Rival Rides: VR Theme Park is a recently released virtual reality party game. Rival Rides takes place in a theme park. Compete with your friends online in various mini-games and wild rides, to collect the highest amount of golden egg trophies and become the Rival Ride’s champion! I had to privilege to play with 2 of the co-founders of the game. Even though they utterly destroyed me I had a blast. This is my experience with Rival Rides for Quest 2.
Developer & Publisher // ByOwls, Argarium LTD
Platforms // Meta Quest 2, PC
MSRP & Release Date //Free-To-Play, Jun. 11, 2023
Reviewed On // Meta Quest 2
Fun Characters and Customization
In Rival Rides, the characters you play are called Bloops. The bloops have a simple fun design which isn’t a bad thing. That’s because there are quite a few outfits you can customize your bloop. So after you pick your color and begin you can see the options they have. These outfits can be purchased with the gold coins you earn from playing. The outfits vary from things like a king, pirate, cowboy, and more. Not that these outfits affect anything in-game, but they add some fun customization for your characters. I enjoyed the options they provided while playing because it added an extra aspect of uniqueness and diversity for my bloop.
The number of coins starts at low amounts and increases gradually for other outfits. This makes it so that it doesn’t require hours upon hours of grinding in the game to earn the coins. All the customizations are easy to understand and get the hang of pretty quickly. If you are someone who continually likes to change outfits a lot it adds an extra layer of replayability. When it comes to me I just prefer the king outfit!
Colorful Design and Empty Gathering Area
My only gripe with Rival Rides is the gathering area. When you select to host a game, join, or solo you enter the gathering area. As great as the bright colors are and how brilliant the design is for this type of game, the gathering area is too open and bare. In the time I had with the co-founders, it was one of the things I mentioned to them directly. The bare open area leaves little to do besides walk around in circles or talk to your friends if you are playing with anyone. This left me feeling bored when I was by myself. The co-founders did say there are plans to add more things to this area such as mini-games and the like. Usually, theme parks have a lot going on and it’s crowded and booming with people.
So the bareness of the gathering area is a small letdown. If that does happen it would be tremendous and add another layer of fun that would eliminate my only gripe. The colorful design adds another layer of fun to Rival Rides. The first thing I notice when I play a game is how the setting looks or the designs look. Even though the design for this game isn’t on the level design of a AAA blockbuster game but it works for what it’s supposed to be. A fun colorful and beautifully designed amusement park that catches my eye a lot. I can appreciate and enjoy what they did here.
Fun Game Modes
Rival Rides at launch had four-game modes or rides as you could call them. Only having 4 game modes at the start isn’t a lot of variety and can cause some minor repetitiveness. I didn’t get bored, but there were times I wished there was more variety. You could attempt to sling some food while competing against your friends running a concession stand in Foodland Court.
Race against your friends in Earthland while shooting coins and diamonds to earn points. You can venture into Haunted Land where have to ability to shoot a few different types of monsters, use the shield ability, or hit the Devil Button. Then last in Rival Rides is Cosmic Land where you and your friends battle a multi-headed hydra with space blasters and grenades. When it came to Foodland Court I thought I was going to strongly dislike it, because I don’t enjoy games like Overcooked.
Foodland Court and Earthland
To my surprise, Foodland Court wasn’t like Overcooked at all. A customer gives you an order and you have to make anything from popcorn, pizza, churros, drinks, and more. All the while random abilities pop up for you to use on your friends. You could do anything to them like set the stand on fire causing them to have to use the fire extinguisher to put it out. You can cause flies to swarm their area and they have to use bug spray to get rid of them, and more. I’d be making a pizza and go to put it in the oven and all of a sudden I got a skeleton in front of me that I’d have to shoot with a dart gun. It made the experience a lot more fun and added another layer of competition. Foodland Court was my favorite because there is plenty to do.
They have a variety of items you get to make, that require different steps. So it’s not too simple while not being overly complicated either. Being able to mess with your friends via the “abilities” I mentioned just put it over the top adding a huge layer of fun and intense moments.
In Earthland you ride on a track in a mine cart and Rival Rides provides 2 revolvers to shoot coins and diamonds to rack up points. There are also speed boosts to help you gain on a friend that might be farther ahead and a grappling hook. The grappling hook can slow your friend down and allow you to catch up. The controls were pretty smooth on each of the rides and easy to pick up.
I did have an easier time standing up and playing or sitting in an office chair. Being able to rotate helps grab guns at your hips as opposed to sitting on a couch that doesn’t move.
Haunted Land and Cosmic Land
Haunted Land in Rival Rides put you in a haunted house on a track. As you are riding along you got evil genies, skeletons, and more that pop out and you have to shoot them with your shotgun. You also have access to a shield button which can help out and protect you if you get hit by enemies. This helped me greatly in my first couple of tries because I wasn’t the best at shooting enemies. Last, but not least is Cosmic Land which was my second favorite. You and your friends can team up to take out the multi-headed hydra or if you’re chaotic you can even fight each other. Fighting each other doesn’t help beat the hydra, but you can steal your friend’s space blasters or just shoot them.
This adds a lot of chaotic fun whichever way you go. There are also big space rocks you can hide behind and hold onto for cover. If you need a bigger boom, you have access to grenades floating around the map. I almost forgot to mention to you fly around in Cosmic Land which is great. At first, the controls take a second to get used to, but once you do you will be flying all over the place in no time. Even when one of the founders kept shooting me or taking my gun when I was learning I enjoyed the camaraderie and chaotic game modes Rival Rides brings. More game modes are always welcome though.
My least favorite ride in Rival Rides is Haunted Mine. Not because it’s bad or anything, but I struggled at first because I was sitting on a stationary couch. This led to me not being able to grab my gun at times, causing me to take damage. Once I played in a rotating chair I was fine. So mainly because I struggled at first here I’d say this one was my least favorite of the four.
Positive Fostered Community and Motion Sickness Measures
The co-developers for Rival Rides have fostered a great community for the game. There wasn’t a moment where anyone was rude or screaming like when I played Among Us VR. Everyone I talked to seemed genuinely happy in the game and was happy to be there. I enjoy games more when there is a positively fostered atmosphere. Everyone was nice and just wanted to have a genuinely good time. The awesome community of people made my time in the game way more enjoyable. On top of that, another thing that leads to a good community is not having to worry about a lot of motion sickness. One big thing that keeps people out of the VR world is motion sickness.
In Rival Rides, they have implemented several measures to combat VR-induced nausea. They explained that one of the key elements is that players can focus on objects while playing the game. This helps to reduce the likelihood of nausea. Additionally, the game is designed to be played in shorter sessions. Players can hop in for just a 15-minute round or even a 5-minute session. This allows players to enjoy the game without feeling overwhelmed or experiencing discomfort. I never once felt any type of motion sickness at all. So due to that, I would say they succeeded here. I would have to leave the official judgment to my friends that tend to feel more motion sickness than I do.
Final Thoughts On Rival Rides: VR Theme Park
Rival Rides is based on a great idea and that is a fun time with friends. Each game mode I played was enjoyable, with Foodland Court being my favorite game which surprised me. While talking to the founders they said they have a lot of plans. I won’t spoil them, but there is a lot to look forward to. As I said my biggest gripe was the gathering area being too open and bare with nothing to do. The customization options in outfits you can choose add a layer of diversity, but can always use more of course. I highly recommend Rival Rides to anyone that enjoys party-style VR games. Especially if you are playing with your friends.