Fantavision 202X is secretly the best PSVR2 launch game | digital trends

With PlayStation VR2 now, all eyes are on Mountain Horizon Call. The action-adventure title is Sony’s first major exclusive for the platform, acting as its blockbuster launch title. While it’s a must-buy for anyone picking up the device on day one, it succeeds more as a solid technical showcase for the headset than a fun game that stands on its own. If you’re looking for the ultimate, you’ll want to check out PSVR2’s actual hidden weapon: Fantavision 202X.

Developed and published by Cosmo Machia, Fantavision 202X is a completely abandoned sequel to an obscure PlayStation 2 launch game. Like the original, it’s a unique fireworks game that plays like a cross between missile command and a tic tac toe puzzle. There was nothing quite like it when it first released in 2000, and frankly, there still isn’t in 2023. That makes the remake feel as fresh and creative and weird as ever.

What stands out the most Fantavision 202X, however, is how much is quietly improved with VR. Cosmo Machia has taken a somewhat average puzzle game and made the best version of it without changing much. It’s a prime example of the types of games that thrive in VR, which stands in brilliant contrast to more ambitious projects that have struggled to replicate a full console experience on a headset.

never break the chain

Fantavision 202X it’s not so much an evolution of its predecessor as a new version of virtual reality. It is a level-based puzzle game in which players have to match colored sparklers as they shoot up into the night sky and detonate them to create a fireworks display. Match three flares of the same color, press a button to activate them, and watch them light up the city skyline. However, those are just the basic rules. Advanced strategies require players to create massive flare chains by linking a new color with “wild” neutral flares and items. Explosions will also trigger flares of the same color, so there’s a lot of extra strategy on when to detonate, as that can keep a chain going.

It’s the definition of an “easy to learn, hard to master” game. When I first played the PS2 version, I understood the basic matchmaking system, but I couldn’t fully grasp its “daisy chain” system. The sequel includes a very clear set of tutorials that have significantly improved my skill. There’s immense satisfaction that comes from landing a 100+ combo or detonating a massive chain that lights up the entire screen. I have already found myself chasing their Platinum trophy as I work towards their various milestones.

The new version is nearly identical to the original, from its eight-stage single-player setup to its largely unchanged gameplay. Even its simple visuals are a bit of a throwback to the PS2 era. Fantavision 202X it can be played without headphones, but you’ll get pretty much the same experience that way as if you just played the original on PlayStation Plus. Its $30 price seems a bit high considering how slim the package is.

However, it is a completely different experience in virtual reality. When played on a TV, the flares are connected by moving the joysticks, which always felt a bit forced in the original. Controls are much more natural with PSVR2 as players can freely move their hands with the Sense controllers to bring out the colors. That tactile element is enough to completely change the psychology of the core Fantavision experience. When I’m in my flow state, I feel like an orchestra conductor creating a visual symphony with my own hands.

Fireworks explode around the robots in Fantavision 202X.

While the images aren’t terribly detailed, that’s another area where the technology fits naturally. Each stage takes place over a horizon that the camera slowly pans across on rails. The first few levels take players on a guided tour of a city, but the levels quickly get a bit weirder as the fireworks show moves into outer space. VR makes those spaces much more immersive, as I feel like I’m flying through the night instead of following a camera that pans across a background.

And, of course, the fireworks display itself becomes a spectacle in 2D space. When I activate a bonus round of Starmine, colorful explosions go off in front of my eyes. I can see individual strands brushing past me, placing me at the real center of the show. That level of depth was never possible on a flat TV, but here the experience is much more dynamic; it seems like Fantavision was always meant to be a VR game.

Right game, right technology

With its sparse feature set, Fantavision 202X it is a modest package. However, it’s a shining example of what kind of games actually work in VR. The arcade nature makes it easy to play in short sessions, as it doesn’t require players to spend too much time strapped into a tight-fitting headset. The game is easy to run with motion controls, and its slow-moving levels won’t leave you running through a bag of barf. It’s an ideal VR game in almost every way.

Fireworks explode in outer space on Fantavision 202X.

Contrast that with Mountain Horizon Call, which attempts to pack an entire PlayStation game into one headset. It’s a fun experience, but one that can be sloppy at times. His tactile escalation is the highlight, focusing on natural hand movements, but his more complicated systems can be a pain in the ass. Its fast-paced combat is especially difficult, as haphazard controller tracking can make it difficult to dodge, swap weapons, craft ammo, and more on the fly. For most of my game, I was thinking more about the technology than the world I was in, as I had to constantly adjust my calibration settings to get it right. when i’m playing Fantavision 202XI’m not thinking about technology at all.

It looks like Sony wants to find a way to recreate its brand of cinematic action-adventure games in virtual reality, but it still feels a little early for that. While VR has been very successful with more complex experiences, at best we’re still in the age of Nintendo 64 technology. Rather than trying to cram a modern game into a headset, Fantavision 202X It shows that it pays to accept the current limitations of technology. A return to the PS2 era is exactly the kind of evolution VR was primed for.

Fantavision 202X is now available on PlayStation 5. It can be played with or without PSVR2.

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James D. Brown
James D. Brown
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