Genre: Casual, Indie, Racing, Simulator, Sports, Early Access;
Compatibility (headsets): SteamVR, Standing or Room Scale
Platforms: Steam VR
Minimum requirements: Processor: Intel Core i5- 4570/AMD FX 8300, Memory; 16 GB RAM, Graphics: GTX 1060, DirectX: Version 11, Storage: 10 GB available space
Release date: Dec 17, 2020
Skiing is millions of people’s favorite winter activity, which, although expensive, enables you to experience an unmatched level of adrenaline and pure joy from the winter wonderland views around you. Whether you’re well-acquainted with the ski sport or not, trying a VR ski simulator is a unique experience on its own.
RainSoft has reached out to VR Today Magazine and has kindly asked us to check out their winter sports simulator game, Terje Haakonsen’s Powder VR, and share our genuine opinion. This is how our editorial staff had the opportunity to take turns experimenting with this VR game and explore new ways to have winter fun regardless of the current climate conditions.
It is important to mention that our team played this game on a HTC Vive headset. The lack of more advanced VR equipment didn’t impact our experience negatively, and we were able to take advantage of all available game features. But keep in mind that some of the gameplay issues we talked about in the review could be a result of our hardware’s capabilities and differ from other people’s experiences.
Game modes and objectives
There are two options to choose from – you can ski down the mountain tops by yourself and thus master the simulation aspect of the game, or you can compete with others on the slopes. It was great fun figuring out how to move around in the Exploration mode, especially when you’d have to jump from the snow dunes. You can choose between skiing and snowboarding, although we all agreed that skiing is easier to get accustomed to. If you’re the adventurous type, you can also use a wingsuit.
In the Quick Race mode, the player is set to compete against three other AI players in a fast and thrilling downhill experience. However, the game’s developer announced this past summer that they’re striving to integrate a multiplayer mode, which we would love to see.
You can also experience the World Tour mode, in which you have to complete different challenges and win as many medals as possible.
Although the graphics aren’t too detailed, they’re decent for a basic level of immersion. During gameplay, the average GPU utilization was around 70% when adjusted to the highest possible graphics quality on an RTX 3060.
What we didn`t like
Powder VR is still an early access game, which is expected to have more improvements added to the experience. This is probably why there are a couple of downsides to the game, the main one being its ill-functioning tutorial. In the tutorial, the movement of the headset didn’t cooperate with the change of view in the simulation. This was a great setback, which apparently many have reported experiencing. Being unable to have a proper introduction to the game wasn`t a big issue for us, but it can be a challenge for new VR gamers.
The moment you start the game, the screen turns blue, and you have to press the trigger in order to enter the main menu. As I mentioned earlier, the lack of a properly working tutorial made it harder to guide yourself through the game, especially how to navigate the grab buttons. And everyone knows how important getting the hang of the controls is in any VR game.
Hopefully, these issues will be dealt with in the near future.
Powder VR is one of the most thoughtfully designed winter sports VR simulators – it delivers an enjoyable experience for anyone wondering how racing down the snowy slopes feels like, provides a realistic environment, and has very intuitive controls. However, there is a lot of room for improvement, which, although the developer has stated to implement, not much has changed over the past couple of years.
We believe that Powder VR has the potential to become the top VR winter sports simulator if the multiplayer mode is available. Even if there are other features that need improvement, the opportunity to play with friends and other people will instantly make the game more favorable and result in collecting the needed financial resources for further development.
Here, you can find what other exciting VR Sports Games are upcoming.