VRIDER Review-In-Progress: All About The Road

At its core, VRIDER is about the love of racing – and it really wants you to know that. Read our review in progress for our full impressions.

My personal background with racing games is that if it goes fast, I want to play it. I’m less of a serious racer and more the person to do donuts in a parking lot, so I’m more than happy to help myself to a title that lets me go whoosh if possible. I’ve sped along VR deserts with horse-riding sims, and pushed the limit on speedboats gliding over virtual waters. VRIDER checks my boxes as an ideal game I can play while blasting music and enjoying the road.

VRIDER – The Facts
What is it?: A high-speed motorbike racing game. Race alone, with others, or against your best time.
Platforms: Quest (reviewed on Quest 3)
Release Date: Out now
Developer: VRAL Games
Price: $29.99

When VRIDER first opens, the user is greeted with the option to either begin racing immediately or go through a tutorial. It’s highly recommended that new players try the tutorial first. Each bike handles differently and takes practice to master, but VRIDER’s introduction offers twenty five challenges to get up to speed.

There are five motorbike models to pick from (featuring Kawasaki, Ducati, BMW, Yamaha, and Honda). Each bike handles differently, remaining faithful to the physical-world design of each vehicle to give a real difference in how they sit, sound, accelerate, and turn on the track.

There are multiple options for gameplay: Quick Race, Track Trial, Tournament, Ghost Challenge, and Hot Lap. VRIDER boasts 12 racing circuits to conquer on its store page. There are also multiple options for racing either against AI, the ghost of other players, or the ghost of your best lap.

Two additional game modes had yet to be added before the official release date: Riding School and Real-Time PvP. We’ll return to these once the full release becomes available.

Managing a racing title on the Quest 3 means balancing optimized graphics with immersive effects. Like most racing games, each stage is designed to give a sense of presence as the world whizzes by. It would have been nice to see a crowd on the bleachers, but that might have a performance cost if they were included. VRIDER is otherwise on par with racing games in terms of graphics, save for PC VR or PSVR 2 racing titles that can afford a few more trees and grass to populate the horizon (see: Gran Turismo 7).

There’s also enough personality and difference between each circuit, so it doesn’t feel like you’re running along the same roads over and over again. Barcelona is my current favorite; it’s fun racing in Endurance mode while spotting compact vans dotting either side.

The helmet and accumulating dirt features are especially fun. VRIDER comes with the option to either ride with a helmet directly on the player’s face, or without for a feeling of greater danger. If you choose to wear a helmet and let dirt accumulate as you move, here’s how it looks after a while:

Simply press the left grip on your Quest controller to have a handy orange rag wipe your visor free. Going without the helmet can produce the same results with dirt accumulation. The dirt feature and helmet can be turned off in VRIDER’s settings.

Comfort

For comfort, VRIDER offers MotionWellness technology. This manifests in the game’s settings as two vignette options and different brightness settings. As a racing game, VRIDER is still on the intense side, so it shouldn’t be anyone’s first VR game without some caution.

Despite first impressions, it’s completely possible to spin out if you lean too hard onto the road or hit a wall. No comfort or wellness setting will prevent any player from feeling the sudden halt of movement when that happens. When a player spins out on the road or after a collision, the camera stops and shows the bike spinning away from them.

Turning on the road, then, is an art. When it’s done right, you can reach top speed and earn the pleasing sound of wind howling in your ears. The bike leans close to the road, and it signals the sensation that you could reach your hand out to nearly graze it on the asphalt. But that comes with the risk of spinning out or hitting an AI player, which can cause a hilarious domino effect of several drivers being wiped out at once.

VRIDER Review-In-Progress – Current Final Verdict

The official game of the Superbike World Championship, VRIDER offers a glimpse into the world of motorbike racing as a more accessible (and safer) VR title. Packed with optimization and smart implementation of immersive graphics and sound, VRIDER gives players the feeling of riding at top speed along real-world licensed race tracks.

Even if you aren’t the most avid sports fan, this title is satisfying simply for being a great racing sim. VRIDER is a great balm in the absence of professional racing games in the Quest Store. It balances optimization against an immersive experience that’s a lot more enjoyable than first expected. Now that it’s entered full release, I’ll be returning soon to check out the new additions.

UploadVR uses a 5-Star rating system for our game reviews – you can read a breakdown of each star rating in our review guidelines. As a review-in-progress, this is currently unscored to reflect our approach on covering post-launch updates.

Editor’s note: This review is based on the early access version of VRIDER that was previously available on Quest App Lab. We’ll revise this with a score next week once we’ve tested the full release.

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