I never really understood squash or racquetball, they always seemed such odd games but I do understand Arkanoid, the classic brick-breaking arcade game and now, thanks to One Hamsa’s Racket NX, I feel both have come together to form something even better.
Racket NX is a fairly simple concept; take a virtual bat and hit a ball against the wall of a dome, knocking out sections while keeping your energy from depleting. This simplicity means that it takes just seconds to understand how to play. Mastering it, though, is another matter entirely.
The game takes place in a futuristic style setting with clear domes that place you somewhere on a planet before covering themselves over to produce a court then placing various blocks you’ll need to hit on them, alongside a bunch of energy boost squares. Hitting the ball normally means it will hit a square and bounce back, all the time using energy. Hitting it harder means the ball will travel along the wall, removing more squares in the process but also using more energy. If you lose the ball you can bring it back to your racket with a quick press of the trigger to set off a tractor beam that brings the ball back to you.
The levels get progressively harder as you beat them, eventually leading to obstacles being placed on the walls as well which, as you may have guessed, you’ll need to avoid. Thankfully, there’s also a zen mode included that takes obstacles and energy limits away to help you play a more relaxed game (and is also good for practising your shots).
While you use both controllers in the game, only one is active at a time and holding a racket. One of the nice little details in Racket NX is that moving the other hand will allow you to easily switch the racket to your other hand and it’s fairly seemless. It’s also a game that takes full advantage of the Oculus Quest’s 360 degree movement, allowing you to twist and turn in the dome to face whichever way you want.
Multiplayer is where this game really shines though. You get a basic avatar of the other player next to you and you’ll take it in turns to hit the ball, with the ball changing colours every time it hits the wall to signal whose go it is next. With friends or against a random opponent, Racket NX really comes alive in this mode.
Another one for the ‘must have’ pile. Racket NX seems like the perfect fit for the Quest’s freedom of movement and 360 degree action.