There are few things more fun or nostalgic than a traditional handball game. Now, one video game publisher is putting a rather futuristic twist on the pastime.
CCP Games, a developer of virtual reality video games, will release Sparc, a virtual reality handball-like game, on PlayStation VR on Aug. 29, according to a press release. The game is set to hit the PlayStation Store for $29.99.
Sparc is also currently in development for the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive virtual reality systems, though it will be released for PlayStation only this year. Sparc is CCP’s second major video game release, and the first to not be related to its EVE series, according to the press statement.
“After our early experiments with standing VR gameplay, we were excited by the idea of building an original sport designed for the current generation of VR hardware. We’ve designed Sparc so that players can express and improve their skill through their physical actions,” Morgan Godat, a CCP executive producer, said in a February announcement. “Ultimately, we want players to think of Sparc as a virtual court in their living room where they can meet and compete with other players from around the world.”
The game is entirely produced and played in virtual reality to give players a “full-body experience.” Players wear the PlayStation VR virtual reality headset (the console is a PS4) and use PlayStation Move motion controllers to launch projectiles at an opponent, the release said. Sparc is played against other online competitors.
Sparc allows for two modes of play — rookie and pro — for varying levels of opponent difficulty. Another feature, “Courtside,” allows players to watch ongoing games and chat with other spectators, and yet a third gameplay option, solo challenges, offers players the opportunity to test their skills against the computer.
This newest release from CCP Games has received accolades from various tech websites. Hardcore Gamer’s Chris Shive wrote that “Sparc is one of the best times I’ve had in a VR environment, and it is a welcome change to see a VR game that is content being a back to basics game that tries to do nothing more than provide a good time, which is an area that Sparc delivers.” VG24/7’s Alex Donaldson reviewed Sparc as “the type of VR game that I’ve been waiting for—a convincing full-body experience that would truly only work in VR.”
“At CCP games, our goal is to harness our passion for virtual reality as a new medium and create the killer apps for the first generation of VR technology,” Hilmar Veigar Pétursson, CCP’s chief executive, said in a statement. “With Sparc, we want to capitalize on the unique strengths of standing VR and deliver a game with all the depth and excitement to keep players returning long into the future.”