Ion Torq ATV demo at VRLA 2017

VR arcades and theme parks are a novel idea that is slowly penetrating the market. But of course, with this comes the introduction of new hardware, which also brings other complications. You must wonder what these games must be like. Are they worth your hard-earned cash? 3D Live believes so, and they brought their Ion Torq game to VRLA in an attempt to prove it.

The game was only a couple minutes long, but that is enough to leave us a bit disappointed. The company had a couple side-by-side vehicles with hardware that would enable it to move along with the game. Ion Torq supports 2 players, each wearing an Oculus Rift. David Imel was in charge of driving, all while Edgar was using built-in controls to shoot through an alien landscape with a turret.

The idea of using a VR headset with this Halo-like driving game is quite exciting, but the experience failed to meet our expectations. While the controls lined up pretty well with the display, there was quite a bit of lag, which should not be the case with a hard-wired headset. Framerate drops also left us feeling a bit disoriented.

The game was not as developed as we would wish. It was hard to ignore the feeling of being static, as the game is pretty linear… literally. The user drives along a straight road towards an unknown location. There was not much action, besides dodging a few lasers and going around obstacles. Edgar also mentions he wasn’t sure which animation was an enemy or not. Some opponents seemed to be immune to blasts.

Regardless, the theory of being able to drive an ATV with physical hardware in VR is a nice thought, so we can hope the experience can improve and come to other events and arcades in the future. As a tech demo, Ion Torq did the trick, but we definitely can’t say it is quite ready for prime time yet. Graphics need to be improved and the quirks worked out.

Are you a fan of arcades that let you ride physical hardware? Would a VR display drastically change the way you feel about the game?


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