The HTC Vive launch line-up is full of deep exploration, high-octane action and intriguing tastes of the stories virtual reality (VR) was born to tell, but there’s also room for something a little more light-hearted. Job Simulator: The 2050 Archives has the constructed self-referential humour nailed, but what about emergent fun? This is #SelfieTennis‘ raison d’etre, but it’s also its greatest limitation.
‘It’s fun to play with yourself!’ screams the tagline, and it most certainly is. #SelfieTennis puts the player on a virtual tennis court somewhere in the clouds, armed with a tennis ball on one of the HTC Vive motion-controllers and a racquet on the other. Serving the ball over the net will see the player immediately teleport to the receiving position, now challenged with returning the ball. It’s playing a two-person tennis match by yourself, and this aspect of #SelfieTennis is certainly fun.
Of course, as a comedy-driven affair #SelfieTennis doesn’t take itself seriously in the slightest. The rules of tennis are pushed aside in favour of simply hitting the ball. It’s not about how many points are scored, but rather how long a rally can be maintained. There’s also some obscure tennis-ball-headed spectators who will collapse under the pressure of even the slightest tap from a ball – using these figures as target practice is almost as entertaining as the main tennis match itself.
Though the teleportation aspect may sound rather off-putting, it’s handled very well. The cuts are quick and sharp but not once during VRFocus‘ time with #SelfieTennis did they induce the dreaded simulator sickness. The gameplay is rolled back a few seconds so as the receiver you have time to adjust for the incoming ball and, as stated above, the rules are very relaxed so as to allow for a more fun experience opposed to a serious tennis simulation.
Next comes the ‘selfie’ part of #SelfieTennis. The player is able to utilise a selfie stick by holding the grip buttons on the left controller, taking pictures or short animations of themselves (but not other aspects of the videogame, following the ball for example). These can be directly posted to Twitter from within #SelfieTennis, no doubt with the hope of encouraging users to share their most bizarre moments. Of which, in #SelfieTennis, there will be quite a few.
#SelfieTennis doesn’t seem to stretch far beyond this basic assignment, with just one court and no adjustable gameplay options. It’s a fun taste of what could be a much fuller experience, but the comedy aspect of the videogame has most definitely trumped the need to flesh-out the variety during development. #SelfieTennis is a wonderfully inelegant time waster, but the shallowness of the experience leaves it short of matching up to many of the HTC Vive launch titles.