PS VR2 Launch Titles Roundup: Rhythm and Blues

The PS VR2 is here, and it’s everything you expected it to be.

It also comes with a treasure trove of launch titles, ranging from rhythm-action to rhythm-dance to rhythm-puzzle. (Okay, we kid, but only slightly. There are a lot of rhythm games.)

While you can scan Sony’s slightly misleading “launch window” lineup here (many of those titles won’t arrive for several more weeks), we’re featuring here our favourites available on Day 1. Somewhat disappointingly, this initial batch is dominated by remakes and sequels, though that probably says more about our current cultural landscape than it does about Sony’s long-term plans. Presumably, once the launch window is out of the way, we’ll start to see the more interesting and, if we’re being honest here, weirder titles the PlayStation brand is best known for.



We singled out Kayak VR in our PS VR2 launch piece as the showpiece for non-gamers. That’s mostly by default – the PS VR2 is, for now, almost exclusively a gaming device – but it so happens that this particular non-game is simply wonderful. It looks amazing, the gesture-based controls are so intuitive anyone can pick it up and play, and its free roam mode is utterly absent of anything gamey whatsoever. Go ahead, paddle to your heart’s content.


If you’re going to buy a PS VR2, get the one bundled with Horizon. (Honestly, it’s silly Sony is selling a Horizonless headset at all; it’s the system’s signature game, and probably should have just come with the base model from the start.) A few years ago, we could not have predicted that a robot-dinosaur-riding cavewoman would become the face of Sony’s next big franchise. But here we are, three games in, and Horizon Call of the Mountain is the game to play to experience everything PS VR2 has to offer. The haptic feedback where you feel every swing of a robo-raptor’s tale, the elegant bow-and-arrow combat, the lush visuals: Horizon is PS VR2’s best launch game by a long shot.



The original Rez remains one of the definitive arthouse games of all time. When we first played Rez, back in 2001 on the PS2, there was nothing else like it. A rhythm-shooter set in a psychedelic wireframe landscape, its singular innovation was a soundtrack that dynamically responded to the player’s actions, beat by beat, note by note. Its recent VR resurgence as the rebranded Rez Infinite made it one the most popular games on the original Oculus Quest and PS VR, and we’re just as happy to play it again on PS VR2 – especially now that it uses Sony’s eye-tracking technology so you can play it with your mind.

Joining Rez at launch are too many rhythm games to count, the best of which are its two spiritual successors: the brutally difficult “rhythm-violence” title Thumper, which sends you careening down infinite light tunnels to an electronic soundtrack, and Tetris Effect: Connected, from the mind of Rez creator Tetsuya Mizuguchi. We’re huge fans of Tetris Effect (we’ve reviewed it twice before), which won us over with its synesthetic gameplay, where every button press causes a corresponding shift in the visuals, the music, and even the vibration of the controller. Tetris has never felt so cool.


We loved Star Wars: Vader Immortal, which saw players face off against the dreaded Sith lord himself across a three-hour “interactive movie”. ILMxLAB’s latest, Tales From the Galaxy’s Edge, can’t match the dizzying heights of its predecessor, not least because it’s saddled with the absurdly corporately synergistic task of advertising a Disney theme park. Still, if you can get past the fact you’re restricted to Batuu (the new Star Wars planet invented, sigh, for DisneyWorld) and the cast of new characters voiced by the likes of SNL’s Bobby Moynihan, there’s some decent lightsaber-swinging, blaster-wielding fun to be had. But if they’re going to be adapting Disney rides, would it kill them to make a Star Tours game?



Originally a Quest exclusive, the PS VR2 version of Aftermath (which includes the original’s DLC sequel chapter) is definitely worth checking out. Set shortly after the (dreadful) legacyquel film Jurassic World, this eight-hour adventure sends players roaming through the ill-fated Isla Nublar, stalked by all your favourite dinosaurs. We have mixed feelings about the cel-shaded comic book aesthetic – it looks great, but the raptors and T. Rexes can occasionally come off as more goofy than scary – but the overall dino-survival-horror vibe is well implemented. Hold on to your butts.


If you wish The Last of Us had a thousand times more zombies and a thousand times fewer moments of quiet and introspection, After the Fall is for you. Available as a free upgrade to those who own the PS VR version, this multiplayer zombie fighting FPS has one thing going for it, but it’s an awesome thing: ice zombies. Playing in teams of four, each round of After the Fall consists of an intense firefight against nigh-endless waves of zombies, who have come crawling from Hell (yes, really) to stalk the post-apocalyptic streets of Los Angeles. It’s dumb fun, emphasis on the dumb, but there’s definitely something cool about teaming up with real human players to take on the ice zombie apocalypse.



There’s a particular genre of cutesy VR puzzle games, perhaps best exemplified by A Fisherman’s Tale, in which amusing physics-based gameplay is paired with a soft, relaxed aesthetic and borderline twee voice acting. PS VR2 launch titles Tentacular and The Last Clockwinder fall firmly in this category, the former putting players in the virtual, er, appendages of a giant Giant Squid, the latter giving you control over an army of steampunk robots tasked with gathering magical fruit. Both were previously available on other VR headsets, but are certainly worthwhile if you’re seeking a more relaxed puzzler vibe. That said, if any game was begging for a dark and gritty reboot, it’s Tentacular: when I first heard there was a game where you control a CN Tower-sized squid, my only question was how many city blocks it would let me demolish.


Moss is another game that won us over back on the Quest, even if it mostly resembles the type of puzzle adventure game that works just as well on a TV. Played from a “human’s eye view”, Moss follows a sword-wielding mouse as she makes her way through a fantasy landscape which would not be out of place in Middle-earth (or a Lemmiwinks episode of South Park). While the mouse moves using standard video game controls, the immersive aspect comes from Moss‘s many environmental puzzles, which have you leaning down to push and pull objects to clear a path forward. Also, you can lean down and scritch the mouse on the head any time you want.


As admirers of the latest Resident Evil and Gran Turismo, we couldn’t resist shining the spotlight on their brand new virtual reality updates, especially since they come as free upgrades to existing games. Of the two, we’re slightly more excited about Gran Turismo 7, an extraordinarily lifelike racing sim which already feels incredible in VR with what little time we’ve had with it. But don’t discount RE either: given the noticeable dearth of proper PS VR2 horror games (anyone else remembers the PS VR’s shark attack?), Resident Evil Village will be worth the time for anyone seeking a good virtual reality jump-scare.


Speaking of horror, the PS VR2 launch window promises a few more intriguing titles. First up is The Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners: Chapter 2. Hewing admirably close to its source material, the first Saints and Sinners impressed us with its thoughtful, methodical approach to surviving the zombie apocalypse, and we’re optimistic about what Chapter 2 will offer. Sticking to horror, but at the extreme opposite end of the spectrum, we are also looking forward to The Dark Pictures: Switchback VR, due in March. Though developer Supermassive is better known for its narrative-driven, choose-your-own-adventure games like Until Dawn, Switchback is explicitly advertised as a “roller coaster action-horror-shooter”. Fun!

Looking beyond the launch window, some of the more exciting games in the pipeline include Stranger Things VR (though we’d be more enthused if it wasn’t set in the recent, mediocre “Vecna” season) and the silly-looking co-op title Ghostbusters: Rise of the Ghost Lord. We’re also cautiously, cautiously, cautiously optimistic about the as-yet untitled Aliens VR game. Anybody who’s followed us on Toronto Guardian knows that we’re huge Alien fans and yet have conflicted feelings about its pluralized sequel, from which the new VR game takes its inspiration. So long as Aliens VR gives us at least once “it’s in the vents” moment, we’ll probably be happy.

Beyond 2023, our Sony-brand crystal ball is having a hard time predicting what comes next. Presumably, some of the bigger name studios – your Capcoms, your Konamis – are waiting to see how launch goes, though we can likely expect some announcements before the year is out. (Metal Gear VR, anyone?)

We’re also curious about Firmament from Cyan Worlds, a studio which to this day remains best known for Myst, now celebrating its thirtieth(!) anniversary. Cyan’s previous VR game, Obduction, was heralded as a worthy spiritual successor to Myst, and we have every reason to hope for the same from Firmament. And speaking of spiritual sequels, another title with a lot of potential is the upcoming Shadow of the Colossus homage Behemoth, which looks to import the PlayStation classic’s colossus-fighting combat into virtual reality. (It remains to be seen whether it will pose equally murky ethical questions.)

What Sony hasn’t signalled yet is whether, beyond Kayak VR, it will make any sort of bid for the non-gamer space. We’d like it too – it would be a shame if its graphical capabilities didn’t get put to use beyond fighting and puzzling – but for now, it seems, the PS VR2 is a gamer’s machine. And for those of you dorks picking up a PS VR2 in the next couple months, you couldn’t do worse than the titles listed here.


For our PlayStation VR2 review, click here.
For the Toronto Guardian‘s original PS5 review, click here.
And stay tuned to the Toronto Guardian for all things PlayStation and virtual reality.