“May the Force rise to meet you” as the priests and altar boys of the Star Wars universe say. In Beat Saber, a VR rhythm game described by its creators as “a mashup of Guitar Hero and Fruit Ninja”, this is exactly what happens. The Force, manifesting here as coloured panels with glowing arrows painting on them, fly toward you in time to a healthy beat. You’ve got to hit them with your laser sword (VR wand things) to keep on bumpin’. It looks neat, and much better demonstrated in the following video.
Obviously, it will not look half as graceful when you’re playing it. It’ll be out on HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, and the music will be composed by the developers, at least at first. Here’s what Jan Ilavsky, one of the studio heads at Hyperbolic Magnetism, had to say when we asked where the music will come from.
“We will release it on early access with our own music first. In next updates the editor will be released and probably some integration with streaming services like Audioshield has. There won’t be any procedural levels, everything will be created by hand by us or by the community, because we think this really feels very different.”
Audioshield was the VR follow-up to Audiosurf. It was made by a different developer, Dylan Fitterer, but has a similar idea. It tasks you with blocking incoming notes with an energy shield rather than slicing them with a bright stick (it was also one of our 23 best VR games on PC, says Alec). It allowed you to play songs streaming from YouTube but lacked Spotify integration when Alec last played.
As for Beat Saber, it looks fun but it has large spaceboots to fill if it wants to dance off against the original Star Wars rhythm game. It’s due for release on early access in “early 2018”.