It is pretty much public domain that I am one of the unlucky few who suffers from VR sickness (I think I might have mentioned it once or twice), so when ChromaGun was announced as getting the VR treatment I was both excited and concerned at the same time. Having played and loved the original (read my review here) I was all set to don my VR goggles and give my ChromaGun a dusting off – but at the same time I could feel my stomach churning at the thought. So now ChromaGun VR is finally here, was I right to be concerned?
- Developer: Pixel Maniacs
- Release Date: 19th February, 2019
- Price: $19.99/£15.99/€15.99
ChromaGun VR is pretty much a straight port of the original – no new levels, no new content, just a straight up rip and conversion to VR. In this respect the game itself still stands up in the couple of years since its release. Gameplay is fun, and admittedly it has been that long since I played the original that the puzzles themselves took a bit of sussing out. This wasn’t a game that I came back to and blitzed because I could remember how to solve every puzzle. The added sensation that VR naturally gives does make you feel more absorbed and part of the game, and when things start going pear-shaped there is an extra level of panic as you try to proceed through each of the puzzle rooms set out before you.
For any newbies who missed ChromaGun the first time round, the mechanics are as follows: You are a test subject in a lab who is given a ChromaGun – a big bulky paintball gun essentially, that you can use to paint certain walls and floating orbs called worker droids in bright primary colours. Mixing primary colours creates secondary colours, and orbs of the same colour are attracted to the walls painted in the matching shade. With me so far? Your job is to navigate each room, painting walls or orbs so that they go where you need them, unlocking doors and what not until you can arrive at the exit. This is the diluted version, but what ChromaGun does is take a simple idea and subvert it enough that you do genuinely have to think about some of the puzzles before you. As I said in my review of the original, comparisons to Valve’s Portal are an obvious and positive one to make, and ChromaGun is an enjoyable game in this “lab experiment gone wrong” genre.
ChromaGun VR can be played with either the control pad or the Aim controller. I played with the controller and in a seated position in the hopes that I could keep the nausea at bay but after a valiant effort it soon reared its ugly head. ChromaGun VR doesn’t offer the teleport method of travel, so controlling your movement within the world is still down to the analogue sticks, and quickly the sudden jerk as you turn left and right had my head in a spin.
Aiming using the controller works well enough but for the first few levels it did keep jarring me out of the experience as I had to aim the controller like a gun, which didn’t feel natural or intuitive until I’d gotten used to it. This, combined with turning with the analogue stick, sent my head into overdrive. If I turned too far one way I would naturally overcompensate by quickly turning back with a quick flick on the analogue stick, as anyone who has played any FPS will know. This works fine in Call of Duty, but stick a VR headset on and this quick transition movement becomes a thing of nightmares, at least for me. This was a steep learning curve, and I quickly found myself playing ChromaGun VR very tentatively, thinking about each movement before I did it – did I need to move here or could I turn my head and peek? Would a spin do or a sidestep? This all felt very unnatural, and it was a shame that the VR aspect was taking away so much of the experience for me. Once I had a handle on it and had it l sorted out it was all gravy, except I did have to give myself a break after every couple of rooms in order to prevent me decorating the carpet with my lunch.
As I’ve just touched upon, VR nausea in ChromaGun VR is bad. Like really bad. So much so that I hate myself for it, because that aside the game itself is really good. Yes it is a straight port, and yes a few new levels wouldn’t have gone amiss, but the game itself does stand up – and if a cure for VR induced illness was invented it would be the first game on my list to play nausea free, but as it stands that is not the case. The jerky movements of turning, in a game that requires you to do this a lot, really put my stomach in a spin. Would teleporting have helped? I don’t know, but it does seem strange that it isn’t even there as an option.
Personally I found ChromaGun VR to be a lot harder to review than I anticipated. How do I review a game that I enjoy but that makes me feel ill that I can’t play it the way I would like? Separating VR weakness (on my part) from gaming goodness (on ChromaGun VR’s part) is a really tricky business. The game is good, and I know that if my head wasn’t spinning and my stomach wasn’t gurning I’d be having a blast in ChromaGun VR, but as it stands my weakness to virtual reality is outweighing the enjoyment I am getting through playing it.
ChromaGun VR PSVR Review
If you are VR averse like me, then my advice is to play the original. It’s a great little puzzler that I highly recommend. If you’re one of the lucky ones who can enjoy VR in the way that it was intended, then go ahead and pony up the money for ChromaGun VR and know that this lowly PurePlaystation-eer is incredibly jealous of your asbestos lined stomach.
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a digital copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Reviewed using base PS4.
Stuart has had a long and lengthy love affair with video games, since he first woke up to find Santa had left him a Sega Master System complete with Alex the Kidd built in no less. Since then, his thumbs have become calloused and he has missed many a nights sleep in the pursuit of those elusive “5 more minutes…” but his love has never wavered.