ARVORE’s Sequel to Pixel Ripped 1989 was a resounding success on Quest and PSVR and now this enhanced version lands on PSVR2 with improved performance and adaptive trigger support, but should you buy it?
For those new to the series, this game doesn’t require any knowledge of the first as it’s a new story, as is the other game in the trilogy, Pixel Ripped 1978. The 80s were the focus of the previous game but this instead focuses on the mid-90s and the 16-bit era, with a homage to many genres including platformers, fighting games JRPGs and the thrill of the new 1990s consoles for anyone that grew up in that period. It also has a lot of cheeky nods to characters from that era.
The game, like the one before it, focuses on Dot, a Samus Aran-like character within a game who is fighting an evil enemy that gains the power to jump into our reality. Thankfully, Dot is given the power to jump into the body of a young gamer, David, in 1995 to help defeat this Cyblin Lord once and for all. Not everything goes to plan, though, as David also has to fend off his mum, who is disappointed with his constant gaming and a bully who taunts him at every opportunity.
With nods to a thinly disguised SNES and Megadrive, some arcade classic style gameplay that takes in everything from 16-bit platformers to JRPGs, Zelda to the infamous rise of animal mascots as game characters, Pixel Ripped 1995 is a love letter to the 90s gaming scene and those who lived through it.
The gameplay is fun and varied, with a mix of playing a version of those old games and trying to cope with David’s other distractions in the real world in a more natural 3D VR environment. The change from one format to another is handled really well and I never found myself fumbling the controls when going between the more traditional games and the VR environments.
The visuals are a good mix of traditional 90s gaming tropes and the more cartoony look of the 3D world outside. The cel shaded virtual world feels solid and with plenty of detail while the games themselves have elements of realistic graphics for the time mixed with a few modern twists but these never feel out of place, given the context of the story. There’s perhaps some more room for exploration and movement within the game world in sequels though it does mean this is a good game for those who easily get motion sickness or have less room to move around. Some of the environments require stretching out a little (the consoles at the game shop, for instance) but otherwise you’ll be stationary for the most part. The enhanced version on PSVR2 really does help make this a much smoother game, the 120Hz visuals giving you a much better visual experience here and the adaptive triggers are very useful considering there is a lot of picking up and placing of objects.
The only downside to this experience is that the game is around a few hours long and you’ll soon find yourself finishing it and wanting more. It would be great to be able to just go back and play the mini games again without going through the story once you’d completed it but sadly, that’s not possible.
I’ve also had the chance to play this on the Quest 3 and although it isn’t quite as refined as the PSVR2 version, with no actual work done as yet on an upgrade, the visuals are improved just from having a better resolution and brighter colours. Both versions are free if you own the original, too.
I love playing through Pixel Ripped 1995, it’s a solid story with some excellent voice acting, humour and plenty of love for 90s gaming. Hopefully this also leads to the other two games getting an overhaul on PSVR2 for those who missed them.