Publisher – iCandy Games
Price – US $9.99 / EU €9.99 / UK £6.99
Release Date – April 27th, 2017
Input – Tracked Motion Controllers
Play Area – Seated
Store – Steam
Reviewed on – HTC Vive
One of the amazing qualities of virtual reality is providing players with real world experiences that they normally wouldn’t have access to. One of those experiences, for me, is playing at a casino. Not because I don’t live near one, but because I am fully aware of how bad I am at cards and the lord of lands would probably call security as fast as our dear Bailey once it is discovered that I had lost all my money. Luckily the money changing hands in iCandy Games’s “Blackjack Bailey VR” is as real as my luck at the table.
At face value, Blackjack Bailey VR is just a simple game of blackjack set in a decent looking virtual casino environment. You start off with a modest amount of credits, place your bet, then play a round of cards. Once you run out of credits, the dealer will call for security and the game ends. It is simple and to the point and that is this game’s highlight. It delivers an enjoyable game of blackjack. Unfortunately, there are a few problems, but it should be noted that this is an early access game, and the developers have been quick to point out that they are listening to feedback and updates are on the way.
This is a seated game which fits nicely with the fact that you are indeed at a blackjack table, but the game does have a predetermined location that you will need to physically move yourself to be seated at the table. Currently there is no option to change this location and for some players, including myself, that meant being uncomfortably close to a wall. Currently the game has no options available however an options button is present in the game so, fingers crossed, perhaps this feature is on the way because it is definitely not the best way to start the experience.
You will only need one motion controller, with all the commands being inputted through the thumb pad. This method worked very well though I was looking forward to possibly using hand gestures. Your rotary menu will provide you with betting options, dealer commands, but no way to quit the game and restart. To restart, you will need to lose all your credits and if you want to exit the game you will need to do so through the steam menu.
Visually this game was decent with the real highlight being the casino around you and the layout of the table. The casino could have used some other npc’s milling about as it was a little odd seeing it completely empty. The dealer looked somewhat creepy due to her eyes never moving off the player but it wasn’t too distracting as you spend most of the time focusing on the cards. Blackjack Bailey VR could use a little work in the audio department, however, with the most notable shortcoming being the dealer. Currently she has an extremely limited amount of lines she will say and it does make her a dull experience. The other noticeable area lacking sound was the casino itself. There was no real ambiance, no slot machine sounds or chatter and it made the game feel very hollow.
So, as you can see, this game is in early access for a good reason, it needs some work, but it does provide a decent game of blackjack and I did find myself enjoying that part of the overall experience. I only encountered a couple of game crashes that confirmed some reports of the game freezing up randomly after a winning hand but it was not very often and the developers are aware of the issue. In its current state, I wouldn’t recommend buying this game unless you’re into blackjack or want to be a part of the development process.
What would I pay? In early access, I feel that the price should be set to $1.99, at least until a patch is implemented that fixes the chair placement issue and the client crash. Once that is done, Blackjack Bailey VR will have the potential to be a fun little casino game, but just needs some work on the overall experience to really make it shine.
Hologram Software Ltd provided theVRgrid with a review copy for this title and, regardless of our review, we thank them for that!