One of my fondest memories of gaming as a child was sneaking a go on my Dad’s computer to play some Paperboy. Those little pixels were a world of imagination to my little brain.
Here we are now, some 25 years after my first round of lobbing newspapers through windows, and there’s a VR game that aims to transform those little pixels into a VR experience for the next generation. It sadden’s me, then, that youngsters today won’t know the original Paperboy, but will probably know of its poor imitation.
Enough of my old-man-moaning, let’s get on with the review.
Special Delivery is a VR game so you’ll obviously need to have a PSVR headset. If you don’t have one, get one or don’t buy the game. Fair warning.
Note: The images in this review are from the PC version of the game.
Special Delivery, much like the game it draws inspiration from, is straightforward: deliver your newspapers to the correct houses, avoid the obstacles, gain more customers, make fat stacks of cash. Simple. Or not quite so…
After getting through the game’s opening with some catchy jingles, I was ready to start my rounds. I’d opted to play with the PSVR Aim controller for extra fun and accuracy. No more than 15 seconds into my shift I was on the deck as some old lady got in my way and I couldn’t steer clear of her. I didn’t intend to hit old lady Betty, but the controls just weren’t on my side.
You’ve got your accelerate and brake buttons on the DualShock 4/PSVR Aim controller, as well as the trigger to lob your newspaper towards the houses. Turning isn’t as simple, mind, as you need to lean left and right to steer your flimsy bicycle. It’s far from easy, let me tell you that, and even a few days after playing I’m still struggling.
There’s a lot of cheap deaths with Special Delivery. You’ll get twatted by a van that comes flying out of nowhere, and even if you do see it in advance, the chances are that you’re not going to be able to steer out of the way in time due to the steering being akin to guiding a boat in frozen water. In other words, it’s frigging painful to play and it doesn’t encourage you to keep going. It’s not just a case of it being too hard – something Paperboy genuinely was! – but being too hard to control. Immersion is everything in VR, and when something as simple as the controls don’t gel, there goes your immersion.
Graphically, the game looks alright. It’s nothing impressive and definitely not a showpiece for the technology, but it’s decent enough. Note: I reviewed this game after it had received its 1.04 update that made things a little less fuzzy.
The highlight of the game is in its little nods towards its inspiration, though that’s hardly a compliment, is it? When was the last time you bought a game for its fan-service?
Special Delivery PSVR Review
Special Delivery takes the simple premise of Paperboy and complicates it by jamming it into VR. It could have been good - great even - but the clumsy controls are a deal-breaker in this outing. You'd probably have more fun doing an actual paper round...
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a digital copy of the game bought at the expense of the reviewer. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
*Reviewed on PS4 Slim