What if you attended a party and there was Kid Rock and Joe Dirt making up a new game that was combined with a 3D version of Arkanoid and Racket Ball with some music and instead of balls, you had to play with smashed up cans that they consumed and instead of rackets, you were to hit the cans with a flip flop that was played in a sewer with rats that were shooting skulls from the day of the dead at you as you try to dodge them? I know that would be way out there, but does Developer U24 Solutions somehow bring this craziness of idea to make it a reality? Let’s find out with Slum Ball for the PlayStation VR.
No the video is not a lie, that is me hitting a smashed can into a sewer trying to hit the rats as they are firing skulls at me. At first, I thought was this even possible? Can anything really work in Virtual Reality? The short answer is yes…yes it can. But before you begin, you will want to make sure your Move controller is fully charged as you will be swinging and hitting objects. Now, you can use two Move controllers, however, only one is used at a time. By pressing the T button on the other Move controller, it will be used. Even though I had both Move controllers on, I barely ever switched. But do what’s best for you.
Before you jump right in and swinging, you will want to pay attention to your left as there is a lever that can raise and lower the floor. I jumped right in and some shots felt off, but it wasn’t until I adjusted the floor this way, did I find things to go smoother. To your right, you will see additional levers which are the stages. One of the great things is you don’t have to start out at stage one as you can just go into the higher stages and I appreciate that option.
The more you can keep the object your hitting active while trying to hit the targets, you will be rewarded with health and power-ups that will come in your direction. Some of these power-ups include making what your hitting with bigger or make the object your hitting become bigger and when you add that with fire, things can get pretty good. But it’s when you hit the object and the speed starts to increase while you are trying to collect the health and power-ups and then you happen to miss the object as it flies past you.
I previously mentioned how some targets can rotate and move and it’s these rotating and moving targets that can be frustrating. You have to be able to hit the object with the right amount of speed and pray that your accuracy is spot on, because if it is not hard enough or in the direct line of path, that object will appear as it’s aiming right down to hit the target only to slow down to a halt, look at you, and say “really”? Then when you add the walls that that may have a certain angle that the object can hit and go in a different direction and throw in when there are multiple objects to hit while trying to dodge at the same time, you will be moving some and that can be a good thing. Just don’t give up and like anything else, it will take some practice to get used to things.
Let’s look at the graphics for a moment. Slum Ball uses photorealistic levels and I did notice that some times at the beginning of some levels it would take just a second to have a clear picture. This is not necessarily a bad thing and probably be updated with a patch, but I can only imagine what Slam Ball would like on a PS5 or PlayStation VR 2 headset as the processing power to make the levels come more alive. Listening to the soundtrack while you can hear the can hit the wall is a nice touch and wasn’t washed out by the music. I loved the metal sound as the gate was raising in the earlier levels with the music coming in as it sounded well balanced.
There are some things I would love to see. For one, I would love to see being able to select and add more photorealistic places from like Google Earth to the mix. Imagine playing in the slums while in Paris or Norway. It would be a pretty cool option. And second, adding more cover song music. One of my favorite levels is hearing Californication by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers as you are just cans to the beat of the song. If there was a way to incorporate adding your own music to this type of level along with photorealistic places and leaderboards, it would be some added fun to be had.
Slum Ball presents itself in a playful physics way while not coming off as something it is not and shows that anything is possible with Virtual Reality. When the world comes down on you and it seems you are down as low as low can be, sometimes all that someone may need is to take a flip flop and a can and let it go.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I have some higher scores to gain.