Rating: T for Teen
Earlier last year, PlayStation VR owners could forgo their couches/chairs, grab their MOVE controllers, and every night demonstrate their physical prowess with the Geeks Under Grace reviewed SPARC. It was unlike anything I had seen before, and a legitimate VR sport that actually led me to having sore muscles due to unintentional exercise. While my daily SPARC obsession has subsided, it left a hole in my video game active life. Thankfully, Sprint Vector, from developer Survios, has come at just the right moment, and it’s great to say that PS VR has been blessed with an all new solid VR sport title.
Violence: While racing, the player can shoot electric like bolts out of their hands to remove any breakable objects or knock other racers off balance. None of the violence is graphic in nature as there is no blood or gore.
Language/crude humor: I heard no swear words in my time playing. Since you are competing against other opponents, sometimes they will have playful banter before, during, and after the race. Mainly about how badly they’re going to beat you or remarking on how they will make you look slow.
Calling Sprint Vector a racing game would only be telling half the story, as the tracks you race on our extreme obstacle courses that would feel right at home in a 16-bit Sonic the Hedgehog game. The only way to reach the finish line is by running, jumping, climbing, flying, drifting, and sliding in order to effectively reach the finish line. The MOVE controllers are surprisingly responsive and you will be doing a lot of movement with your arms with a few button combinations to learn also. Finishing all the tutorials are a requirement to get anywhere worthwhile in Sprint Vector.
The thing you’ll be doing more than anything else in Sprint Vector is swinging your arms vigorously to gain momentum. It’s not enough to say this is just a workout, as oftentimes I felt like I had just ran an actual race. After six hours of playtime over multiple days, I found my upper body to be completely sore and that’s not an overstatement. You’ll have to master the “Fluid Locomotion” system which requires players to pump their arms as they stand in place in order to finish anywhere near the top three.
Before you begin a race there are eight characters to choose from, and each of the characters is colorful, quirky, and cartoonish. This is the only thing that makes them distinct though, as each of the contestants is equally balanced. This can be good and bad—good in a sense that no character is stronger than the other, but bad in the sense that it really doesn’t matter who you pick as there are no strengths and weaknesses.
Shortcuts, powerups, and speed boosts will bring the obvious Mario Kart comparisons and rightfully so. Just like Mario Kart, Sprint Vector is totally fun in single-player with plenty of challenges to complete and adequate AI to race against. That’s not to say single-player is perfect, as the AI will only maintain a moderate speed, not putting up a challenge such that you have to earn the right to to take the lead. Where the fun really come through, though, is playing with friends or competitively online where you can creep up on your opponents, blast them with rockets, and then speed past them into first place. It’s a feeling that just can’t be beat, and makes earning every victory enjoyable.
While I did enjoy my time with the game’s multiplayer, there is no denying that matchmaking in the game is unbalanced and there is no type of leveling or matchmaking system. In one race you could be the fastest racer in the party, while in the next race the person who won is almost two minutes faster than you. This provides an excellent dosage of difficulty, but can also discourage those from playing online.
The visuals are a call back to titles like Jet Set Radio Future, and even the recently released PS VR title Starblood Arena with bright and colorful cel shaded graphics and plenty of style. Survios deciding to use cel shaded graphics was a smart move as the resolution won’t be any cause for alarm. The music, sound effects, and the race commentary are also done exceptionally well with adjustable volume sliders for all the sound components.
As great as the gameplay actually felt, some other gameplay abnormalities would hinder my enjoyment. There were on a few occasions where I got stuck in geometry and had to restart the race due to there being no way to escape or reset yourself on the track. Sometimes I would end up moving backwards after being brought to a halt by an obstacle, despite performing the correct motions and this happened more often than I would care for. Thankfully, though, these annoyances didn’t hamper my overall enjoyment of Sprint Vector.
Overall, Sprint Vector features twelve tracks, eight racers, and nine single-player specific challenge maps, providing a solid amount of content that doesn’t overstay it’s welcome. I can see Sprint Vector being the type of game I keep coming back to just for racing online with friends, even if there is concern of it having any legs past the launch window. It’s safe to say though, Sprint Vector is some of the most fun I’ve had in a VR title. Unfortunately, it can also be very exhausting and there needs to be plenty of space to move your arms in comfortable motions.
The Bottom Line
Sprint Vector is the newest VR sport title to be released and manages be fun to play while also providing a great workout for those who care. Some design flaws—including occasionally clipping into the environments and the MOVE controllers not performing intended motions—hinder the experience. Nevertheless, the core mechanics of Sprint Vector are done surprisingly well and is absolutely an experience you should try if you have access to VR.