PS4

Review: The Angry Birds Movie 2 VR: Under Pressure – PS4/PSVR

UPDATE: This review has been updated to show that PS Move controllers are not compatible with the game.

The Angry Birds Movie 2 VR: Under Pressure has one of the best concepts for integrating VR play with couch co-op. It’s also a licensed game that uses the license to create a game that’s not bad. The controls can be a little off, but, if you have Angry Birds’ fans in your house and don’t mind the short length of the game, or if you missed it when it was released digitally, you can check out the recently released physical version of this game.

The story in the game (I’m not writing the full title again until the end) is taken from the new movie. The birds and piggies learn that there is an enemy that threatens them both, so they put aside old grudges to fight together. They board a submarine to go to Eagle Island to meet this foe and collect treasures, including a stolen crown, and avoid hazards along the way. The setup is short, and it’s really all you need to start venturing out into the ocean.

Having a sub doesn’t necessarily make you the master and commander of the sea. The captain of the ship is the person using the PSVR helmet. You can operate a giant magnet on a swivel that can pick up and throw items, including other players. It’s also the weapons control for any torpedoes and plungers. The torpedo will destroy obstacles, and the plunger will pull treasure chests into your sub.

Three other players can join as part of your crew, and I really hope we see more games that utilize this mechanic. While you are inside the helmet of immersiveness, they can watch their characters moving on the TV. They can pick up, move, and combine items to keep your projectiles fully stocked, clear the deck of any junk or dynamite, or put your treasure blocks on pads to be tallied at the end. The way everyone works together successfully or when you see your crew running wildly with no clear idea of what to do can make or break your sub, sometimes literally.

You can damage your ship and sink. Some treasure chests contain dynamite that will explode if you don’t dump it in the furnace quickly. It can destroy any treasure, torpedo, or plunger ammo it’s near, ruining a lot of your efforts by setting off a chain explosion. It also sends your little crew flying across the screen with a burning backside, so it’s not all bad. There are external enemies like giant squids and barriers that need to be blown out of your way. If you receive enough damage, it’s down to Davy Jones’ locker with you.

Playing by yourself is possible, but I don’t recommend buying the game for that. If you are a solo captain, you can switch between the giant magnet up above and a member of the crew with a click of the triangle button. It works, but the game is clearly designed to take advantage of more people. It’s also the only way you will manage to get all three stars for each level. Playing with other people makes this game much more fun.

Unfortunately, TABM2VR:UP has some issues in the controls. The game directs you to put your controller in a certain space to start a level, and you can only use a DualShock 4 controller. PS Move controllers are not compatible. Even with my trusty DS4, the control accuracy was still a little squishy in places. There was at least one level in which the camera believed my controller was backwards or twisted to a far left or right position. It happened again and again. I restarted the game a couple of times to fix it, and I finally the beat the level. Other levels had some tiny bits of that, but nothing else came close.

There are some other minor problems. There are blocks the captain cannot move with the magnet, because they’ll blow up. As a captain who doesn’t like explosions on my ship, I let the crew handle that. The issue was that some of the blocks would stick in places, and I couldn’t use another block to knock it loose. The crew couldn’t reach it either. This was only an occasional thing, but it can happen. It can be difficult to see the screen with a giant magnet in your way, and you might miss something.

On the plus side, the visual presentation is good. There are a few minutes of animation pulled directly from the movie, and it looks and sounds great. The in-game visuals are cartoony, and I liked them in VR and on the TV. The levels are bright and colorful just like the game on your phone, and kids will love it.

The only other thing I will briefly mention is that the game is short. There are around 30 missions total, and nine of those are story missions. There are extra, bonus, and challenge missions, and I would recommend you keep going after the story ends. Since the game isn’t introducing new concepts, it can take the existing ideas and combine them in new ways. You can replay missions to gain extra stars, but the levels themselves are not very long.

The Angry Birds Movie 2 VR: Under Pressure is a decent, although short, multiplayer game. It has one of the more creative ways to combine couch co-op and the PSVR, and it incorporates those ideas very well. There are some control issues that might frustrate VR players and some issues with items being out of reach, but it is a licensed game that looks great and generally plays well. If you have family or friends over for an evening, it’s not bad, but I wouldn’t recommend it for solo players.

The Angry Birds Movie 2 VR: Under Pressure PSVR Review
  • Overall - Not Bad - 5.9/10
    5.9/10
5.9/10

Summary

The Angry Birds Movie 2 VR: Under Pressure manages to deliver a decent experience that only gets better with friends. It’s interesting mechanic of combining PSVR with other players is one that I hope to see more developers take on, but it is hampered by some control issues. Even though the game is short, it will entertain you and a group of other players, but single players won’t find the value here.

Pros

  • Great combo concept for PSVR and flat versions playing the same game in multiplayer.
  • Nice presentation with it’s use of licensed video and colorful, in-game visuals.
  • A game that can be enjoyed by the whole family.

Cons

  • Not recommended for single player only.
  • Controls can a little imprecise to controller-tossingly bad.
  • Game is short if you don’t replay levels to gain all three stars.

Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a physical copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy. 

Reviewed using PS4 Pro.

The Angry Birds Movie 2 VR: Under Pressure can be purchased from your favorite retailer (Amazon, Best Buy, Target, GameStop, etc.) and it will run you $34.99 USD. 

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