Pierhead Arcade is one of those titles that at first glance look like a technical demo. It has a bunch of mini-games that leverage VR technology in cute but somewhat shallow ways. However, the more time I spent with Pierhead Arcade, the more I began to appreciate some of its subtleties and it steadily grew on me the more I played.
If you are a fan of arcades or game rooms (and given the title of this site, it's safe to say I am), you will spot a lot of familiar games here. Everything from whack-a-mole (or dino), to bowling to rocket ball to basketball and more are represented here. Many of these games are bundled up in quick and free tech demos on Steam, but they lack the polish found here with Pierhead Arcade.
It's not just about the visuals, which are actually pretty good. The room has a nice sense of scale as you wander about the arcade. Instead of walking, you have teleportation - a nice perk for those who tend to get a little VR sick. Each game is played at a relatively stationary location, so while you can look around and observe, I never had a touch of VR sickness.
With a ten dollar price tag, Pierhead Arcade is pretty reasonable given the more than a dozen games it includes. Some of these work better than others. Claw Machine cracks me up because I suck at it here just like in real life, but at least I don't have one of my kids nagging me into dropping my life savings in via quarters to win a fifty cent toy. The simple basketball game simply felt good. Ditto Rocket Ball, Super Punch and more. There are global leaderboards to track your progression, and while there is the smallest bit of story here (apparently you inherited it and it's all yours to play in), that's about the extent of it.
Better than a tech demo title by far, in the end Pierhead Arcade is a collection of mini games that makes excellent use of the Oculus Touch and natural hand motions. This is one of those titles that works great from a quick play perspective - one of those games I go to for some show-and-tell with my guests checking out my Oculus for a time.
However, there is not a whole lot of progression or depth to be had here. Aside from leaderboards, the only other real sense of progress comes in the form of tickets won that can be used to unlock items. Aside from these games occupying the same virtual space, this ticket redemption mechanic is really the only other thing connecting the disparate titles found here.
Mechabit deserves some credit for making one of the best mini-game compilations for virtual reality I have played so far. The controls are used wonderfully, simulation hand movement in a very realistic sort of way that really does a great job of whisking you away to an arcade. Think of it as a Chuck-E-Cheese without the scary, oversized rodent. Considering how much my kids dig this game, I figure at ten bucks it's a steal considering how much I have spent at actual arcades like this before. All in all Pierhead Arcade is a great time, tech demo or not.
PC - Oculus Rift
Provided by Publisher
Article by Nick