Ace Banana PSVR Review: One of the Worst Games I Have Ever Played

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Posted November 9, 2016 by Adeem Khan in Video Games

One of the only uses my Move controllers got prior to the launch of PlayStation VR is playing Sports Champions on PS3. My favorite mode from that game has always been the archery one. The gameplay, tracking, and controls worked smoothly and it just felt great. It was my go to games to show off whenever someone would come over, and it got lots of positive impressions. Not having a Sports Champions/Wii Sports type title for the PlayStation VR launch was a disappointment, but Ace Banana provided a flicker of hope. Ace Banana aimed to bring a cartoony version of archery to the PSVR, and six years after Sports Champions showed how well it can work, it screws it all up and delivers one of PSVR’s worst titles.

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There is not much here in terms of narrative, but you play as a living banana person and have to protect baby bananas from being stolen by monkeys. It’s a good enough premise to throw you into the world, and I don’t think anyone will play this game for the story. The gameplay, unfortunately, isn’t much better. The gameplay consists of two parts: the shooting part and the growing part.

There’s only one shooting mode in the game and it’s a wave-based level with no checkpoints. Every couple of waves, there’s a boss fight. The boss fights are very difficult compared to the normal waves, and they’re all based on a gimmick that you have to figure out in order to beat them. Boss fights also cover up vision constantly with monkeys latching on to your face, grass wrapping around your head, etc. Basically, the boss fights are difficult to figure out and will take multiple tries. This would be fine, but the mode has no checkpoints. So to get back to that boss fight, you have to go through all the waves again and hope you figure it out this time, or you’ll be stuck going through all the waves again and again. This wouldn’t be that big of a problem if the gameplay was actually fun.

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There are some serious issues with how the game controls. The game just throws you in without any calibration for your controllers. You can play the game with two Move controllers or a DualShock 4, but you’re never told this. Most of the problems I had with the gameplay were in regards to the Move controllers, but I don’t recommend playing with a DualShock 4 either. It just makes the game extremely boring.

The move controllers are frustrating because they require you to be at a pretty far away distance from the camera, but it never tells you this. To land good shots, you have to pull back your move controller far back, like stretching the string of a bow. This can lead to one of the move controllers leaving the play area. While all other VR games I’ve played notify me when I leave the play area, Ace Banana does not. I frequently found one of my hands in the game floating away from my body and into the sky, only to later realize it wasn’t a glitch but the move controller was out of the play area.

To fix this problem you simply move a couple feet back and start playing again, only to reach the first boss fight which has you shooting above and below you. Now you need to stop the game again and move even further back and adjust the camera so your move controller doesn’t go above or below the play area.

Add two move controllers and strap a headset on his face and you have me a hour into the game.

Add two move controllers and strap a headset on his face and you have me an hour into the game.

Even when you figure out the perfect place to stand, there’s not much in the game worth the hassle. There’s a lot tracking issues with the move controllers that turn your hand in weird directions. In the later waves, there can so many enemies on screen you’ll be constantly shooting and it can get tiring quickly. One thing you can do is pause the game, take a little break and get back into it. That is, if you can find the pause button. Instead of making pause the start button, or even the select button, they chose to make it the X button. This led me to believe there wasn’t a pause option for a while. The worst part is that the pause button stops working during boss fights, which is probably when you’ll need it the most.

If you can’t stand all the issues and switch to the DualShock 4, you’ll find a new set of issues to deal with. Like I said before, the game is boring playing with a PS4 controller, but it’s also unplayable at times. After you die in the game, you collect your rewards and go back to the main menu. This is done by shooting at the reward and the home icon. But when you’re playing with a controller, the game doesn’t let you shoot after you die. So you’re stuck with either getting your Move controllers and using those to continue or just restarting the whole game and skipping your rewards.

The constant tracking issues, going out of the play area, and the tiring repeating arm motions on the later waves make it an extremely frustrating experience. It’s just not fun. The severe lack of polish in this game is a disgrace; how did Sony’s QA team approve this in the first place?

They grow up so fast

They grow up so fast

One of the saving graces this game has is the growing mode. After losing in the wave mode, you get rewards like sunlight, water, soil and a baby banana. You can grow the baby banana in the growing mode, by using all the materials you have gathered and they go from baby to teenage years to adulthood as you grow them. I found this to be a little fun and kinda funny. If you have kids in the house, this can be a fun little mode. Once you grow a banana all the way, you can change your character skin to the new banana. There’s even a mirror where you can check yourself out.

There’s also a book in this mode that you can flip through. It is filled with translation errors. I used the book to figure out what one power up in the game does, and after reading the nonsensical description, I left more confused than I was before. Nevertheless, flipping through a book in VR was a unique little experience.

All I can say about Ace Banana is that it should be avoided by everyone. If you’re really itching for the archery experience and cannot wait, I guess once you figure out the positioning problems, you can have some fun in the early waves. The growing mode can be fun, too, if you have kids. But for most people, the game is a complete waste of money and it’s best to wait for a proper archery game to arrive in VR.


About the Author

Adeem Khan