It’s taken a couple of years, but Budget Cuts has finally made its way to PlayStation VR. The game was originally released way back in 2018 for PCVR headsets where it was critically acclaimed. I’ve never understood why – until now.
Let me set the scene. It’s the future and you are a worker for TransCorp, a company that loves saving money. Don’t they all? The bad news for you is that human workers are becoming less useful and are being replaced by robot counterparts. Once you’re called into HR, you’re a goner. There’s no golden handshake, just a permanent dismissal… from this mortal realm.
The good news for you is that there is a helper who wants to see you succeed. The game begins with you at your cubicle when you get a phone call from a mysterious lady. She urges you to escape, and to help you get out of a visit to HR, she’s left you a portal gun. Yep, Budget Cuts uses teleportation as a means of getting around, and there’s no alternate option. Mind you, this isn’t a bad thing as teleportation has been built into the game’s core. It’s not as simple as just pointing a few feet ahead and suddenly warping to that spot.
Your portal gun fires small balls, and once they’ve settled after firing (they do bounce around a bit) you can teleport to that spot. You don’t have to, though. You can use the portal as a sneaky peak ahead to see what’s around a corner, lest you jump head-first into one of the formidable killer robots. Normally, I’m not so hot on teleporting as a way of moving around in VR games – I prefer free movement – but, given the limitations of the PS Move controllers, teleporting works really well, and it’s not just there as an option, it’s what the game has been built around on. I quickly got used to it but it took me a long time to realise just how useful a tool it really is. You can reach vantage points, hiding spots, and more.
Stealth is always a difficult thing to juggle in games, and I’ve rarely seen it done any justice in VR. Budget Cuts doesn’t perfect it, but it does a bloody good job. Stealth is not only a viable option here, but it’s actively encouraged. Tackling a robo-murderer head-on isn’t easy and I died more than a few times. Your best bet to stalk the enemy from within the ceiling spaces before dropping down to plunge some scissors into their heads.
Combat is cool, but it’s not easy to pull off. Some weapons work better than others, but for the life of me, I couldn’t throw a knife on target to save my life. It’s just one of those things that has not quite been achieved in VR, and it’s even more difficult to pull off with the basic tech powering the PSVR tracking system. It’s imperfect and at times frustrating, so you might find yourself John McLane-ing through the game by default.
Budget Cuts tells a silly story of automation and the dangers it poses to humanity, and it’s all done very lightheartedly. The voice acting is, for the most part quite good and lends itself to the silliness, but the CEO is just plain annoying, and I always cringed whenever his voice came over the tannoy.
The controls work well, too, with your hands being extended by some nifty tools. It’s really easy to switch between items, even when things get hairy I rarely struggled to switch to my portal gun and make a quick getaway.
While the package as a whole is well worth the wait we’ve endured on PS4, there are some annoyances. During my early hours with the game when I was still learning the ropes, I died often. That in itself isn’t terrible, but the load times are. Death means reloading the level and that can take upwards of 30 seconds. That might not seem so long, but inside the headset, I felt every second of it.
Small niggles aside, Budget Cuts for PSVR is a great game and well worth a look. The story is over in a few short hours, but it’s nice to know that there is a sequel, let’s just hope it doesn’t take another two years to get the second part.
Budget Cuts PSVR Review
Overall - Fantastic - 8/10
Budget Cuts has been a long time coming for PSVR players, and thankfully it has been worth the wait. It’s not perfect, but it’s a solid stealth game with some lighthearted humour to keep things light, despite the tense gameplay.
- Great use of teleportation, not just as a means of movement, but as a tool for stealth and puzzles
- Looks great on PSVR and the tracking is about as good as can be expected
- The humour is on-point, mostly, but there’s some dodgy voice acting that’ll have you cringing in your headset
- Arcade mode adds a few hours to the game’s lifespan
- The story can be beaten in around 4-5 hours, depending on how quickly you get the hang of it
- Tracking limitations of PSVR and the PS Move controllers are a hindrance at times
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Reviewed using PS4 Pro.