Rhythm games have been around since the distant 1970s and many arcade venues still offer the opportunity of playing old and new classics like Guitar Hero, Step Mania and other Dance Dance Revolution games.
Having in mind the millions of fans of this type of entertainment, it should come to no surprise that with the evolution of the VR technology countless manufacturers have opted for producing virtual reality music themed games. One of the newest and most popular ones is Beat Saber, which also happens to be the brainchild of a bunch of Slavic developers with Czech origins.
A week after hitting the Steam store in 2018 Beat Saber became the highest rated VR game on the platform.
Programmed on the popular engine Unity, Beat Saber is an ostensibly plain VR game that is a multi-award winner and one of the top most popular choices for VR-supporting platforms. As of early 2019 it has sold more than 1 million copies worldwide, partially due to the fact that it’s easily accessible from a variety of VR equipment – Windows 10’s Mixed Reality, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR, Linux Wine.
What is Beat Saber?
It’s a single player, FPS virtual reality game where the player faces a rhythmical stream of cubes, which are approaching him/ her. The cubes are in perfect sync with the music and the player needs to slice through them with a pair of Star Wars-like lightsaber swords.
The colors and the arrows on the approaching cubes indicate which sword must be used and at which direction the player needs to slice through these moving targets. In order to spice up the gameplay there are also several wall-like blocks, which must be dodged with tucks, jumps, ducks and other movements, otherwise these obstacles lower the total amount of victory points, which the successfully sliced cubes bring.
Depending on the songs and the difficulty levels the gameplay changes significantly. What’s more, the different platforms offer different versions of the game, which have slightly altered VR surroundings.
The starry team
Beat Saber’s publisher, initially named Hyperbolic Magnetism and later renamed to Beat Games, is the product of three Czech guys – programmers Ján Ilavský and Vladimír Hrinčár, and music composer Jaroslav Beck, who also happens to be the mastermind behind some of Blizzard Entertainment and EA Games’ soundtracks.
These Slavs’ combined brilliance created a mixture of fencing stimulation, swordsmanship and rhythmic dance choreography that took over the VR community by storm.
Over the course of less than 2 years the developers, the composer and the gameplay have been nominated for the whopping amount of 20 awards from worldwide acclaimed institutions and so far have won half of them, including SXSW Gaming Awards’ VR Game Of The Year for 2019. In terms of local success, Beat Saber has won 2 of its nominations at the 2019 Czech Game Of The Year Awards.
Just how successful is Beat Saber?
If being the highest rated VR game on Steam and selling over 1 million copies doesn’t count for anything, here’s a fun fact – Beat Saber got so popular that it debuted on The Tonight Show where the notorious Jimmy Fallon and actress Brie Larson competed on it!
On top of that many gaming cafes and arcade rooms outside the Czech Republic offer various version of the game, so despite the fact that the game costs only $20 bucks, people all over the world can play it even outside their homes.
Moreover, Beat Saber has a strong YouTube fanbase, which is expanding every single day. The game’s fans are constantly upping their gameplay by using custom songs in lieu of the pre-built in ones with popular tracks by world renowned recording artists like Eminem, Queen, Imagine Dragons, Marilyn Manson, Alan Walker and more.