VR classic Racket: Nx was updated today with a new Co-op mode and cross-play across all supported platforms. Road to VR went hands-on with the new mode ahead of its release.
Update (November 19th, 2020): The Racket: Nx co-op mode which we previewed last week is now available as a free update to all platforms. Developer One Hamsa as since told Road to VR that it plans to add avatar customization, in-game tournaments, and new spectating options to Racket: Nx, but these features will be coming in a future update, likely in early 2021.
Our initial impressions of the Racket: Nx co-op mode continue in the original article below.
Original Article (November 10th, 2020): Racket: Nx, a virtual reality fusion of racquetball and Breakout, will see the release of a new Co-op mode on November 19th; the mode will be available on all supported platforms (SteamVR, Oculus PC, and Quest). The game supports cross-play multiplayer between all platforms, as well as cross-buy between Oculus PC and Quest, and the ability to play the game simultaneously on two Oculus headsets from one account.
Similar to the existing multiplayer Versus mode, in Co-op both players will find themselves standing in the center of a spherical arena and take turns hitting the ball. But instead of a tug-of-war for points, both players work together to keep their constantly depleting energy meter from running out by scoring points as they defeat waves of targets. The goal is to score as many points and make it through as many waves as possible before running out of energy.
In Co-op players share the usual powerups, and, unlike Versus mode, the ‘gutters’ are active like in Single Player. Once they’re charged either player can hit the ball into the gutter to tee up their teammate for a powerful shot with splash damage.
Rather than merely contributing to the same score, there’s some opportunities for teamwork too. While playing the beta version of the Co-op mode, I found myself ducking out of the way to give my teammate clearer line of sight on the ball as it rebounded to for their swing. While in the Versus mode it could be strategic to suddenly change the direction of the ball by hitting it behind you (to confuse your opponent), in Co-op you’ll want to avoid suddenly changing the ball’s direction without communicating it to your teammate so they can be ready for the rebound.
And there’s at one brand new mechanic that’s unique to Co-op: ‘Ice Shields’. When you see a target covered with an Ice Shield, you have to hit it once to break the ice before it can be damaged at all. If the next shot doesn’t do damage to the target, the Ice Shield refreezes and must be broken again. So in essence both players need to hit their shot back to back.
Once you eventually lose from running out of energy (damn you, Ice Shields!) you’ll be presented with your score and a place on the leaderboard.
All-in-all it’s not a major change from the structure of the Versus multiplayer mode, but it’s a welcome addition to Racket: Nx for those times when you want to play with a friend rather than against them; with a dearth of co-op experiences currently in VR (especially with cross-play) we’ll take all we can get!
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Developer One Hamsa has mentioned other upcoming improvements to Racket: Nx’s multiplayer features like avatar customization and in-game tournaments, but it seems these may come in a later update. Earlier this year the studio also teased that the game was being adapted to “another VR platform,” which we expect is PlayStation VR, though One Hamsa has yet to confirm.