In Pixel Ripped 1989, players are cast as videogame-obsessed second-grade student Nicola, who spends most of her time trying to conceal her Game Boy-style "Gear Kid" handheld from the teacher rather than getting on with her schoolwork. In her own game, she controls Dot, another young girl whose world is under threat from the evil Cyblin Lord - except Nicola's own world is also in jeopardy, as the Cyblin Lord has the power to break free from the game and invade reality. As Nicola, your job is to save both worlds by completing Dot's game while simultaneously dealing with grumpy teachers and increasingly complex real-world Cyblin Lord attacks.
Things start out simply enough, as Nicola sits in class with her Gear Kid hidden under the desk, and players control Dot on the small screen. This can be a tad difficult to see at times due to the PSVR's low resolution, which is a little unfortunate as a fair chunk of the game's two hours is spent on the handheld. There are no such issues in the real world though, as Nicola launches spitballs around the room (controlled by players simply looking in the appropriate direction) causing all kinds of amusing chaos to distract the teacher from discovering her secret game time. Soon enough, Dot's game starts to fuse with reality and huge full-screen platforming levels appear right in front of your eyes. Eventually leaving the classroom, we fend off a playground and invasion and battle the headmaster, although we never seem to actually battle the Cyblin Lord himself. The game's final screens hint that there's more to come in the future though...
Pixel Ripped 1989 is stuffed full of references to classics of yesteryear, and anyone with a fondness for retro goodness will have great fun picking out the nods to old favourites. Retro-inspired games are all the rage these days, but this is the first we've come across that blends old-school gameplay and aesthetics with ultra-modern VR so successfully. An interesting premise and great fun to play, it's a thoroughly unique and entertaining title that's well worth the price of admission.
PIXEL RIPPED 1989 / DEVELOPER: ARVORE / PUBLISHER: ARVORE / PLATFORM: HTC VIVE, OCULUS RIFT, PLAYSTATION VR (REVIEWED) / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW (16TH OCTOBER PSVR EUR/AUS)