I have a new addiction in VR, and it caught me a little by surprise. Rec Room, a social VR app with quite a bit to do, has been available in beta on PSVR for a little bit now. My first experience with Rec Room is through this beta, and it really blew me away.
Here's a quick breakdown for anyone who is looking for something new!
Ok, so what is Rec Room?
Rec Room is a social game from Against Gravity that is ambitious as it is fun. Remember the youth rooms and recreation centers of your childhood? well it's like that, only a thousand times bigger. It's like the youth room you would have had if you were designing it and had infinite cash.
Like Roblox and Minecraft, graphically, the game itself is fairly simple. It isn't going to be winning any art awards any time soon, but it doesn't need to. What makes the game so fun is the interaction between you and all the other visitors to the Rec Room and the games you can play there. With the release of the PSVR open beta happening on November 21st, now is the perfect time to give you some idea of the awesome stuff you can do.
The Rec Room
The Rec Room itself is an open space to interact with other players. It has tables, chairs and a few games and hidden toys to play with while you make new friends ready to play all the team games available through all the assorted doors. It really does feel like a Rec Room too. There's a basketball court, dartboard, Table Tennis, even a punching dummy, all to be used casually while talking to people.
Once you are ready to call those people friends you just reach your hand out and shake, or if you just want to party up you can fist bump and you'll be added to a party together. These parties are especially helpful when you move on to play the assorted game rooms.
Game Rooms are where Rec Room really shines. Currently there are 6 Game rooms, each with a specific game. These games include sedentary games like Charades using a 3d paint gun, to a more physical games like Paintball. All of the games have their own unique play style and each of them are really fun.
Playing paintball is probably one of my favorite things to do in Rec Room as the team work needed to win is pretty high and the physics for the paintballs and the way you move make it entertaining, and physical. Actually the physics in all of the games is very good. When playing the giant soccer game, it's a little like rocket league, the ball bounces around like crazy as you would expect and when playing disc golf the disc flies just like you expect from a frisbee.
These games make up the backbone of your day to day Rec Room game play. They are light, fun and keep you entertained with a group of friends for hours. Each game keeps a running tally of you and your friends high score and will keep you coming back for more.
There are currently 3 quests available in Rec Room for you to play. Quests are like little story missions that are dressed up almost as amateur theater pieces. Each one takes place on a stage and look like the scenery is cut out of wood and painted by the Rec Room visitors. You get to play assorted parts from wizards, knights and archers, to space marines fighting to take back your ship. Because the quests are linear it feels much more like a normal game while still maintaining the quirky, funny feel the rest of Rec Room has.
The quests are also best played with a team. They are difficult to beat and teamwork is essential. Using a bow while your friend defends you with a sword and shield feels great and the physics of pulling and firing the bow is excellent. Another charming way the game makes it all feel very friendly is how your team revive each other. Simple High Five your friends ghost and poof, back alive to fight again. The game just oozes fun times and happiness, a refreshing change from the doom and gloom of a lot of games these days.
Quests are, I think, the biggest draw of Rec Room. The ability to play fun little quests while you level up your avatar and giggle and guffaw your way through with a bunch of friends or strangers is compelling, especially if you have young adults in your family who want to play too.
Private Rooms in Rec Room are going to be the unsung gem of this game. From here you can create your own private instances of all the Game Room and Quests that are in the game but without the worry of those pesky strangers showing up and ruining it for you and your friends. Private games are especially great for hosting younger kids so they can try to play without you worrying about swearing adults or any inappropriateness. Setting a game is simple, your wristwatch is your gateway to everything you need, friends, creation tools and party settings. The watch is a clever mechanic that lets you keep your start menu always handy.
The other side of Private Rooms is specific rooms, separate from the game rooms for you to hang in. Imagine a virtual games den with Table Tennis, a long table with white boards for, what I hope one day will be, D&D, and even a stage for stand up or 3d Charades. the highlight for me though is poker table. Complete with a set of cards and even poker chips you can sit down with your friends and play some virtual poker or any card game really, just like you would in real life. Just the Private rooms alone are worthy of the cost of the game in my eyes, all the other social interaction is just icing on the cake. And they are actually 3 different types of private room, the one I spoke about being my favorite, though park does leave you room for the last awesome thing.
The final and perhaps one of the most interesting parts of Rec Room is the sand box machine. This machine lets you turn any private game room or private room into anything you can think of. You can use it to turn the Park private room into your own Disc Golf course, or paintball course, you can make private quests or just make a place that you and your friends can hang out in whenever you like.
The sandbox machine lets you select any object in the game world and pull it out of the machine to set up however you want, from weapons to furniture and even building materials there is almost no end to the places you can make.
So you like it then?
As you can see, I love it. Rec Room though is fast becoming one of my favorite things to do on my off time, sometimes Quests, sometimes games rooms, but always fun. When you add the private rooms and sandbox you have a world worth playing in, and this kind of world building really elevates this game from something good to something a little special. I would recommend this game to just about anybody. Go, have fun like you used to as a kid.
Have you guys played Rec Room yet on your Vive or Rift? maybe you were lucky enough to get into the Closed beta? Let us know your thoughts in the Comments below.