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PSVR2 GamesReviews

Kayak VR: Mirage Review

One thing virtual reality is great at is offering simulation of activities, and some of these are done really well. Kayak VR: Mirage is looking to offer realistic simulation of you guessed it… Kayaking, something we haven’t really seem attempted in the medium. I have been taking to the waters, but does it float or sink?

GAMEPLAY

As this is a kayaking simulator you will paddling using simulated movement, with longer and deeper stokes making you move faster. You can hard turn by pushing one end of the paddle down hard into the water, with stokes in the water with one side of the paddle turning you slowly in each direction. This allows for full immersion in the simulation and the movement of the kayak. Everything is covered in a tutorial in a swimming pool and I would recommend completing this before taking to the real waters.

The game comes with four locations Papagayo in Costa Rica, Bjørnøya in Norway, Cierva Cove in Antarctica and Bjørnøya in Norway. Each of these locations have day and night options, with most offering the option to start from different positions. With Bjørnøya offering an additional setting of a storm – and with the rain and rough waters this is my favourite course to visit.

Better Than Life have done well with the few maps currently available, to give you as much content as possible. By offering the different options mentioned above and also bringing with it three game modes – these are race, free-roam and tour modes.

The race mode brings the most replay value to the game. This brings a number of races across the four locations, allowing for different difficulties from the place you start on the level or day and night setting. This is a mode that allows you try and set best times by going through check points that will place you globally and against your friends in leaderboards.

In free-roam mode, you are just left to take your time paddling through the courses and taking everything in from your surroundings, without the pressures of racing. For me I found this the perfect mode for both having a nice leisurely row or even getting in some much needed practice in paddling for the races.

If you just want to relax and take in the locations and the beauty of them, then make sure to jump into tour mode. This means you can just sit back and let the game control the movement for you, sitting back and relaxing this way is a great way to de-stress and just be whisked away to one of the games beautiful locations.

PRESENTATION

Graphically this is the most impressive I have seen in VR and it really is truly gorgeous. From the best looking water I have ever seen in virtual reality and little touches to each setting be palm trees swaying, dolphins chasing you, penguins on the ice and dusty red cliffs. This really brings to the four areas to life and gives the immersion to go with the realistic water.

Adding to the stunning visuals and realistic simulation you get ambient music that is mixed with sounds to bring each environment to life. Be it bird calls as they fly overhead, the water breaks as you paddle or the rain splashing on your kayak in the rainy course in Bjørnøya. All of this mixed with the haptics and visuals and you really are truly immersed in what you are playing.

COMFORT/CONTROLS

The team have all bases covered when it comes to standing, seated and room-scale. However, I play it seated – and not sure what the benefit standing play would be as you would be seated in the Kayak. They also offer vignettes for turning, collisions or as a permanent feature and some stability options to keep the kayak at a comfortable angle – for those who might struggle with the movement at first.

There is no use of the buttons on the controls outside a navigating menus and the kayak being controlled as per the information provided in gameplay. Better Than Life have added immersion using the Sense controllers features to simulate water resistance to make your strokes feel unique, to give the feeling of the rain hitting your hands and the final touch being head haptics when you crash into rocks.

LONGEVITY

With this being more of an experience than a full game with the content that is currently available, you will likely find you dip and out of the game. But, the main longevity of Kayak Mirage is going to come if you take to the race mode and want to try set better times for yourself and challenge the leaderboards either globally, against your friends or both.

REVIEWED USING PLAYSTATION VR 2

For the purposes of transparency, this review was created using a review code provided by the company or their respective PR company. The use of a press code does not affect my judgement of the product.

REVIEW OVERVIEW

Kayak VR: Mirage brings a fantastic kayaking simulator to VR, and something that is completely different to what is available on the launch of PSVR2. The controls, mixed with the realistic looking water, locations and sound effects bring a truly immersive experience – adding in the haptics and you really are in for a treat. With the different modes available it means you can play it to suit what you want from the game and also make it perfect for showing people what VR is capable of.

game details

Release Date: February 22nd 2023
Developer: Better Than Life
Publisher: Better Than Life
Price: US $22.99 / CA$ 30.99 / €23.99 / £18.99

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