Space flight games usually come in two flavors. You've got the OMGBUTTONS games like Elite: Dangerous where you can spend hours basically moving dirt from one side of a virtual world to another for fun and the landing sequence is an actual source of anxiety because you already blew up a ship once today by screwing it up. It takes a special kind of patience and mentality to enjoy those games. The other kind of space flight game is the hollow shell, the games where you don't concern yourself with things like non-Newtonian flight and instead focus on either racing or blowing things up. These games are amazing for shutting your brain down and losing yourself to the non-stop action typically contained within.
For those who never played the first one, The Collider 2 fits in the second category as twitchy flight game that's almost on rails. This kind of game doesn't typically lend itself well to VR as a bolted-on concept, but this particular twitchy flight game forces you to think about what happens when you use your body as the twitch controller. The end result is bizarre, clumsy, and insanely fast-paced fun all rolled into one.
You really only do one thing in Collider 2, which is fly through a tube. This particular tube is an enemy base, and you're flying through it to scoop up coins and alien tech and blast anything vaguely enemy-like straight to hell. Like the arcade games of old you're on a rail through this tube, where your ship only fires if an enemy is in the crosshairs and your only job as the pilot is to navigate the rapidly closing blast doors and dodge a series of poor construction choices on your way through this vessel. If you make it all the way through, you won and are scored based on your performance. If you used your turbo boost too much or ran into too many things, you blow up and have to start the round over again. The game mechanics couldn't be more simple, until you throw VR into the mix.
With an HTC Vive on, your head becomes the controller for this ship. As the craft sits in front of you, well within arm's reach, you move your head around to navigate this little craft. raise or lower your chin to make the ship go up and down, lean left or right to push the ship in those directions. There's no looking behind you or leaning forward to accomplish more, just using your face as a virtual joystick. That means you're moving around a TON in this game, and it also means when you crash or use too much boost your ship explodes spectacularly right in your eyeballs.
Whether or not you have a VR headset, The Collider 2 is great fun for $10.
As much fun as it is to dive around in VR to navigate the same corridor with slightly different challenges in front of you every level, it's clear this game wasn't really "made" for VR. For starters, you need to use a traditional gamepad to play the game but there's no actual reason for this. The Vive gamepads are just as capable of sitting at your side to do nothing but apply your boost and navigate the weirdly confusing menus, but they aren't supported. It's not a huge deal, but it's clear when actually playing that VR is an afterthought.
The real core to this game, once you get past the novelty of twitching around to complete levels, is to try your luck at the weekly competition. Instead of multiple levels to score on, you get one endless level that grows more complex as it speeds up. Your score is ranked globally, and the winner each week gets all the bragging rights. In my testing, having a VR headset on didn't really give you much of an advantage. It could be argued one way or the other, but whether you're using a gamepad or a VR headset to nudge this vessel the best twitch in the right direction is going to earn you victory.
Whether or not you have a VR headset, The Collider 2 is great fun for $10. The pacing makes it easy to get sucked in to a mostly plot free experience, and the online competition is enough to keep just about anyone busy for quite a while. It's simple, high-speed fun, and that is the best way to kill an afternoon sometimes.