Hex Tunnel

Hex Tunnel forces the player into a multi-colored pipeline where you must dodge a bevy of objects and obstructions in order to successfully make it to the end of the tunnel.  Five different tunnels offer variability in both difficulty and atmosphere (all representing the five elements: ice, water, earth, fire and air).  Along with the traditional arcade mode, there is also chaos and ultra mode to spice up the game play and crank up the difficulty for the player.  Hex Tunnel is one of the shorter but wildly looking games for the PSVR.  

Quick Facts

Game Style: First Person
Controller: None 
Game length: < 1 hour
PlayPSVR Score: 4.5 (based off Original PS4)

In theory Hex Tunnel sounds like an awesome experience in which is short, sweet, cheap and perfect for a quick little VR game that can awe friends and family.  The premise of the game is that you are sent through a tunnel of moving objects, crazy colors, obstacles and other designs you would see in a fantastical movie.  I was excited for this game because I love the crazy and very optically stimulating games like Rez infinite. But then I had a rude awakening at the very first screen. 

I currently do not have a PS4 Pro, so take this into consideration, but immediately your eyes are met with a pixelated and blurry mess of what should be light green.  The title screen looks like something that was manually copy and pasted in Microsoft Paint. I was thoroughly disappointed because I knew this wasn't the precedent of a good game.  Stick with me though, because the game does get better, but it certainly got off on the wrong foot. 

There are three different modes: Arcade, Chaos and Ultra.  Arcade is the easiest and within it is 5 different levels that represent the five elements: ice, water, fire, earth and air.  Each has their own inherent difficulty, new graphics and a unique challenge.  As you choose a level you begin by being forced into the tunnel and can only move by changing your head movement.  As you travel through the tunnel you must avoid moving spheres, logs and other moving objects.  

Chaos is a very difficult Arcade mode where the difficulty gets cranked up a notch and I was never able to beat it.  I made it a decent little ways through, but it was just way too crazy and required more precise movements than the game would allow. Ultra mode has you focus on speed as you fly through the levels in the fastest possible.  It isn't much different than arcade. 

There are two big problems here.  One, the graphics.  I try not to get too wrapped up in graphics, especially in VR.  But this game's novelty was based off what the consumer would think is a visually appealing and an optically stimulating experience.  Instead, the levels are kind of bland, uninspiring and dull.  They don't look great, the colors are not bright, I never once said to myself "whoa" (like I did in Rez) and overall just didn't jive with what was expected.  

The other problem is the controls.  You move yourself within the tunnel by moving your head.  When you angle your head upwards, for instance, you start to go that way.  Not immediately and not fast.  There is a lag for sure.  Then, when you put your head back to neutral position your momentum keeps you moving upwards slightly.  It reminds me of Mario on NES when you run to the right, stop pushing the directional pad but his momentum keeps him sliding to the right a little bit.  I really don't like this feature, but with practice you can get used to it.  The problem is that in later levels and especially chaos mode, the windows you have to avoid moving objects and the side of the tunnel are so small that this momentum carrying effect is an absolute killer.  

I will say the best thing Hex Tunnel has going for it is that it is very reasonably priced.  $4.99 is perfect, because you will get some playing time in and it is a better value than 80% of PSVR games available.  With that being said, after about 20 minutes I was ready to be done and never to play the game again.  In later days I didn't feel the motivation to continue playing.  The game simply wasn't fun.  So take that for what it's worth. 

Overall, Hex Tunnel was a good concept sadly executed poorly.  The lackluster graphics and dull game play led to a very forgetful PSVR experience.  Even with its low price tag, I would strongly consider you to save your $5 and put it toward another game that will provide more fun and hopefully a better experience in general.  

PlayPSVR Score: 4.5