One thing is for certain, there are some interesting games out there in VR. Take Hurl VR from developers Rusty Oak, a throwing simulation. Yes, it’s that kind of hurl, not the one most might first associate with VR. So the queasy can rest easy, there is nothing to mess with your inner ear here. Well let’s see what this is all about, shall we?
The description of a throwing simulation may see a bit odd at first, but don’t worry, it’s not just you throwing randomly. The goal in Hurl VR is to take a ball and bounce it off various platforms into a goal. It’s a bit like taking a ping pong ball and throwing it off various surfaces at different angles in succession, almost Rube Goldberg-like. At it’s core though it’s really a fun little physics game. Getting the angles and velocities of your throws just right to complete the chain can be quite satisfying.
All told there are 30 different levels in Hurl VR. They start very simple, just one bounce to the goal, then gradually they add more platforms. Then the platforms get angled. Then some will launch the ball, and of course what would it be without some moving platforms as well. Finally of course come portals. That does lend to some variety, but all together it took me just a hair above 30 minutes to complete, without any assists. Not the longest play in the world, but at $5 it’s not the most expensive thing either.
So how is that all important throwing simulation? It’s a bit mixed. I struggled to replicate throws with any consistency. I could replicate my throwing motion, but the ball would at times seem to resist doing what it should. It took until the final level until I could pin down what was the cause, the release point. When I released the ball in game at the same point I would a regular ball, the virtual ball would just sort of float. The speed of the controller didn’t seem to matter if I released the ball earlier than the game deemed to be the proper release point.
The optimal release point in the game seemed to be right near the very end of my arm extension. Grab something and throw it, preferably not heavy. A natural throw would have an arm angle that is roughly between 45° and 135°, depending the kind of throw (or the way you’re facing). But a release point at near full extension is just going to fall nearly straight down. But that very end of the arm motion range is what seemed to actually produce consistent and desirable throws in game. Now is that an issue of that release point being off or possibly some input lag? I’m not sure but the longer you hold your throw, seemingly the better.
Now for whatever reason there may be, if one is having an trouble with a particular level, there are a few assists that can be activated in game. Whether it be stopping moving platforms, making the goal capture the ball further out or adding a trail to follow. I honestly though didn’t see the need to use them. The entire puzzle is predicated on one throw at the very beginning. It shouldn’t take too many throws to hone in on the correct spot to hit that first platform if it isn’t obvious right away. It’s nice to have but probably not very necessary.
Overall though, for the money it is a nice little way to relax and spend some time. Not entirely perfect, but in no way bad either. If you like these sorts of physic type puzzle games, it’s a decent option. While being a fun diversion, I might not go in expecting much more than that. It’s an enjoyable experience that is worth the asking price.