Virtual Reality

What The Bat is the casual hit VR has been waiting for

My parents don’t like this little thing called video games. They never really understood my fascination with it, which partly explains why I’ve always been a solo player.

That changed last Christmas. Intrigued by new technologies, they asked me to take my VR kit home. My sister put on the headphones and was immediately sucked into Beat Saber. This prompted my mother to get into it. Then my dad (never the gamer) wanted to watch videos on the headset, avoiding motion sickness. Even my grandmother was amazed when I put a nature video for her.

It reminded me of the Wii, when using a remote control was deemed accessible enough for people of all ages to try. Virtual reality has yet to see its mainstream turn – even though Beat Saber is already a killer app – but it feels like we’re about to. What it needs is a silly, intuitive, and fun game to hook people up. He needs What The Bat.

WHAT IS THE BAT? | Launch trailer

If the name sounds familiar, it’s from the same team behind What is Golf – the humorous Apple Arcade game that isn’t always about putting a ball in a hole. Likewise, What The Bat is a delightful comedy game about hitting things with a bat, but not always a ball.

It starts at least like baseball. The controllers are both bats. You swing to hit a ball into a trophy. Complete level. Simple.

However, the weirdness quickly escalates. Just like in What The Golf, the game here includes a series of short puzzle challenges sometimes completed in seconds but presented in bright colors with a small exuberant explosion of confetti when you win. There is even a story without words that connects them all, that of a young girl growing up in the town of Batville accompanied by a pet elephant who is also a kind of mentor. Each level is selected by pushing through miniature dioramas, which feel wonderfully tactile.

What quickly becomes apparent, however, is that you’re not actually holding baseball bats. Your arms are baseball bats. And that’s where the challenges get weird, creative, and hilarious.

What would it be like to live with baseball bats for arms? How would day-to-day activities work? One of the first challenges is to hit a tube of toothpaste with one bat so it squirts on the other, before lifting the splatter into your face to mimic cleaning your teeth. Another attempted you to put a slice of bread in a toaster, only to have it stolen by a pigeon.

Clean teeth in What The Bat
Don’t break your teeth!

Elsewhere, you’ll deface artwork and smash sculptures in a museum, play pinball and knock over fences. I won’t spoil anymore because What the Bat is full of surprises; in fact, it thrives on confusing your expectations – just like its predecessor. Additionally, many levels allow you to maneuver mechanisms, robots, or paper airplanes with a joystick that you have to push with dull wood. In many ways, it’s close to Octodad and Surgeon Simulator in its deliberately clunky controls that result in maximum hilarity.

Yet even in the creativity of its levels, it is almost always immediately apparent what needs to be achieved. This is partly down to the clarity of the visual design, but also the smartness of the developers to take everyday situations and gamify them, something we can all relate to.

Flip cars in What The Bat
Overturn the cars, but watch out for the cats!

And that’s why I can’t wait to bring the game back to my family this Christmas. What The Bat is the kind of light, simple and comical game that everyone can enjoy – the kind of game that makes virtual reality accessible. It’s a game, ultimately, about the simple joy of hitting stuff.

I’ve only played alone so far, but at the end of each level your bat is used as a selfie stick to take a picture and I still find myself smiling even though it’s not reflected on the screen. screen. Soon, I also hope to see my family smiling like jesters.

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