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Studio: Digital Tales S.r.l.

Website:www.sbkmobile.com

Type: Racing, Simulation, Sports

Device: Gear VR/Daydream

Control: Bluetooth controller

Price: 3.99

 

About the developer

Digital Tales is a 15 man/woman team based out of Milan, with offices in Rome and Miami,They were founded in 2006. DTales as they like to call themselves, develops games and e-Learning solutions. “combining user-friendly technology and strong graphic appeal.” They have created games for all mobile platforms, with hits like Battle loot, and BRAVURA – QUEST RUSH.   SBK VR is their first game in VR.

Screen shot of Bravura

Screen shot of Battle Loot

Game Premise

 

SBK VR is a High speed super street bike racing game. The games website boasts the following.

“Compete against Jonathan Rea and other real riders from the 2016 Motul FIM Superbike World Championship and experience first-hand the thrill of speeding through the most challenging tracks in the world at 200 km/h, while handling a 200 HP beast: Aprilia, Kawasaki, Honda, Ducati, MV Agusta, BMW or Yamaha”

And since I have no idea who any of those people are, not being a huge bike racing enthusiast, During the course of this review we will see if this game can ignite the want to become one.

Cart racing games havent been a huge hit on mobile platforms due to the motion sickness it gives its players so I will be keeping a close eye on that front.

 

Game play Mechanics

There are three main Game play options at the title screen.

Championship, where you race in a circuit trying to beat out the others by winning the most racers. Quick race, when you want a quick thrill ride but don’t have the time for a full race. Then Time Attack where you race to beat a specific time around various courses. Pretty standard and basic for game play options, as are the controls, with gas on the right bumper of the controller and the brake on the left. With no other option to setup your controller button layout which is a bummer, more options is better.  

While the learning curve is really quite steep, I found that after getting tired of flying off the coarse every turn I decided to take it easy and not care about the other racers, and really learn what I supposed to do, and how to control the bike. I found that there were warnings that would flash up on the screen and allowing you to have the proper length of the road to slow down and make a turn, green were mild turns, yellow a little more significant, and red you practically have to slow down to 30 MPH to make the turn, while dodging a handful of other bikes that surround you almost at all times during any given race. and if you even bump a back tire going any amount of speed, will send you tumbling off your bike in a jarring cut scene. while you can bump into the side of any one with reckless abandon… Stay away from the back wheel,  you will instantly fly over the handle bars.

 

VR Comfort Level

 

The VR comfort level in SBK is a big improvement than other racing games on the Gear VR. I’m not sure if it’s because when you turn, you focused more on the track than seeing the whole world spin around you like in VR Karts, SBK’s racing direct competition on the mobile VR market, but I felt no jarring nausea or head spinning confusion that can be present while racing in VR. especially in first person mode, the helmet view is great cause you feel like you are wearing a helmet, it fit perfectly in with the over all experience.

view from inside your helmet

VR design

I like that you can switch to different types of viewpoints with a touch of a button.. The Y button on my Moga-pro controller, I prefer the the over the shoulder view as I can see what happening around me better, but I can see the benefit of using the first person view. I like that when you turn a hard turn your body leans out beyond the bike, and in the first person view because you feel like you are wearing a helmet it helped tremendously with VR sickness that plagues VR racers, I even enjoyed the sun glare on the face shield, adds to the overall experience.

Due to the different individual degrees of VR hartiness a wide range of people have, different settings is a must in the VR development cycle. A wide range of options are important so a person can fine tune the experience to meet their VR tolerance level, and I feel that SBK lacks in this department. It covers the basics like sound volumes and you can change the Speed from MPH to KM/H, and there’s a control screen which shows you the basic controls of the game. Aside form the ability to change perspectives on the bike while driving, thats bout all you can do in the settings. I was hoping for a little more customization of the VR experience to tailor to  individual needs.

controller lay out

 

Graphics

The graphics in SBK VR are in between original PlayStation and Playstation 2 graphics.  Which could be way better by today’s standards, I have seen some very pretty games run on a mobile VR  so I know it can be done. But for the price point of the game, roughly 4$, I guess they are appropriate, but I would have liked to see some variety in the landscape other than flat green, brown or sand color to differentiate the different types of terrain. Which makes the environments really kinda boring to race through, because couldn’t tell which track I was racing on, cause they all looked the same. I did really like the detail Dtales put into the hands and display on the handle bars, this was very well done, but as you will see, could have been done with a little more detail by today’s graphical standards on the mobile platform. while the game looks cleaner, it’s not much in the way for real advancement since 2003. I will show examples below. 

Castrol Honda SuperBike Racing PS1 1999

 

Crescent Suzuki Racing on the PS2 2003

SBK VR

Music/ Sound effects

 

The music is a little over powering during the races and I had to go into the options and turn it down and up the SPX audio to be able to hear the sounds of my bike as I raced down the road. I would have like to hear a little more variety in the sound effects of my bike, if Dtales put this much effort in porting over a Bike racing game, you would think they would put slightly more emphasis on making the sound design a little more realistic, It feels more subtle than in your face. That could be tuned a little better, to be not so over powering, but the rock and roll atmosphere is appropriate with the speed and setting of the game play.

 

Value

 

ASBk is definitely a different type of racing game, don’t think for a second it’s the type of game you can pick up and start bringing home trophies your first race. It has a pretty deep learning curve that hard core fans of super Bike racing will really enjoy. I did find it challenging trying to find the sweet spot in a turn, I often found myself careening off coarse and trying to figure out if the brake mechanic controls were working, but after taking the time and drove around a course a lot slower I found it was more my fault than anything. SBK VR needs a Tutorial level is teach newcomers like myself how to handle a Super Bike instead of throwing you to the wolves so to speak. So as for value, I think if you really enjoy racing, and would like to try Super Bike racing, and can have the patience to master the controls you will really enjoy SBK VR. and for 4 $ it’s right in the proper price point For a VR title of this Level of Immersiveness.

 

 

Super Bike Racing in VR with SBK VR!
A Fun racing game with a steep learning curve, I wish it implemented more Control ideas, like head tilting to control your turn intensity with an auto driving mode for those without a wireless controller,  that you could turn on and off in the settings, to help the developer reach out to more users, than ones with a bluetooth controller. That's not really hurting the game over all. But the more time I spend playing SBK the more fun i'm having in it.. Now.. if I could only break into the top 10…
Graphics70%
Gameplay70%
VR Design59%
VR Comfort90%
Value80%
Sound and Music60%
Pro's
  • blazingly fast
  • Challenging
  • Overall fun
Con's
  • Graphics are out dated
  • music is loud and overwhelming
  • steep learning curve
72%Overall Score

About The Author

Like many of you, I fell in love with VR in the 90's. I watched every movie about it, read books about it. and my jaw fell when I saw Palmer Lucky had made huge strides in his garage, that every huge company who had tried to develop it had failed at doing. I bought a Gear VR for my S6 as soon as it was available, started a you tube channel, GeerHed VR, and I am humbly thrilled to write VR game reviews for Twisted Reality!

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