Sports Bar VR is one of the latest releases to hit PlayStation, and we took it for a spin this week. Admittedly, my first experience with the game wasn’t so great, and I was ready to slam it completely, but it just takes a little effort and practice.
As soon as you enter this reality, you’ll find yourself in a tutorial, a very basic one, you’ll choose your dominant hand for calibration, and learn how to move around the bar and play different games. You start out at the pool table, the natural choice for any bar game, but you are not limited to staying at the table. Using some slightly confusing controls, I managed to teleport over to the Air Hockey table since it’s a pretty simple concept and I assumed it’d be a fun test.
Grab a paddle and off you go…. Hit the puck however you want, bounce it off the sides, and shoot hard or soft. You have total control, and the motion wand does a pretty solid job of tracking and it stays pretty accurate even with some speedy movements across the screen. Score is kept at the top of the table, and each goal will net you some 5 experience points. You can drop your paddle and switch up to another part of the bar at any time, so let’s talk about the darts mini-game. Unfortunately, this one isn’t so accurate with the wand controllers, but it does have an optional auto-aim to make it a little more user-friendly, although it won’t allow you to shoot a bulls-eye every time so there is still a level of challenge. The motions just don’t feel too real if you plan to hit anywhere on the dartboard, and I found myself firing darts in all directions. The accuracy compared to the air hockey felt like I may as well have been using a Wiimote. The remaining game is Skeeball, similar to a Basketball dunking sort of table, but with multiple point rings to hit with your ball. The concept is simple, but the move controllers have are pretty sensitive and you’ll end up needing a lot of practice if you’re going to aim to reach a high score here.
Let’s get back to the pool table. This one does have a steep learning curve, primarily because some of the motions don’t really reflect real life, plus the overly sensitive move controllers make it difficult to get the position you want with the cue, and then successfully hitting the cue ball with the correct amount of force. For the first 30 minutes, I was convinced I hated the game, but it eventually becomes a little more comfortable and you’ll start to get the hang of your shots. Besides the standard 9 ball pool, you can also choose 3 or 8 ball, but the game doesn’t tell you any of the rules so if you’re unfamiliar, you’ll have to look it up online yourself.
If you’re playing solo, Sports Bar VR is definitely going to be a title to pass over, but it does shine online where you can have up to six players in the virtual lounge at one time. If you play offline, expect the bar to be empty, with no music or anything, which doesn’t accurately reflect a sports bar in real life. Sports Bar is a party game, and it’s definitely a good time to play with some friends on the PlayStation Network.
Overly sensitive controls everywhere except air hockey, slightly confusing controls otherwise. The games are decent fun though, once you figure out how to play them well.
The environment looks like a classy lounge, more than what I call a Sports Bar, but it's pretty to look at.