Space Channel 5 VR: Kinda Funky News Flash (PlayStation 4) Review

By Luke Hemming 18.08.2020

Review for Space Channel 5 VR: Kinda Funky News Flash on PlayStation 4

After an 18 year hiatus, the cult franchise has returned to a round of applause, with a new virtual space to conquer in the form of VR. With rhythm action games taking a long break in popularity themselves, does Space Channel 5 VR ride the wave of nostalgia, and reinvigorate a dying franchise, or does it fall flat on its face as a VR standout?

For those unfamiliar with the franchise (18 years is a long time to wait for a new entry), the Space Channel series follows the adventures of reporter Ulala, finding news stories, and taking the perfectly normal stance of solving the issues of the general public through a dance off. From aliens to rogue dance groups, there wasn't any problem that couldn't be solved with a soft shoe sway. With only a handful of titles in the series it's a credit to the quality of previous efforts that such a large fanbase has been built. A return was well overdue, and with a VR system now accessible and affordable to most players, a new attempt should be an easy slam dunk.

Gone are the simple button mapping to steps, replaced by the PlayStation Move and VR headset. In a change to the series, players also don't take control of Ulala, opting to play as a trainee reporter working for the Space Channel corporation; a great idea that allows players to fully experience the distinct visuals of each level, while enjoying the time taken to replicate the same charm originally brought to the Dreamcast. Unlike the Dreamcast titles however, a steady level of difficulty is something completely lacking, maybe giving you time to appreciate the levels themselves.

Screenshot for Space Channel 5 VR: Kinda Funky News Flash on PlayStation 4

As is expected with most of the VR titles on the market, the duration of Space Channel 5 VR is a short one. Four levels, interspersed with tutorials, and introductions to show everything, is all this jump to virtual space has to offer. It's a shame then with the amount of time awarded to making the player feel comfortable, any change in difficulty is totally lacking. It's understandable that with the level of tracking a PSVR headset can handle when working in conjunction with the move controllers that a change of pace is required, but this seems like overkill. What required split second timing previously, is given an unnecessary amount of wiggle room to ensure success. Gratifying? Certainly, but not the nerve-evoking inputs that should be expected, and are being delivered in some of the few other VR rhythm titles available.

DLC promised for the future is also going to add to the titles length, but at the moment a steady set of hands and feet should be able to clock most of what is on offer in an hour or two. A few nice features are added (mainly the 'friendopedia,' allowing an ogle at each characters pixelated VR glory), but apart from a challenge mode and replaying arcade with no difficulty increase, it's hard to find a reason for a revisit.

For fans of the series with a PSVR, it's going to be picked up. The visuals and combination of lunacy have all been recreated in HD glory, and when in the experience, it captures the nostalgia shot for perfectly - like replaying what you experienced earlier in the evening in your head, as you enter a post gaming slumber. Everything is there, except this time, you are a fully fleshed our part of the world.

Screenshot for Space Channel 5 VR: Kinda Funky News Flash on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Having Ulala back is a welcome return and, Space Channel 5 VR manages to capture the world perfectly, and tug at all the correct nostalgia related heartstrings. It would be great to get lost in the cosy bosom of that feeling... if there was just more to offer. The promise of new characters, songs, and DLC, should rectify some of these issues, but with the already high price tag it's hard to imagine anyone outside the already committed fanbase to take a punt. As nice as it is to see a return to the news desk, hold out for a possible GOTY edition.

Developer

Grounding Inc.

Publisher

SEGA

Genre

Rhythm

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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