Review: The Angry Birds Movie 2: VR Under Pressure

Playing a board game with friends and family is a time-old tradition, with plenty of people out there probably able to remember tense games of Monopoly after a good meal. The digital age has dampened that spirit for this pastime somewhat, but at the same time helped it evolve and find a new audience. Thanks to features like PlayStation VR’s social screen that gaming essence has made it’s way to virtual reality (VR), in the form of The Angry Birds Movie 2: VR Under Pressure.

Developers have experimented with a number of social apps and videogames in VR, with one of VRFocus’ favourites being Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes. The Angry Birds Movie 2: VR Under Pressure, on the other hand, takes that camaraderie and puts a controller in everyone’s hand for some intense, vocal excitement.

The videogame is based on the recent movie, complimenting the cinematic release should you have seen it (it’s not actually necessary). The gist goes that the Angry Birds and the Pigs have called a truce to their fighting because of a new threat. In the process of dealing with this menace both groups end up on a submarine, and this is where the videogame takes place.

When it comes to the classic Angry Birds style mechanics from the mobile games the only inclusion is on the VR side, with players controlling the catapult. The aim is to keep the submarine in decent condition to complete the level, whilst scoring as many points as possible. And to do that you’ll need cooperation and decent communication – there’s no lone wolfing it here. That’s because what the VR player sees is different from what’s shown on the TV, offering a nice dynamic which keeps play interesting.

As the VR player you’re the captain and therefore the one in control. You get an entire overview of the play area where your teammates are running around, able to help them by activating certain areas and picking stuff up (including them). Because you’re at a fixed central position manning the catapult there’s no movement to worry about, offering a comfortable experience allowing everyone to take turns in VR. Plus, as the captain, you’re also able to see outside. This is highly important as you’ll need to collect treasure for points, whilst destroying obstacles that could damage the sub.

On the flipside, to collect or destroy anything outside your crew needs to build it and place it in the correct area. However, there’s far more going on than just those couple of items, and as the levels progress can become an absolute haze of tasks for the social players to organise and complete. And this is where The Angry Birds Movie 2: VR Under Pressure really hooks you, it’s a ballet of Angry Birds mayhem because all the individual tasks are just so well intertwined with each other.

Developer XR Games has created a synergy to the whole experience, where everyone is sat on the end of their chairs/sofa trying to feed boxes into machines, TNT into a disposal pit and much more. All the while talking (or shouting) when something is about to go wrong, or unified relief when it all goes right. Completing the harder levels almost calls for a high five each time because everyone is so engrossed in the gameplay and invested in the outcome.

It’s like one of those team-building exercises companies go on – just without the tedium and more fun. In fact, The Angry Birds Movie 2: VR Under Pressure would be far better at bringing colleagues together than any number of faux entertainment activities some workplaces insist on engaging in.

In total there are 30 levels to play through. This may not seem like a lot but they do get tough quite fast. Not too much that they get frustrating, yet in classic Angry Birds fashion achieving those all-important three golden stars can prove to be elusive.

XR Games has ensured that should your home be empty and everyone’s busy you can still play the title in solo mode. But to be honest you’re best sticking to a solid single-player adventure for those times. Save The Angry Birds Movie 2: VR Under Pressure for what its good at, all-round multiplayer enjoyment suitable for most ages and abilities.

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