Winning tickets by shooting hoops and whacking moles has been a fun way to waste time for decades. The question is; does Pierhead Arcade provide an enjoyable collection of virtual reality redemption games? Fill your pockets with tokens and let's find out.
What the heck is Pierhead Arcade?
Pierhead Arcade is basically a virtual arcade where you walk (or warp) around while playing games and earning tickets. You need 2 PlayStation Move controllers to do so but thankfully, the controls generally work quite well. Between games, you can try your luck at a couple claw machines and perhaps earn a few virtual teddy bears. I'll get into the specific games after this introduction. One thing I'll say for now is that a lot of games put you too far forward which makes playing them more difficult than they need to be. Anyway, there's a charm to each game as they have distinct props and artwork thus making them feel like they could be emulating real life games. On the other hand, the arcade itself is eerily empty. In fact, there's no music playing or anything when you're wandering around which makes the arcade come across as barren and lifeless. On the plus side, you can redeem your tickets for interactive prizes which is strangely satisfying and provides an even more authentic experience.
There are only two shooting games in Pierhead Arcade. Shooting Gallery is straightforward as all you do is shoot a pistol at ducks, fish, and rabbits. Zombie Shootout is much more complex as you fire a shotgun that needs to be reloaded after each shot. It took a while to get used to as I kept accidentally grabbing the gun instead of reloading it. As you play, zombies advance towards you and you have to blast them away before they reach the end so you don't lose points. It's great fun and one of the highlights of the entire arcade.
For starters, there's a Basketball game. I found it to be quite annoying because the balls are barely smaller than the hoop so it's very difficult to score points. Next, Scarab Toss has you rapidly throw gold balls in order to hopefully land them in a vase. If they don't make it then they'll roll and fall down holes that grant you sympathy points. To be honest, it may be simple but it's probably my favourite game in this category. Cannonball Bounce tasks you with bouncing balls off a target so they land on a 3x3 grid of baskets. It's tricky and not that fun. In Rapid Fire, you throw sacks into a wall of holes which sounds easy enough but trying to aim and throw with a PlayStation Move controller can be irritating. Finally, although they involve more rolling than throwing; there's a generic Bowling game that's incredibly difficult and a Skee-Ball game called Rocket Ball where I ended up throwing more balls off to the side than actually at the game.
First, the Whac-A-Mole inspired Dino Whack is basic and okay but hitting the dinosaurs doesn't always seem to register. Similarly, Super Punch is played by picking up boxing gloves then punching targets that pop out from the sides and it's slightly less enjoyable than Dino Whack. Comet Drop has you tap a button to time balls that fall down a tube in order to land them in holes within a rotating platform. Needless to say, more luck than skill is required for that one. Binary Dash is an easy game to play as all you do is touch white lights and avoid red ones. The more in a row you touch, the higher your score multiplier raises so it's a fairly rewarding little game.
Arctic Shuffle is played like Shuffleboard where you slide a puck down the playfield. The further it lands, the more points you get but it can fall off the end as well as the edges so it's pretty tricky. Last but certainly not least, Honey Rush is played like Taito's classic Ice Cold Beer as you move two levers that control the ends of a bar that balances a ball on it. The playfield has many holes in it and your goal is to guide the ball into the highlighted one. The faster you are, the more you score. It's in an addictive take on the classic.
If you have an affinity for arcade redemption games like I do then Pierhead Arcade is a worthwhile collection. However, just don't expect the games to play even half as smoothly as they do in real life.
- + Good variety of redemption games
- + Charming visuals that make each individual game feel like it could be real
- + Prizes are strangely rewarding
- - The arcade itself is oddly lifeless
- - Many games put you too far forward
- - Some games simply aren't that fun