To The Top hits PlayStation VR with it's gameplay and fun factor mostly intact!
To The Top is easily one of my favorite VR games of 2017. The game released a little over a year ago on the Vive and Rift (and later on Windows MR platforms). Not too long ago, we heard that To The Top would also be making it's way to PlayStation VR, and the port makes perfect sense. First off, To The Top is sort of like a 3D platforming game in first person. You're basically running and jumping from blue surface to blue surface, trying to improve your times as you go along. It's basically an obstacle course race, somewhat similar to Sprint Vector, but much more grounded in the platforming world. Sprint Vector is more Mario Kart than anything, and To The Top is closer to Sonic the Hedgehog or Aero the Acrobat. Platforming games in VR have already proven quite popular on PlayStation VR. Moss, Bound and Robot's Rescue from The Playroom VR all show how platformers can make a nice transition to the world of VR.
So far, most of the VR platforming games we've seen have opted for a 3rd person, living diorama type perspective. Developer Electric Hat Games wondered what it might be like to give the player a first-hand view of what Mario or Sonic experiences as a player guides them through their platforming adventures at breakneck speeds. The difference is, you don't encounter any combat or exploratory sections, instead you're mostly trying to get through the obstacle course as quickly as possible. In fact, this is where much of the enjoyment is to be found in To The Top. In the "just one more time" nature of the gameplay. You always feel like you can shed a few extra seconds off your time, and maybe rise a little higher up the leaderboards.
In the audiovisual department, the game hasn't lost very much in the translation. I can notice a slight dip in the graphical splendor from it's bigger PC brother, but the differences are mostly negligible. The game is as colorful as ever, even if the colors appear slightly more muted when compared directly to the Vive or Rift versions. As for the audio, well, the game remains a toe-tapping good time! To The Top is well known for having one of the best soundtracks in VR gaming. In fact, I think the soundtrack is the single biggest factor in the overall enjoyment of the game. If for some reason you can't stand the music, it would probably greatly detract from your overall enjoyment. (I recommend going into the options and turning the sound effects down slightly while raising the soundtrack volume slightly)
If there's a fly in the ointment for this PlayStation VR version, it's the extended learning curve for the control scheme. We all know that the PlayStation Move wands weren't designed specifically with VR in mind. Despite this, Sony has done a wonderful job of hiding their flaws. However, once in awhile, you'll have a game that struggles to gracefully cope with their limitations. I will fully admit that it took me considerable time to come to grips with how the PSVR version controls. The good news however, is if you stick with it, and give yourself enough time to really familiarize yourself with the mechanics, you'll do just fine, and you'll be jumping around like a maniac in no time. However, if you're the type of gamer that wants to get a feel for a game almost immediately, you'll probably end up somewhat frustrated.
I still need to put many more hours into this PSVR version before I can give a final verdict, but from what I've played so far, I can say that our Vive/Rift review mostly holds up. For $20, you're getting a very solid first person VR platformer. PlayStation VR gamers are truly blessed when you consider that the cream of the crop on PC-VR typically makes it way over to Sony's high-quality HMD. Arizona Sunshine, Killing Floor Incursion and Raw Data are examples of three great PC-VR titles that have made the transition with flying colors and I'd say that To The Top, despite some slight control issues is right there with the rest of them. PSVR gamers are a spoiled bunch!