Imagine Pixar’s Up! combined with gentlemanly pistol duelling. Got it? Good. That’s literally what Balloon Chair Death Match amounts to.
Not doing anything to further the cause of VR games not all looking like experimental dalliances and speculative tech demos, UK-based indie developer Climax Studios have today released Balloon Chair Death Match onto Steam Early Access, for both the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive headsets.
They do have a little bit of form in this area. having already released eight – yes, eight – VR titles in the platform’s short lifespan. That’s literally a game a month since the Rift released in March 2016.
On the one hand that’s great, because it means their room scale VR (can we call it that when you’re in the sky, aloft on a balloon-powered armchair?) chops are solid; they want to be, with all that practice they’re getting. But it does also contribute to the negative feeling that virtual reality is still more of a plaything than a serious gaming platform, which is a shame, because Balloon Chair Death Match looks rather fun.
You sit in a chair, suspended by party balloons on string, and endeavour to pop the balloons of other players before they pop yours. Essentially Balloon Chair Death Match is the Mario Kart balloon-based scoring system with a bit more peril attached to it. Obviously the key target here is multiplayer, but there will also be single-player challenges for when you can’t find friends or strangers to take pot-shots at.
While Balloon Chair Death Match looks brilliantly stupid – and stupidly brilliant – we can’t help thinking it would be even better if there was some form of local multiplayer possible. While playing VR feels like the injection to the industry that the Wii provided 10 years ago, it’s missing that social element.
If VR is going to exist on experimental titles and what amount to little more than fun party games, then there really needs is the ability to have multiple players in a room together. You know, in an actual party. Watching someone make a dick of themselves in VR and passing the headset around is fun for a while, but it’s hardly the karaoke machine-replacing prowess of Wii Sports or Mario Party.
Balloon Chair Death Match costs £18.99 / $24.99 US over on Steam in Early Access, currently with 40% off for early adopters.