As the resident Roblox expert, I was immediately tasked with jumping into the great unknown to tackle the next big thing; Roblox in VR. While PC has had VR support for years, I don’t have a proper PC headset, and couldn’t be bothered to hook up my Meta Quest 2 to see what the fuss was all about. There are so many other good titles that I could play directly from my PC, so why bother jumping into a shooter or playing a God game when I could be smashing Zombies in The Walking Dead?
Roblox In VR – The Final Frontier?
I still find it strange that Roblox was not released on more home consoles before leaping into virtual reality, but I guess the Roblox team is trying to figure out if VR is still as lucrative as it once was. After signing in using another device, since you cannot create an account in Virtual Reality yet, I immediately tried to jump into one of my favorite experiences; My Hello Kitty Cafe. Yes, this silly Sanrio simulator is one of my favorite games, but I just needed to see if I could dap up Tuxedo Sam.
I couldn’t, and I was devastated. Well, I thought, let’s see if any of my other favorite experiences were available to jump into. After countless experiences I couldn’t join, I finally found one that seemed interesting enough: Nerf Strike. I was loaded into a very colorful room and quickly equipped with a Nerf Rifle.
With a new sense of movement, I was quickly zooming through every available area on the hunt for other players while trying to keep my eyes peeled on myself. Seeing Nerf darts flying at my face would sometimes evoke a visceral reaction, causing me to duck out of the way as I would in real life. It was surreal seeing my massive, blocky arms holding this piece of Nerf technology, but it always felt great when I would tag another player.
It felt surprisingly natural, and having that full 360° range of movement felt a little bit like I was cheating because it seemed that I was playing against PC players and console players at the same time while in virtual reality. While I’m not the most competitive player out there, I found myself getting far more hyped up than I should be when I would nail a VR 360 No Scope on some poor unsuspecting sap.
It’s Not Halo, But It’s Close Enough For Me
After wearing out my welcome in Nerf Strike, I figured it was time to try something else out. After scrolling through the admittedly small list of available experiences to play in VR, I noticed some familiar-looking faces plastered onto an experience called Energy Assault, so I figured I should jump right in.
This is another FPS experience on the platform and one that really benefits from the extended range of movement. As with many Roblox experiences, there were no controls or explanations on how to do anything, so I spent my first few minutes floundering like I was drowning in my living room, all while my wife laughed in the background. A great first experience with this one.
After finally figuring out how to reload my rifle after blowing through the clip, I was ready to go. Energy Assault was much more my speed compared to Nerf Strike, being able to blast through other players who were on a variety of consoles and VR headsets. This felt like a step in the right direction, even if it was confusing at first.
Is VR The Way Forward For Roblox?
There are a fair number of VR-supported experiences on Roblox at the moment, but is this the best direction that the platform should be heading? It’s hard to say right now, even if I did have a good enough time while in this new version of the Metaverse. Since the Meta Quest 2 version is currently in Beta, there are a fair number of things that immediately struck me as odd.
First, it comes down to the locomotion of how you move. In plenty of native VR games, your character will move in whatever direction your head is pointing, but in Roblox, you’ll need to utilize the analog sticks to change your direction. This feels a little unfair in specific games, especially FPS titles because you can just keep pushing forward while looking straight behind you. If you turn quick enough, I could just straight up catch anyone in the act like I was using an 8,000 DPI mouse.
Another issue that I have is compatibility with existing titles. Sure, there are some fun games to jump into right now, but I need the chance to jump into something like Blox Fruits or Pixel Piece before I know how much Roblox in VR I can handle before I finally barf. For younger players, especially, I can imagine the first jump into the world of VR is going to require a fair bit of preparation before they’re finally comfortable in the space.
There’s still plenty of room to grow within the space of VR, and if implemented properly, it could easily take my focus away from the PC version of the game. Getting to jump into something like Welcome To Bloxburg and essentially live my life like I was a Sim could be rather entertaining. But, for the time being, Roblox in VR is a great novelty to revisit every once in a while, but it’s by no means the definitive version of the platform that we know and love. It’s got potential, but it needs some more time in the oven to cook before it’s ready for everyone to enjoy.