You won’t find much VR gaming on the public showfloor at Gamescom this year, but you might stumble across one heck of a VR party.
Tucked away behind gigantic booths for PS4’s Spider-Man and others is a stand half as big and twice as loud as its rivals. Location-based VR company Hologate is showing off its four-player VR arcade set up with a new game announced today, Holobeat. I’ll give you three guesses what it’s like based on that name.
Yep, Holobeat is an unashamed Beat Saber clone. You still hold a set of red and blue lightsabers and you still swipe away at notes in certain directions as they arrive in time with a beat. In fact, I was certain the game actually was Beat Games’ VR sensation when I first came across it. Aside from some spruced up visuals, which are noticeably sharper than busier than Beat Saber’s there really seemed to be no difference at all.
That is except for the multiplayer.
Up to four friends can pull on a Vive to compete in Holobeat. Whichever headset you choose you’ll see your rivals positioned either side of you and right above in levels that resemble a tube. You’re competing for high scores, though your friends won’t have any affect on you while you’re in the middle of a song.
It would have been nice to see some new ideas implemented into the multiplayer, but the support is still appreciated. High-score chasing invites repeated plays, and I could easily see myself bringing friends along to try the experience with me instead of getting them to pass the headset at home.
Still, as VR clones go, it is a little too close to home. Even the intro at the start tells you to “swipe the beat with your saber”. When you’re not even attempting to disguise the source material you’re aping — which admittedly owes a debt to Star Wars itself — it can come off as a little disrespectful. It’s like if Epic had called Fortnite PlayerKnown’s Battlegrounds. You have to try and be a bit subtle at least.
Not least because Hologate is also capable of some genuinely fun VR experiences of its own design. I also played a VR zombie shooter from the company with a rifle-shaped peripheral that was a lot of fun. It just made me wish this had some level of its own identity.
Other than that? Well it plays really well, and the mapping of notes was on-point. I got the exact same momentary feeling of being a dance/Jedi master that’s made Beat Saber so popular seconds before I’d mess it all up and find it impossible to keep up.
Hologate told me that the game will have six songs to choose from as it rolls out across the company’s locations starting next month, with more to come. With both multiplayer updates and an arcade version of Beat Saber itself on the way