Developer / Publisher – Blackwall Labs
Price – US $7.99 / CA $8.99 / EU €7.99 / UK £6.99 / AU $9.95
Release date – May 01, 2020
Control Method – 2 x Tracked Motion Controllers
Digital only – Yes
Reviewed on – Oculus Rift
Store Links – Steam
VR can be used to put in you in new worlds whether it’s fighting aliens on a strange planet or trying to survive a haunted house, donning a headset let’s us experience what was impossible only a few years ago. One of VR’s strengths is the recreation of real world activities be it bowling, wing suiting or whatever and thus we have NYC Bungee, which looks to recreate that tethered experience by having you jump from atop the Statue of Liberty and plummet almost to the bottom along with a couple other activities.
Right of the hop, the game asks you to adjust your position along with setting whether you want to teleport as well as a few simple instructions. What is odd about this is that menu is on your monitor, not in VR so to start the game, you need to click those option with the mouse. Once in game, things are much more fluid with an elevator behind you that you can freely walk too or teleport too if you enabled that option. That’s actually important as with the teleport option off, the game demands a fair size room-scale setup as you walk in and out the elevator. Getting into the elevator, you can look at the button board and select from 3 experiences: Bungee, Rock Climbing and a hot air balloon ride. Bungee brings you to Lady Liberty’s hand and has you walk the plank ala Richie’s Plank Experience whereupon you fall to the ground until your cord is stretched to the max and proceed to bounce you up and down a few more times before the experience ends. Rock Climbing puts you at Liberty’s base and allows you choose from 4 difficulties, placing grab points all the way up to her head. If you enjoy challenge, there are global leaderboards for each difficulty as well. The balloon ride lets you raise or lower are hot air balloon by pulling on the corresponding handle and gives you the tallest view out of any mode in this game, but really doesn’t offer up anything else.
NYC Bungee looks pretty solid though you only visit the one locale, if it looked bad, that would have been an experience killer. Everything seems to be bathed in a slight glow, giving off a sort of sunset haze, which makes sense with the sun in the background cresting the skyline. Off in the distance you can see people walking around the island with the Statue of Liberty being recreated wonderfully in VR. From up on high you can take in the waters surrounding you and check out that New York Skyline with all of it looking pretty spot on with seagulls flying near you, a blimp circling the isle and planes cruising around in the distance. That Ney York Skyline looks authentic enough but stare too long and you’ll see that there isn’t too much in the way of detail on those buildings, but that’s a minor gripe at best.
Audio is almost 100% reliant on the ambient sounds surrounding you from the wind billowing in your ears when up on high to seagulls squawking as they circle the statue. As you enter and travel in the elevator, you’ll hear some wonderfully familiar ‘elevator music’ which only lasts a few seconds before you get to your stop. I found the 3D audio in here to be spotty at best with volume increasing dramatically as you move in and out of the elevator but for the most part, given the simple nature of the experience, besides those jarring moments, it works.
The bungee jumping works here too, though I didn’t find it to be the most fun part of the game as after only 1 or 2 jumps, it just got old fast, not unlike most other VR plank experiences. Much like those other experiences, this is designed more to share with friends and watch them freak out more then anything else. I did encounter a small little hiccup right when you drop off the plank where the game seems to switch from ‘walk’ to ‘ fall’ mode making that moment a little less smooth then it should be. The game also doesn’t mention using an actual board to walk across in real life, but as this utilizes Room scale, setting up a real-life plank to walk upon would be a fairly easy task. The rock climbing is where I spent most of my time with each difficulty offering an original path to get the top. Scaling the Statue of Liberty was pretty slick and having it be a timed race was really just the icing on that cake.
NYC Bungee does what it sets out to do and fits in line with these types of falling experiences. For those who might have sensitive stomachs when it comes to VR, you should be aware that bouncing up and down on a bungee cord in VR might trigger some sim sickness, but for those that can handle it, this feels like a nice representation of that activity. If your looking to try something a little different in VR, NYC Bungee offers up a fun little way to do something new from the comfort of your home.
What would I pay? From what i could tell, this is the cheapest plank experience available on Steam and with the included climbing mode, and the less impressive balloon mode, I think this is worth that $7.99 asking price, especially if you have people to share this with.
Blackwall Labs provided The VR Grid with a press code for this title and, regardless of this review, we thank them for that!