A Tough, Yet Rewarding Experience | VR Skater Review

VR Skater is a challenging experience, no way around it, but it’s extremely rewarding when you get going.

VR Skater does two things extremely well:
1. It’s a game that reminds you how tough learning to skate can be and offers an authentic experience to recreate that.
2. It demonstrates how VR could potentially use peripherals for a more in-depth experience.

I say this because VR Skater basically makes you relearn how to skate, with your hands. The motions you typically do with your feet are now done with your hands. Pushing forward, flipping the board, tricks, everything is very similar to the motions you expect with your feet, but with your hands. It’s done really well and the motions all make sense when you erase the urge to use your feet. It was so fluent once I got going, there were times I almost tipped over or lost my balance because I got so infused in the game.

VR Skater
Developed by: DEFICIT Games
Platforms: PlayStation 5 PSVR2 (reviewed on) / Steam
Release Date: August 4, 2023

The game essentially works by using your hands in swinging motions combined with several face buttons. For example, to do a board flip you have to stance yourself, ollie, swing your hands a specific way close to the board (physically), and then press the face button to stop the flip and land. Playing this game sitting down isn’t really an option, and you’ll need a lot of room around you to play.

The game quickly starts to throw more complex moves at you via a tutorial, which is necessary to continue into the core game. I spent hours in the tutorial trying to master the moves (which is why this review took so long). There are grab tricks, grinds, boardslides…basically any trick you can imagine has some type of combo of motion and buttons. Grinding and several other moves are really complicated to do simply because of needing an additional head movement combined with motion to line up.

Thankfully the game’s tracking and controls are spot on. This meant I never really felt like I was restricted by the console (PSVR2) itself or the game. Instead, it always felt like I was the one messing up and needed to learn to get better.

Don’t get me wrong, though, the game is indeed tough. It instantly brought back memories of when I was a kid and simply learning to do basic moves with my board—like turning or trying to simply ollie over objects. Then the game pushes you into board tricks and landing a kickflip becomes a try-and-try again experience. I mean any skateboarder can relate to this experience easily. We were all younger and sat out in the streets constantly trying basic tricks and failing. The only difference here is the board doesn’t go flying when you accidentally launch it, it instead just reappears for you. Thank God.

This is what makes VR Skater so damn cool. It’s not simply an arcade title, like Pro Skater where you pressed buttons and did obnoxious things, it feels more authentic. The more time you spend with it the better you get. It was extremely rewarding to land super simple combos, and then you move on to more complex combos and moves, and feel like a king.

The biggest issue with the game, however, is a lack of overall content. There are only a handful of actual levels available and no real alternative game modes are present. Once you finally ( and we mean finally) get the hang of the game, there isn’t a lot more to expand on. It seems the core game heavily relies on the learning curve to give it longevity. Granted there are a lot of post launch plans for the game (so I’m excited for that), but as it stands right now it seems rather bare.

In terms of visuals, I wasn’t too bothered by it. It’s not the prettiest VR title, but it resembles the classic Tony Hawk games well, and it’s the same period of time I was learning to skate too, so it overall seems fitting with the title.

One of my previous notes states the use of peripherals, and if it’s one genre that will benefit from this it is skating. Anyone remember the board for Tony Hawk years ago? I don’t think we necessarily need an actual board, but maybe some ankle straps to feel motion in your feet would do. This isn’t particularly this game’s issue or anything, but this is what VR Skater did. It made me dream big, while making me have fun at failing hard at learning something new, which shows how ambitious the game really is.

Overall VR Skater is a tough and rewarding experience, and we can’t wait to see how it evolves over time.

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a-tough-yet-rewarding-experience-vr-skater-reviewVR Skater offers an insanely tough learning curve, similar to when you actually learned to skate, but offers a very rewarding experience if you tough it out. While the content is a little lacking for the price tag, the promised post launch content could very well set it over the top.