Sparc is a virtual reality version of Pong with Tron-like visuals. In a way, it's very similar to PlayStation VR Worlds' Danger Ball. You face off against an opponent, each standing at opposite ends of a long empty corridor, and you must throw a ball at your opponent in order to score points. That's the basic premise, but there's a little bit more to it than that.
While holding your own ball, you're granted a shield that can be used to defend yourself a single time; once used, you must bounce your ball against the far wall behind the other player to replenish your shield. Other than the shield you have a few other forms of defence: you can punch your the ball back in your opponent's direction or side-step to dodge it.
The final significant element of play is strikes: if you hit the area closest to your opponent then they will get a strike against them, this increases both the speed and size of your ball, giving you a slight advantage over your rival. There is a lot of skill needed in order to make good use of each element of the game both efficiently and effectively to outplay the opposition and win.
The tracking of both the headset and the motion controllers for throwing and catching the ball work excellently well with no noticeable issues throughout our playtime. We also didn’t feel any motion sickness or nausea as a lot of the movement is with your hands rather than your head.
The game has 10 single player challenges consisting of throwing and deflecting courses or a combination of the two. You are tasked with throwing or deflecting a ball off your shield in order to hit a handful of targets in the quickest time possible, aiming for the fastest time on the online leaderboards. Although these courses are an absolute blast to play, they are over far too quickly as each one can be completed in just a couple of minutes.
Apart from those 10 challenge levels the entire game is online, therefore making the longevity of the game a bit risky. We've been able to find matches fairly easily for now, but we're worried that the servers will empty beyond the launch honeymoon, and that would be a shame. This is one of the big worries with online-focused multiplayer titles: can it sustain a big enough community to work?
Sparc is a good PlayStation VR game with all the core mechanics to be a sleeper hit; the gameplay is enjoyable and requires a lot of skill. Unfortunately, with very little single player content, the title is pinning all of its success on its small but active online community – and it's hard to predict how long the release's servers will remain occupied.