The Playroom VR is a collection of asymmetrical multiplayer minigames that show off the PlayStation VR headset's capabilities in many different ways. It's free and comes with a total of five mini-games to enjoy with your pals: Cat and Mouse, Monster Escape, Wanted, Ghost House, and Robots Rescue. Let's break them all down individually…
Cat and Mouse
In this minigame, the VR player is a cat who is hidden behind some curtains; they have to peek out from behind them to try and catch the TV players, who are playing as mice. The mice have got to collect all of the cheese which litters the kitchen floor without being spotted by the cat. The cat can only catch a mouse if they are moving, so it's essentially a big game of 'What's the Time Mister Wolf?'
The game is short and simple and doesn't involve much as the VR player; only having to move your head forwards and backwards to move in and out of the curtains wasn't much fun. Also, each round feels way too short, lasting less than a couple of minutes, with a winner declared from best of three rounds.
A sea monster is terrorising a city and the bots must escape his grasps and defeat him to save their city. The VR player is a sea monster that uses its head to destroy buildings and helicopters in an attempt to hit the TV players that are running away. The bots must dodge all incoming attacks from the monster and reach the end where they will then be able to pick up objects to throw at the sea beast.
The game is enjoyable for all players and the dodgeball-like end of the game can be a very exciting and competitive experience. The joy of successfully hitting or dodging is great and it is all really emphasised by the monster's silly voice. Everything that the VR player says is repeated in a silly high pitched tone that gives everyone a good laugh.
This game is set in the Wild West, with the VR player taking control of the town's sheriff, equipped with the DualShock 4 which has now been converted into a nifty plunger gun. As the sheriff you are tasked with shooting the bandit from a selection of bots congregated in the bar, the tricky part is you don't know who the bandit is. The bandit is only shown to the players using the TV and they have got to describe his appearance so that the sheriff can find him within the time limit.
The bots come with varying appearances, hats, eye patches, face paint, scars, and they even change the colour of some items in the harder levels to keep you on your toes. Although the game is a simple concept there are a good amount of levels to play through; it works a treat in VR and it's certainly one of the more enjoyable minigames to play with a friend.
Ghost House is a Ghostbuster-esque minigame where you have to clear a haunted house of its inhabitants. Obviously it comes with a twist: these ghosts can't just be seen and captured, instead the VR player has to scan the room with a light revealing the ghosts to the TV players who then have to indicate where the ghost is so that the VR player can vacuum them up into the DualShock 4.
There are four different rooms in the game to clear and, of course, there is a limited time to clear each room. It's great fun following the ghost around the room trying to suck him up with the vacuum cleaner, and it's also very satisfying once you clear a room and get to watch all of the ghosts in your controller get sucked into a van for safe keeping.
This is by far the best experience out of the five games available. We had our doubts on how a 3D platformer would work in virtual reality, but Japan Studio has nailed it in Robots Rescue. The VR player looks over the character that you control and follow the little bot closely as you leap from platform to platform collecting coins and saving the scared and helpless bots from enemies or other hazards. The TV players can also lend a hand by flying around in what can only be described as a hover-craft, sucking and blowing to interact with boxes and fans to access otherwise unreachable areas.
The VR headset allows you to have a better view of the environment that you are in, allowing you to spot hidden areas, coins, and bots easily. The environment is also designed specifically to give the VR player some very cool experiences; for example, at one point you have to lead your character through a cave with over-hanging vines, and the sensation experienced from just walking through these vines with them dangling right in front of your face is quite incredible.
The gameplay is also very unique and puts the DualShock 4's touchpad to good use. You have to use the touchpad to navigate your way across large chasms, by aiming the DualShock 4 at a loop on the wall and flicking up it will launch a grapple and rope that your little bot can jump onto and progress across the gap. It can also be used in the opposite direction to pull down rocky walls that are blocking your path. The amount of effort put into this mini-game is impressive, and we were rather upset it was all over so soon. We will be more than happy if Japan Studio take this short experience and expand into a fully-fledged game.
The Playroom VR is a good collection of couch co-op mini-games that demonstrate the capabilities of the VR headset superbly. Although a few of the games you'll play once and never touch again, Robots Rescue is a standout experience that you'll wish was a fully-fledged game in itself.