Hands On with Space Channel 5 VR – PAX East 2019

The Sega Dreamcast was home to a lot of weird games- sometimes for better, sometimes for worse, but not quite enough to save the console from an early grave- but enough, it seems, that nostalgia for the system has resurrected its games in many new forms. Out on the PAX East show floor this year was Space Channel 5 VR, a clever adaptation of a quirky Dreamcast rhythm game from nearly twenty years ago.

Currently in development for Playstation 4’s PSVR system, Space Channel 5 VR is a dance game that gets your whole body moving- it was the first game I played at PAX this year, and it’s one of the best games that I played at the show.

Space Channel 5 VR puts you in the pumps of a hip young reporter on her first day at the titular space channel- there’s an invasion of unusually funky aliens invading your space station, and the only way to beat them is to boogie down. Ulala, the game’s protagonist, serves as your guide- she shows you a few simple dance moves, which you must imitate- mimicking the aliens seems to be the only way to beat them. Your dance moves are how you duck and dodge and shoot your lasers- and I’ve gotta say, it’s a lot of fun.

Space Channel 5 VR Screenshot

Speaking as a fan of the original game, I have to say that the conversion to VR works surprisingly well for SC5– your moves with the Playstation Move controllers correspond to the moves in the original. Actually doing the dances (rather than just flicking analog sticks) is in my opinion a lot more satisfying.

Bear in mind that I’m a big fan of the Dance Central series- that’s more my frame of reference when it comes to dance games over something like, oh, Dance Dance Revolution or even Just Dance.

Overall, I think Space Channel 5 VR is well worth keeping an eye on- while the demo I played was still in development, it shows massive potential, and I’m pretty sold on the core gameplay loop. That said, I did find myself stepping out of the gameplay area a little too easily- it wasn’t entirely clear to me as to if that was due to the limitations of the Playstation VR (versus Kinect, which seemed to do better at tracking me in a bigger environment) or if it was due to the game still being a work in progress. Nonetheless, it wasn’t enough to ruin my experience, and I’m sure the finished game will be a lot more polished.

Also, I’m curious as to if the final game will include Space Michael- a character voiced by none other than Michael Jackson himself. What do you think about Space Channel 5 VR– did you get the chance to try it out at PAX East? Hit us up in the comments below or hit us up on Twitter @1RuleBeCool.

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