10/10/2018

🏎️💨 Pang Man Part 35: Review: Mario Kart VR 🏎️💨 #MarioKart

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Pang Man Part 35: Review: Mario Kart VR  
Sometimes you read about a game released in Japan and you wish you could jump on a plane right then and there, just to go play it. For me that game was Mario Kart VR.  I love Mario Kart and the chance to experience it in the Virtual World was something unmissable.


Luckily, I didn’t have to travel abroad this time as trusty Google informed me that it was available in the UK! To be honest I googled more on a whim rather than with any real expectation, so I was surprised when my search of "Mario Kart VR London" yielded positive results!
I went to the relevant website (https://www.hollywoodbowl.co.uk/vr?c=o2) and it looked like you needed to book but I decided to go anyhow and hope that the queues were not too big. I hopped on the tube and made my way to Hollywood Bowl in the 02 Arena in North Greenwich
On arrival I bypassed reception and saw that there was a queue at the VR stand. Luckily it didn’t look too long, so I waited patiently in line. The current group that were playing, looked like they were having a blast and it was hilarious when they were virtually grabbing power ups out of the air and throwing banana skins and shells.
I asked the guy in front of me if they had got tickets and he told me that I needed to get them at reception rather than at the booth I was queuing in. "Damn " I thought to myself and so I quickly rushed to the reception to buy my tickets before I lost my spot in the original queue.
The price of the tickets was £7.99 per person, so expensive for a short go (just over 6 minutes) but I went ahead regardless.
Finally, after a bit more waiting it was my go. Up to 4 friends could play together at once and choose from the following characters; Mario, Luigi, Princess and Yoshi. I picked Yoshi and was given a sensor to wear on each hand. A Virtual Reality headset and earphones were then placed on my head.
Instructions were simple, you had break and acceleration pedals, a steering wheel to steer and you used your hands to grab power ups from balloons floating around. You could throw shells and banana skins backwards or forwards or use a hammer to thump your friends!
At the start line everything was so colourful and beautiful. I looked around and waved to my friend. it was strange to see Princess Peach wave back to me. Then the countdown began and off we went!
It was great that the kart we sat in moved as well! I could fee every bump, turns and dip in the road. I started off badly and got hit by a few Thwomps and Piranha plants but managed to drive better later on. Having a headset on meant I could communicate and banter with others during the game.
There were computer opponents as well as human foes.
I managed to edge my way into second place in the end and it was a lot of fun. I was laughing a lot anyhow!  I feel I would enjoy it on a second go, but they would have to add more to the game to attract me for multiple return visits.
Right now, it’s more of an experience (albeit a super fun one!) rather than a fully fleshed out game.  If they released it on home consoles one day it would be great to add power slides, faster speeds and more tracks and weapon variety.

Pros
Grabbing and using virtual weapons using your hands
Great colourful track and graphics
Can chat/mock/banter with others in game
Classic fun Mario Kart with up to 4 friends can play at once  
Kart moves as well

Cons
Quite expensive
Doesn’t have enough complexity or depth for multiple return visits

Other 
Better to wear contact lenses rather than glasses (due to comfort when wearing the VR headset)