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Straylight Review: A Swingin' Good Time

  • Immersive virtual reality experience without VR-sickness
  • Stunning, grandiose visuals
  • Effectively tight controls
  • Voiceover dialogue can be obnoxious

A Quest 2 code was provided to Zaaz for this review. "Straylight" is available now for Meta Quest 2, Meta Quest, Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR, Valve Index, and the HTC Vive.

Let's start off this review of "Straylight" — a futuristic outer space-based VR title from developer and publisher Dr BLOC — with a bold statement: If you've ever had any inkling in the slightest to swing like Spider-Man, slinging webs from one point to another, you may not get a more fulfilling experience than this.

The concept behind the game is simple enough. You use your controllers to shoot beams of light that latch onto stars that are scattered throughout each level. These form the "tracks" that allow you to swing your way from the start of the level to the end. The difficulty increases as you progress through levels, with moon-sized obstacles needing to be avoided and tracks becoming more complex. From its visuals and audio to its gameplay and mechanics, "Straylight" is incredibly immersive, letting you live out your dreams of being everybody's favorite web-slinger.

Arguably the game's best feature is its ability to prevent VR-sickness. Despite the intense swinging and flying, the game manages to be incredibly smooth. There are a lot of fast-paced VR games that don't quite succeed in preventing motion sickness or the need to take breaks every 20 minutes or so, but "Straylight" has done an exemplary job that other VR titles should strive to emulate.

In space, no one can hear you swing

The visuals of "Straylight" are stunning; it looks like a futuristic dreamscape with its electric neon hues and bright stars lighting up the dark sky of deep outer space. It feels incredibly immersive as you soar through space on your beams of light surrounded by calming music that perfectly complements the visuals. All of the elements come together to create a unique gaming experience that will have you hooked from start to finish.

"Straylight's" mechanics are effective and tight, making for an enjoyable gaming experience. Movement has been vastly improved since its Early Access version, allowing for more realistic latching, swinging, and overall feeling that you are, in fact, traveling throughout space on your own accord. Perfectly timed latches can be strung together seamlessly in order to progress through levels quickly and efficiently.

It's in your best interest to time your movement correctly and adapt to the changing environments, too. While you may be hesitant to pick up speed in certain parts, you may actually need to do so in order to cover the distance from one point to another. Having momentum isn't just a fun thing to experience in "Straylight" — it's often also necessary, especially in the later levels.

Space swinging like Spider-Man

Dr BLoC's "Straylight" is a shining example of an outstanding virtual reality platforming experience. With difficult, fast-paced levels that take players from the depths of outer space to the deepest galaxies, this game offers a truly immersive gaming experience. In fact, it's so immersive that when you miss a latch and start to fall, you actually feel like you're hurtling into the abyss of space, which feels as oddly comforting as it does slightly terrifying.

The voiceover dialogue can get just as obnoxious as it was in the Early Access release — perhaps even more so — but it's not a deal-breaker. You may even find yourself using it to fuel your runs, as you challenge yourself (via the game's GHOST system) to beat your previous times.

"Straylight" stands out from other VR titles with its unique concept, stunning visuals, and audio elements that combine to create a truly immersive gaming experience. Its mechanics are solid and make for an enjoyable journey across space as you swing through each level — or do your own thing in the game's Zen mode. There are plenty of official and unofficial Spider-Man-like experiences within the realm of VR, but "Straylight" may take the cake as the best experience out there at the moment.