While there are quite a number of incredible and memorable audio-visual experiences in the VR space, Party Pumper feels a little late to the party. This DJ simulator has some neat little tricks up its sleeves, but ultimately produces a fairly basic game design with little depth to it. Mixing and matching music samples, spraying the crowd with a foam gun and performing various other tasks do create a nice rhythm while you try to maintain the audience’s engagement and maximise your score, but Party Pumper ends up being more Job Simulator than Electronauts. Unfortunately, this is a polite way of saying it’s both shallow and underwhelming as an audio and visual VR experience.
The player’s goal in any of the handful of club scenarios is to choose music that raises the enthusiasm of the crowd, which is indicated by an equaliser at the back of the room. The primary way to do this is by slotting a bunch of different blocks into your virtual dashboard, each of which play a different sample. Mixing and matching different blocks eventually starts to create something that gets your head bopping (and hopefully the crowd jumping), and twisting blocks physically with your hand to the beat creates multipliers and this is where the game gets into a groove. There are brief moments where you feel like a master of the club, twisting and moving different sound blocks to gain the momentum.
Weirdest Looking Turntables I’ve Ever Seen
This isn’t all there is to it though, with a few extra flavor enhancers to keep you occupied while dropping straight fire on the decks. For instance, during music-making sessions players are given access to a number of different cosmetic items and accessories such as sunglasses (to boost your approval rate), foam guns and wide variety of other wacky objects. One particular event that occurs commonly during a set are deviants who try to get on stage, giving you the opportunity to kick them off before they kill the buzz. A lot of these are very silly and wear thin quite quickly but do provide distractions to the core audio mixing, increasing the challenge of having to micromanage different tasks to increase your score. Each level also has your standard affair of three difficulty levels, increasing the replayability somewhat while allowing players to challenge themselves. Having played through all the difficulties, there does seem to be a noticeable difference between them but the highest difficulty never proved to be out of my league.
Visually the game looks bright and vibrant but nothing too unusual from other similar experiences on the platform. It certainly doesn’t etch itself into my mind like Tetris Effect or Beat Saber but still does the job. This criticism however, is especially noticeable in the audio department. While the samples and sounds themselves are quite catchy and there is a nice rhythm mechanic to everything, the game limits the players to the available predefined samples and makes you wish there was more to do with the audio.
I’m Foam To Violence
The deciding factor in all of this is the asking price. For something less than $20 AU, Party Pumper does make for a fun night in. However, its simple nature and limited options and ways to play really puts it below the already phenomenal lineup VR offers in terms of audio-visual experiences and rhythm games. On one hand, if you haven’t played any of them I would recommend half a dozen other games while on the other hand, if you have played those games, Party Pumper might feel a bit too basic. Still on its own merits, it is very easy to grasp and accessible to those who play it but I think I’m going to stay in this weekend.