SportsBarVR is, as you'd no doubt guess, a virtual reality sports bar, which has all the attractions of a real sports bar minus the alcohol and the live footy. This leaves you with pool, darts, air hockey, and skeeball, with more due to be added in the future.
Pool is the most interesting game on offer here, and it's playable in four forms: three ball, eight ball, nine ball, and Killer. Our favourite of these is Killer as more than two people are able to take part, making it a more enjoyable experience. Every player gets three lives and a life is lost every time a ball isn't potted, with the last one standing being the winner. The gameplay mechanics of pool work really well using the motion controllers so you can move the cue freely and aim in the direction you want with ease. Although the controls may be a bit fiddly and finicky to aim with precision, with a bit of practice we were potting balls left, right, and centre without a hitch.
Darts is another very enjoyable game to play with a friend; similar to pool it has a variety of modes to play, including 101, 301, and 501. The controls for darts are well designed as it's simple to throw the darts but still requires skill to hit the desired area on the board. You use your dominant hand to pick up a dart by holding down the trigger on the Move controller, and you are then able to aim it at the board and hold down the trigger on the opposite controller to lock the dart in place. You can then move the dart back and forth without any sideways movement, allowing you to put some power behind your throw, allowing for a more precise aim.
The other two games on offer – air hockey and skeeball – are shorter and less enjoyable experiences. Neither of them appeared to have had much time spent creating them in comparison to pool and darts. In air hockey, we'd constantly experience a teleporting puck that would often register goals even though we'd hit it away from our goal. Skeeball doesn't suffer from any gameplay issues, but instead it just feels rather lacklustre; the length is too short and only kept us entertained for a few minutes before we were ready to move on to something else.
As you play each of the games available you will earn experience points and level up, which unlocks a whole range of different customisable items. You can collect a selection of hats (a top hat, a fruit hat, a party hat, and so on) as well as cues which are decorated with fancy patterns and pool tables that each have a variety of designs on their cloths. These unlockable items entice you to return for more sports bar action as you just want to progress to the next level to see what you'll unlock.
The entire game is playable with up to six players online, so if you happen to have a friend who has got their hands on a PlayStation VR headset, then you can challenge them to a game of pool, darts, air hockey, or just enjoy some time chilling out. Otherwise, someone online will have to fill that spot for you, and although that isn't a problem, the online community at the present is quite small and therefore it can take a while for you to find a lobby with any life. As a result you end up resorting to playing the anti-social artificial intelligence.
SportsBarVR is a solid collection of multiplayer sports bar games, with pool and darts being the stand out experiences. However, the other experiences on show seem to have been rushed a little to hit PlayStation VR's release date, and the small pool of online players detracts from the overall appeal of the package a little.