Earlier this month PS4 players were given the chance to experience Race the Sun in VR, courtesy of a free update that was released for the abstract “endless runner”. The original game tasked players with piloting a solar-powered spacecraft towards the sun whilst avoiding collisions with objects or lingering in shadow. Along the way you’d find collectibles and even face small sub-missions that tested your skills, and the game was broken up into regions, with each transition into a new area being met with a chilled collectible sequence. I never really got into the game when it was first released, but after it was given away as part of the instant game collection on PlayStation Plus I could understand how people could lose evenings to a game that takes the concept of high-score chasing and delivers a game where you’re literally chasing your previous effort to race the sun. Also worthy of note is the abstract nature of the environment, with plain 3D shapes littered around the landscape, sometimes tumbling in front of you or forming canyons or tunnels that you must enter at speed. Indeed, since you’re always hurtling along at such a velocity you can’t afford to take your eyes off the action for a moment, and it’s the kind of game where you feel like if you get in the zone you can navigate through terrifying obstacle sequences with ease.
Race the Sun in VR is pleasant and smooth
The update allows you to play Race the Sun in VR – if you own the PlayStation VR headset, you can apply an update to the game and when you launch the application you’ll see a new option in the main menu labelled “VR Mode” – upon selecting this option you’ll see the usual prompt to connect and turn on the headset, and then the VR-friendly main menu will initialise on the headset. Playing Race the Sun in VR is quite straightforward – the game still uses the DualShock 4 in this mode and there aren’t any special gameplay mechanics I could see – but the headset offers a more immersive view of the gameworld, wrapping the environment around you (to an extent, at least; it felt like an 180-degree cone of vision where anything “behind” that threshold was a murky grey fog) and placing you directly in the world as opposed to locking the environment within the confines of the TV. Impressively, it still looks just as good and runs and feels like it runs as smoothly with PSVR, and I didn’t come away with any nausea after playing (although my sessions with the game were fairly brief – extended periods of play with other VR games quickly became a bad idea after one night of Rez Infinite bingeing.)
Race the Sun in VR is a welcome update
Whilst I enjoy the PlayStation VR games and experiences I’ve tried so far, there’s still a lot of VR content that I’d like to see… however, I’m limited by my Store wallet funds (in an ideal world, everyone would be able to buy all of the games) and my “gaming schedule”, which was previously being taken up by Nier Automata‘s campaign and is currently being occupied by the mammoth Atlus JRPG Persona 5. Having the opportunity to play Race the Sun in VR is more than welcome – it’s a free update for a game that can be enjoyed in short bursts, and you won’t feel nauseous playing it. (It also helps that the game’s aesthetics have such an abstract minimalism to them – I can only wonder how such a game would fare if the landscape and colour pallete was busier…)
You can enjoy Race The Sun in VR if you have the game and have applied the free update. If you’re a long-term member of PlayStation Plus, Race The Sun was given away in 2015, so be sure to check your library