LifeisXbox’s Boom Box VR review | I have some fond memories of rhythm-based music games. Guitar Hero, Rock Band, and even Gitaroo Man for the Playstation 2 spring to mind. There is something inherently pleasing about hitting notes and getting the feeling of you are actually playing that song. Maybe it’s because growing up the only instrument I learned to play was the Piano and as far as I am aware, the only games related to playing piano exist on mobile, which really isn’t my thing. Hell, even DJs got a better deal than us Piano players with DJ Hero. Boom Box VR is essentially Beat Saber but uses drum sticks to hit each note as they pass you in their colourful background environments. Developed and Published by Cyberspline Games Inc, Boom Box VR adds an enjoyable new game to the music-based genre. But can it stand with the big players?
Most Memorable Moment
Stepping into your bedroom for the first time and seeing Pupa the cat just walking around minding her own business was cool. Calling Pupa over, petting her, and feeling those controllers rumble with each purr was just a small (but enjoyable addition) to the Boom Box VR experience. The TV in the bedroom also acts as a preview scene of what song you have selected and the difficulty mode so I was able to get a glimpse at how badly I was going to fail before I even started.
ℹ️ Reviewed on PC using an Oculus Quest 2 | Review code provided by PR/publisher, this review is the personal opinion of the writer.
What we Liked!
- The Rythm-based gameplay | The gameplay overall is fluid, fun, and offers lots of different environments for you to play in making each song feel refreshing in its playthrough. The main draw I had when playing was the utilization of two drum sticks which are operated independently from each other and at no point were they connected to make the game feel super hard. Unlike its competitor Beat Saber which does this from time to time on its songs, I did find this super refreshing. The skills you have on Beat Saber (if any) are fully transferable. Meaning if you are a veteran of music-based games, then you should have no trouble starting and enjoying Boom Box.
- You can pet the cat | You have a pet cat called Pupa! You can pet it and the controllers rumble with each purr. It’s a little add-on that brings life into your room before starting a new song. It is little additions like this that I really appreciate.
- The default songs are solid | A majority of the artists available directly through the main game are from smaller bands but that doesn’t stop them from being pretty cool. Fixt, Underscore, and Privacy were the only artists I was aware of just browsing through the menus. There are 20 other artists featured in Boom Box VR, with some original music also created by Boom Box themselves. This does add up to a fair bit of music to enjoy, so expect to get used to some of the artists available here.
- Create your own songs | There are over 380+ additional songs that are DMCA free for you to choose from and upload your beats to. These can then be uploaded to the Boom Box server and then downloaded under the community section. Using the mapper tool is pretty simple. Just head to the Boom Box website, choose the song you want to add your beats to, and begin placing the red and blue nodes onto the map at certain points throughout the song. The more you add, the harder the difficulty will be.
- The Graphics | The art style and graphics used in-game are low poly. It’s very fitting. As you can see from the screenshots, everything has a cubic aesthetic to it. Most of the particle effects are also low poly such as the tiki torches and water effects. This is very in style right now and it matches the theme of the game quite well. The colour palette used is also minimalistic with the main focus on pastel colours. The drum sticks and home environment have a very similar style and feel and this leaves the game feeling very unified in its design.
- Multiplayer | Unfortunately at the time of writing, and after many hours of playing I was unable to find one single multiplayer game. Whilst the reviews on Steam are good, it shows that it had a decent player base initially. This has dwindled a lot leaving a minuscule amount of players online, resulting in direct head-to-head matches not being found. It’s a shame because the game is really fun and enjoyable. I feel like the developers need to launch new enticing content to bring back the player base.
- Community Maps | Just like the multiplayer issue above, the community maps section also feels very empty. A lot of the songs on offer here are reused from the default selection of artists but the beats and combos you have to perform are different. This in itself isn’t bad as it does add a slither of a new challenge to your game. But overall, half of the fun is being able to play too many different artists. Not everyone is equipped or knows how to upload their own songs to the game in order to play.
What we Disliked
- Initial boot issues | When starting the game for the first time, I was met with a splash screen asking if I wanted to engage in a tutorial. This is fine, however, the splash screen is set in a world that exists between VR and normal PC games it seems. At no point could I interact with this prompt on my VR headset or my PC directly. I tried many ways of sorting it out. After about an hour of troubleshooting, I managed to fix it (god knows how) but I was in the game and playing. A really bad experience for something you are booting up the first time.
- Clunkier than Beat Saber | Coming from Beat Saber, I knew I was going to enjoy it. There are only so many things you can do differently I guess with a game like this, and the core gameplay mechanic is here. The issue with Boom Box is that everything else it does seems a lot more difficult. Want to upload songs? Sure! Just don’t upload songs that are copyrighted otherwise they will be removed from the server. This is where Beat Saber has them… beat? Beat Saber has millions of user-created content from almost any band. Want o play some My Chemical Romance? Sure can! Just go to the community section and it’s almost guaranteed that it will be there.
- No native Quest cross-over | Many of the games that were released on the original Oculus Rift (the CV1) are now offering native Quest apps if purchased through Steam or Oculus store. This is because the Rift (whilst still a good VR headset) is tethered by sensors and a myriad of cables which leaves people restricted to certain play areas. To combat this, the Quest and Quest 2 both received Air Link and Oculus Link support so you can play wirelessly from your PC or through the headset app directly. More people than ever are now playing Quest 2 native apps, and a lot of games that are exclusive to Oculus are Quest 2 only leaving original Rift players out of the loop. This is because most people have adopted the new wireless play style and don’t require expensive high-end PC’s to play. A native app for Quest players I think would not only help the player base but also offers a lot more freedom of movement.
How long to beat the story | No story mode
How long to achieve 1000G | 8-10 hours
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Gaming is in my blood. Be it handheld games, Xbox, PC, Switch or Playstation, I am all over it.
I make my own games as part of my profession and love playing co op games with friends in my spare time. Avid dog lover and camper van enthusiast.