The PSVR lineup is slowly growing, and gaining some standout titles.
In the mix, though, are games which falter from all sorts of problems. Like several other available titles, Ace Banana, tries to be the one shooting gallery/archery title you need. Unfortunately, there’s no ace up the sleeve on this one. Monotonous gameplay, tracking issues and a lack of depth make for a somewhat forgettable experience. At its core, there exists a great concept, yet in practice it falls short. A fact made worse by the asking price.
Aren’t video games great? You can do, be, and see anything. In Ace Banana, you get to be an archer banana that wields a bow made from a snake shooting plungers at monkeys! What a time to be alive! If only the game itself rendered that sort of joy. Unfortunately, after a short time with the game you’ll grow tired and bored of its repetitious, somewhat broken gameplay. While the world around you glows, and the colours pop out beautifully, the action that takes place is rather stagnant. An archery title can certainly make good use of the PSVR, and, if anything, Ace Banana has shown that possibility. What it fails to show, however, is that sort of title having any promise of keeping you enthralled. But hey, these plungers aren’t going to shoot themselves.
You won’t have to get used to much while playing the game, as there is only one level. You’ll be stuck staring at the same landscape over and over, though it could look worse. You’ll be tasked with fending off waves of monkeys with your trusty bow. The difficulty of the game is not in eliminating the monkeys, but in besting the mechanics of the game in a twisted showdown of man vs technology. As you progress, you’ll deal with more enemies each wave, and be granted with some forgettable power-ups along the way. They aren’t nearly as effective, or fun to use, as you’d wish they would be. One glaring problem with the structure is that, if you lose, there are no checkpoints. Back to square one. And trust me, if you’re deep into the game when that happens, you’ll be hard pressed to want to try again.
Nothing about your time spent with Ace Banana will leave you speechless. But, underneath all that, there is a core game that shows what the future of PSVR can hold. The problem here, however, is the lack of precision and sharpness to how the game plays. It is far too easy to find the dead zone for your bow, making your cross-hair disappear constantly. Using the two Move controllers as if you’re holding a bow and arrow feels cool and smooth at first, but after ten minutes your arms are dead and you’re wondering why this is happening. Even switching over to the Dualshock 4 isn’t much help, as you’ll have to hold that up like a plate, as you fight for the PS camera to recognise it. Something persists here, mechanically, that doesn’t in other PSVR shooters, and that really brings this one down.
Outside of just playing the game, there isn’t much else going on. You can, in your ‘base’, grow different bananas. It is a weird process, and the benefits of doing seem to be rather minimal. Minimal in the sense that I only noticed aesthetic changes, and nothing that affected the gameplay in anyway. There just isn’t much going on here, which isn’t a problem inherently, it is only made so because what is here isn’t great. The core of the game is bogged down by sloppy controls, tracking issues, and dead zone lapses. What looks like a colourful, inviting, happy world does more to leave you feeling blue. If you’re dying to have a shooting gallery type game for PSVR, there are better options. There are more fleshed-out titles, for equal or less cash, than Ace Banana.
Pulling back your virtual plunger over and over really takes a toll on you. The illusion is quickly lost when the slow, sloppy, monotonous gameplay removes you from that dream. I found Ace Banana to be rather enjoyable when I first booted it up, but over time, and through several restarts, it taught me that I’m just not cut out to be a master archer banana… guy. Savour the brief joy it brings you because it may leave quickly. The core of this game, its heart, is in the right place. It’s just a shame that it’s not at all polished.