Ever since mainstream virtual reality became an established and semi-affordable thing, I’ve had one recurring thought: Mario Kart VR would almost definitely make me vomit with the force of a powerful wave, but my word would I play it anyway.
Well, it now officially exists, and after watching a brief trailer roughly 27 times, here’s my take: Mario Kart VR would almost definitely make me vomit with the force of a powerful wave, but my word would I play it anyway.
What’s so impressive about this 30-second teaser is that it manages to totally sell the concept, something other VR titles struggle with if you haven’t actually experienced it yourself. Seeing a POV glider pierce through the wind and hit the track at top speed is nausea-inducing itself, but just look at Mario getting nailed with a green shell and tell me you’re not 100% all in for this game. Total Mushroom Kingdom immersion as you leave the devious little plumber in the dust.
Unfortunately, anyone itching to play Namco Bandai’s Mario Kart Arcade GP VR spinoff will need to head for Japan, because at present it won’t be going any further than the arcades of Nintendo’s native country. But just seeing everything you associate with the long-running series (tactical banana placements, lunging piranha plants, vibrantly colourful tracks) from an entirely new perspective is pretty exciting.
The game runs on the HTC Vive, and according to Ars Technica players sit in a small kart that bumps and shakes as they drive. Hand movements are detected by Vive trackers attached to the back of the wrists, making grabbing power-ups an involving process in itself. Also shown off is a new hammer item that lets you whack players directly in front.
Again, not even a whisper about a western release, but I’ve got my sick bag. I will be ready.