Anyone who has a cursory familiarity with virtual-reality games is probably familiar with Beat Saber. In short, it's a music and rhythm game that has you busting up colored blocks with lightsabers to the tune of music. It's pretty fun, but it's not the only way to go about this style of game in VR. Enter Groove Catcher, an upcoming title from Vizmoo that takes a different (but equally interesting) approach to the rhythm game in virtual reality.
The Groove Catcher booth at Play NYC 2019 had a pair of areas for people to move along to the music. A scoreboard tracked the highest scores done throughout the show and it rapidly grew in size—there was almost always at least one person playing the game. After spending some time checking out other games on the show floor, I absolutely had to go check it out.
Essentially, it's a simple gameplay experience. You start by putting on a VR headset and holding a controller in either hand. The game calibrates to each person's different wingspan by having you hold out both controllers directly in front of you. Then, the music starts.
Groove Catcher is Criminally FunThere are two ways to score points in Groove Catcher. Each controller is represented by a floating orb in VR space. The first (and most common) way to get points is to follow along the lines that appear along the track. The second way is to shake your controller over floating white orbs. It sounds simple enough, but actually executing the moves was a bit of a challenge.
It was about halfway through the song that I realized why people were moving around so much—the controller calibration has you seriously stretching for some of wider, swooping notes. I'm sure you could cheat the system at the point of calibration, but that also defeats the point in a sense. I was really moving much more than I expected, and it was an awful lot of fun.
What was particularly interesting to me was the "all-in-one" levels that were made for the show. Imagine, if you will, a Guitar Hero track that started at Easy difficulty but then transitioned to Normal, Hard, and eventually Expert by the end of the track, adding more notes and really ramping up the experience. This is how the game played at Play NYC 2019, and I thought it was a really interesting way to show off the variety of gameplay in a title like this.
We don't want it to be an expensive title, we want people in there and having fun." — Bill DeHaven, Vizmoo CEOGroove Catcher had two songs at the show in its early alpha state, but the developers have already integrated several more in their development version. You may not be limited by the game's launch library, either—making a new track in the game should be super easy. Essentially, you'll "paint" the track by playing through it and then you would be able to share it with other people. This is one of the many features that would really make this game a great value prospect.
According to Vizmoo's CEO Bill DeHaven, Groove Catcher is hitting a point where they'll be sending out alpha codes in the next few weeks. It should be making its way to Steam sometime towards the end of 2019 or start of 2020, with a full release anticipated for sometime in the spring of 2020. It won't be too expensive, either; he gave a rough ballpark of $20 for the retail price.
Groove Catcher won't just be on PC, either—it will also be making its way to the Oculus Quest and PlayStation VR at a later date. You can keep up with its progress at the developer's official website. Check out the game's trailer below to see it in motion!
What do you think of Groove Catcher? Are you interested in VR-based music and rhythm games, or do you prefer a more 2D experience? Let us know in the comments below, and check out what else we saw at Play NYC by going to our Play NYC 2019 Coverage Hub!