Long time viewers will know I love rhythm games (a lot of you came from my Parappa the Rapper playthroughs from over a decade ago) and VR has brought rhythm games into a new era. OhShape is the most recent one to hit PSVR after a great launch on PC. This review focuses on the PSVR version as that is the one I purchased but a lot of what applies here, applies to the PC version too.
OhShape is rhythmic hole in the wall. You choose a track and one of four difficulties and use the two move controllers and the head set to position yourself into various poses to slide through the walls coming towards you. In one of the most genius bits of VR trickery, there is a silhouette (skinnier than my real self) that very accurately maps the movements it thinks you are doing. This helps you line up for the incoming wall and as you breeze through it, you’ll be looking for the next pose.
There are three other mechanics at play too aside from the poses. The first are orange walls to side step, duck or lunge to avoid. The second are red walls to punch through with one or two punches. The third are spinning coins that you’ll need to touch to collect although its more fun swiping them out of the way. These four mechanics make OhShape feel like a pageant contest with Beat Saber and Airtone combined into it and the feeling is intoxicating. All four fit so seamlessly together, you’ll have no issues getting into the flow of the game itself and understanding the mechanics.
OhShape launches on PSVR with 27 songs and they all have four charts with a ‘small room’ variation too as OhShape is designed for some movement. On beginner mode you’ll be doing a few punches, ducking and some standard hands up, down, angel wings and hands on hips poses. It is a nice way to break you in. As difficulties rise, not only do more challenging poses come at you quicker but the whole speed of the treadmill the walls come at you increases too. As the walls have a see-through glean to them, you can see what is behind it and the charts are often done so that you are moving through natural patterns like flapping your wings for example. By the time you are on medium difficulty, you are well into the flow of the game and hard mode is extremely tricky. You can have a no fail mode which will halve your score but its good to use as a practice and get yourself onto the online leaderboards. Scoring works for consecutive perfect shapes up to a four score multiplier but there are also other score modifiers in the options if you want to take the leaderboard challenge seriously.
One of those options which I found very handy was the accuracy meter. OhShape demands exacting poses and I found often that my lanky arms would cause more than a few failures without me really feeling like I’d missed the shape at all. I found that sliding the accuracy down to 0.8 was the perfect solution for me as it really helped let through those poses whilst still penalising me for doing things wrong. It does mean I’ll forever only get 80% of my score though but since I love playing it, I don’t mind so much. This brings me to the only minor distraction I’ve had in the game to date and it is around squatting. When I squat or duck, I naturally move forward and the game notices I have done so and it retracks the walls to fit the games rhythm. It is very clever for doing so but it jars a little. I suspect this is more down to me being a fatty not a fittie though!
The music selection is a mixture of Monstercat styled tracks, bubblegum pop, stadium rock and a couple of other oddities. Some tracks are just 90 seconds whereas others run for four minutes which is a great challenge. The developers have said DLC tracks will be coming in the future and the tracks are already arranged into three albums so I’m intrigued and excited to see what other types of music may come to the game. On PC there is a level editor which naturally isn’t available on console. If that is a deal breaker, go for the PC version instead but otherwise, OhShape is easily some of the most fun I’ve had in VR with a rhythm game all year. You’ll work up a sweat with all the ducking, squatting and stretching you’ll be doing and the experience of all the walls flowing passed you is exhilarating.
A wild ride indeed – who needs Dale Winton? Also, as a side note, I loved the fact a Halloween theme changed up all the coins to pumpkins too. This is a game that will hopefully continue to grow into one of the finest rhythm actions of this generation and beyond.
One of the finest rhythm action / sports VR experiences to date.
Bring on the wall! Great fun.
Mixture of other rhythm games makes it strangely unique and refreshing.
Decent music and track selection.
Plenty of options to scale the difficulty to your needs.
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