing Sony's magical hat, Starblood's nippy, zero-G blasting nails immersion without the need for a sick bucket and could well be the hardware's killer app.
With a gossamer-thin plot, nine pilots from across the galaxy set each other in their sights within the Starblood Arena, a televised bloodsport where the victor is festooned in fame and cash.
Ensconced in your dinky ship, players can choose from a variety of human and alien pilots, each with their own strengths and weaknesses – while all moorings to reality have been slashed, with even female pilots up for grabs.
A barebones multiplayer blaster, Starblood is elevated from the drudgery of point n' shoot through canny use of VR that makes pootling around in your tiny craft a wondrous rug-pull for the senses.
Forget all you know about up, down, left and right – this is space, man, and everything is relative. Weapon aiming is handled with head movements independent of your ship, yet the experience has been designed with such care for the intestines that most players will soon find their space legs without the usual dry heaving.
Bright and silly (helped by a rockabilly soundtrack), your pilot can be levelled up with a variety of fun mods while cosmetic unlocks even stretch to hats for your ship.
At £35, though, Starblood's main issue is the amount of content. With no single player to speak of (you can take on computer, but outside of practice this is a moribund affair) and a small number of modes, the only gameplay variant is Gridiron, where players are divided into teams tasked with firing a ball into their opponent's goal.
And, while 12 arenas may seem generous, they're all rather stingy on space and blandly samey.
Still, until alien basher Farpoint releases on May 17, Starblood is the only VR game in town.
Much more than a blaster shoehorned onto the format, Starblood could only exist with Sony's sense-twisting doo-da.
The fact that it won't empty your guts while doing so is the icing on the cake.