I was a bat-catcher for most of the teams I played for, a not-so-great to okay hitter, but at least I could whip the ball to second plate without trouble.
What The Bat? entering my life now 14 years later has allowed me to believe I was a better hitter than I remember, and has also served as my first ever experience with the PlayStation VR2.
However it should be clear, What The Bat? is no substitute for actual baseball, and is a more appropriately the kind of game pulled out at a part when you want to watch your friends flail their arms in a funny way, or try and carefully make breakfast with a pair of bats for hands.
What The Bat? Review (PSVR2) – Bat-Tastic
Getting Into The Swing Of Things
I had truly never played anything in VR until I first launched What The Bat? a day after the PSVR2 launched, because a snow storm delayed my headsets arrival by a day.
So while I can’t speak for everyone’s first VR experience, I can say that might was an utterly joyful one, and I have What The Bat? to thank for that.
Part of this comes from the fact that What The Bat? is incredibly simple in its concept. You have bats for hands. Deal with whatever’s put in front of you how you’d think best when you have a bat for a hand.
Usually, that means hitting a baseball, or anything that might need hitting, at a target to attain a gold trophy, or complete a puzzle while struggling through with you bat-hands.
It’s immediately a hilarious game, and one that pulls your curiosity into the next level by making you wonder how you’ll laugh next having fun with your bat hands.
Understanding how to interact with the world is also incredibly intuitive, which makes it all the better for anyone who’s never tried anything in VR.
Makes You Feel Like The Bat
I don’t have any experience with other VR controllers to compare them, but I feel very safe in saying that the two VR Sense controllers that arrive with your headset are excellent.
At the very least in how its haptics are used, unfortunately with What The Bat?, you really don’t have to use any part of the physical controller in your hand at all.
I say unfortunately, though some might not think that an issue. It’s really not, and actually part of what makes What The Bat? even simpler to pick up.
You really just need to hold the controllers and put the straps on, and let the haptics do the rest, because they really do.
Every time you hit anything, it somehow is able to relay to you the feeling of hitting that thing. It’s incredible because working alongside the excellent audio and visual work, you’re fooled more than enough to feel like you have bats for hands.
I still stipulate however that it’s unfortunate so much of the controller is essentially un-used in What The Bat?, in part because it somehow feels like a missed chance.
Blink And You’ll Miss It
If you’ve played What The Golf? on a mobile device, then you’re already familiar with developer Triband’s own brand of humour.
It’s highly whimsical and sometimes incredibly literal, and altogether silly. I personally love it, though it’s not always perfect in its execution.
So while your mileage may vary, it’s very easy to play through a few chapters in a single session, wanting to see what’ll make you laugh next.
By that same token, this is currently a very small experience for those VR-veterans looking for something to put their new headset through its paces.
It also doesn’t help that there can be times when you solve a puzzle without feeling like you’ve done anything, really, and before you can take in the joke you’re off to the next one.
There’s also no way to tell if a level you’re entering will have two, one, three or more short puzzles for you to solve, which adds to how short it can feel.
It helps to know that when you reach the credits, a message is left revealing more chapters and levels will be coming soon. But coming soon doesn’t exactly help the crowd, like me, who’re jumping in at launch.
At the very least, the excellent Photo Op levels at the end of each chapter let you savour your surroundings for as long as you want.
It was also great to see those same photos then used in later chapters to decorate your surroundings. That’s all part of the charm What The Bat? has that I just love.
Bat-Tastic For A Short Time, Not A Long Time
What The Bat? isn’t a long experience, but the time you do get to spend with it on your first go can be a constant joy.
While the early-level simplicity doesn’t match up to the quality of later levels, overall each chapter is a fun and funny gameplay experience, especially if you’re like me, and also experiencing VR for the first time.
If you’re a Triband fan and want more of the kind of thing you get from What The Golf?, or if you’re a new PSVR2 owner and want something light and fun to help you get your VR legs, then I can’t recommend What The Bat? enough.
I’d wager its even the best VR game to pull out at a party to show your friends. While it might require everyone to back up a bit, it’s surely to make everyone laugh.
However if you’re a seasoned VR player who wants to get the most out of the PSVR2’s launch window of releases, then What The Bat? is probably not as essential an experience for you compared to something like Horizon Call Of The Mountain.
What The Bat? is currently available for PS5 and PSVR2.
Review code kindly provided by publisher.