Grab your horns, board your longboat, and by Thor, you will bang some drums. Ragnarock launch last month on Steam VR and Oculus and I finally joined a raid to try out this Viking metal rhythm title.
Bushy beards, guns of steel, the open sea, and epic riffs on the high seas are all in store for anybody who boards the longboat Ragnorok. Wandev Studio, Ragnarock just hit Steam VR and Oculus Store last month, and while there are plenty of rhythm centric VR games available if you want to live out a Jedi fantasy or gun down those high notes, there’s nothing quite like Wandev’s mix of quirky cartoon Vikings drumming, and sea shanty metal. After pushing off into early access last year, Ranorock is now officially live and this VR only title plunges players into ye ‘olde days of Norse myth. Taking on the role of a longboat captain it’s your job to bash a set of virtual drums and motivate your crew to get rowing.
Like any rhythm game, the mechanics of Ragnarock are intrinsically simple. Across a series of lanes, Viking runes come crawling towards anybody eager to get out onto the high seas. As these runes come into contact with the drums on offer, players must crush the runes with the aid of a virtual mallet. From the outside this all looks like a fairly good impression for a confused pigeon, what with all the flapping. Inside this VR world, Ragnarock is a whole heap of fun.
The simple but quite ridiculous concept is played for laughs from the moment you slip on the VR headset. With a very brief setup dispatched you’ll instantly be greeted by cartoon wooden signage, bold lettering, and a crew that could be pulled straight out of a certain Dragon cartoon. It’s all renders in bright colors polygonal shapes and leans heavily into the pantomime of the whole experience. This is reflected in the choice of music on offer. While titles like Just dance or Rocksmith only tilt a little towards rock or pop, Ragnarock, well the clue is in the title. Sea Shanties, Viking metal, power chords, and plenty of Alestorm await. With a total of 30 tracks so far, each audio adventure comes with a glorious backdrop to your voyage. From the moment you slip out into the waters, things change when the runes start cracking. The particular twang of Fife royalty can be heard belting out of Gloryhammer tracks as an epic starfield washes over your longboat, while a lush jungle or a descent into the underworld might await during other tracks.
Whether the audio or visual presentation makes Ragnarock your personal preference is entirely down to your taste but it works well for me. Sure, the pirate metal might be a little out of time, but it’s all theatre and it works fabulously. To be clear, I love rock and this sort of tongue in cheek theatre left me with nothing but a grin after a day of swinging my hammer. I also now know all the words to the Hootsforce, although that’s unrelated.
While Ragnarock presents an inviting concept, an upbeat facade, and a tub-thumping adventure, don’t let the cartoon crew fool you. For players that don’t regularly test their body in Beat Saber or dance their way through DDR, Ragnarock’s seemingly simple rune assault can get quickly overwhelming. Thankfully at lower levels, primarily below tracks set at 2,3, and 4, it’s difficult to fall far short of success. As things progress beyond this stage, however, Wandev throws in new concepts, and extra tempo adjustments to keep your arms flailing. Ragnarock isn’t quite going to reach the height of Rocksmith’s hyper-realistic musical mayhem but that’s not the point. This straightforward concept relies heavily on charm and simple self-improvement to beat down the rest of the leaderboard.
Competitive Bass Beats
As with any decent rhythm experience, Ragnarock includes a host of leaderboards for every song, difficulty, and even manages a cross-platform multiplayer mode, meaning there are plenty of opportunities to show off your dedication to the big beats. A custom track designer for solo play and a practise mode are welcome additions and while Ragnarock doesn’t decide to gamify any further, the accessibility to jump in at the deep end makes this a title that players can simply pick up and enjoy.
Ragnarock is cartoon Vikings, pirate metal, and a solid VR rhythm game all the result is a rhythm game that’s hotter than a flaming pyre! Ragnarock is utterly ridiculous fun and that sets it apart from the slick and serious competition that you might otherwise pick up. If you want to leave with a smile on your face rather than a sweat on your forehead then get ready to met Ragnarock with your metal horns firmly planted atop your helmet over on Steam VR and Oculus Store for € 21.99/$19.99.