Rec Room is somewhat of an anomaly in the VR gaming market.
It contains an ever-increasing cache of multiplayer VR content, but it still manages to fall underneath the radar for many players.
But now, boasting a 16 to 18-player battle royale mode, Rec Room is finally taking a crack at the battle royale craze.
Wielding shiny new camera support designed for streamers, Rec Royale appears to be gearing up to attract the mainstream non-VR audience. Which is fantastic; as a burgeoning industry, VR needs all the love it can get.
First of All, What Is Rec Royale?
Basically, it’s Hunger Games: The Video Game.
And unlike Fortnite or PUBG, Rec Royale takes place entirely in VR, making it feel much more real than the former titles. Additionally, it’s a great LISS activity that you can use to burn 300-400 calories per hour.
So how do you jump into a game like Rec Royale as a new player? And how do you get the most fitness value out of playing it?
Today, you’re going to learn the best way to get started as a new player in Rec Royale.
Why Teleport When You Can Run?
Rec Royale allows you to either walk/run or teleport around its summer camp-inspired battlefield. But you should be running around as much as you can.
There are two reasons why you should run or walk:
1. Each time you teleport, a timer starts that doesn’t let you teleport again for a few seconds. It makes for stunted gameplay pacing and is simply not as fun as moving around like you would normally.
2. You can lose weight by walking; you can’t lose weight by teleporting.
When you run or walk, there are a few things that you can do in the real world to make Rec Royale more immersive and also bolster your calorie burn.
Fight Motion Sickness Like A Champ
If you’re a PC or PSVR user, you can run or walk in place whenever your character is running or walking in the game. This is a simple, subliminal trick to make smooth motion feel natural, and it also works up a sweat.
While you’re running in place, you can also add resistance with weighted gear at the cost of decreased mobility. This makes Rec Royale feel like a real match of paintball battle royale.
I do this whenever I play, and I don’t run into any issues with my own performance.
Finally, if you’re a PC user, you have a tool called Natural Locomotion ($9.99 on Steam) that lets you activate your in-game movement by pumping your arms back and forth. It’s a technical trick that, when added to running in place, makes a great stand-in for an actual omnidirectional treadmill.
How To Win Your First Match In Rec Royale
Now that I’ve shown you how you’ll play the game in order to activate the most fitness potential, let’s talk about how you’re going to become the champion of Rec Royale with a few beginner tips:
1. You Have A Map On Your Back. Use It!
When you join your first Rec Royale lobby, reach behind your back and grab the map out of your backpack. You can’t see it on your character model while it’s stowed behind you, but you’ll receive haptic controller feedback when you’re touching it.
As soon as you have the map out in front of you, study it for a few seconds. You’ll notice how the entire island divides into named zones.
Each zone has a different notable feature.
For example, the lake in the center is completely open; if a sniper catches you there, there’s a high chance of you being compromised and picked off.
Alternatively, the mess hall is one of the only places you can find a melee weapon—a frying pan, which can instantly end another player’s good mood if you manage to get close enough to thwack them.
As each Rec Royale match goes on, the playable space within the island is devoured by a very yellow “swarm” of bees.
This leaves a constantly shrinking perimeter that you can venture in without suffocating to death.
In solo mode, it also makes matches more intense as the final two or three players skirmish with only meters of breathing space between them.
You should use the map to determine where the swarm is closing in, where you’re currently standing, and then plan what direction you should go next.
2. Choose Your Supplies Wisely
In Rec Royale, you are given a limited amount of health and—if you’re lucky enough to find any—damage shields.
You also have two holsters for items—located on your left and right hips—that you can use to store either health potions, shield potions, grenades, or weapons.
You cannot dual-wield two weapons at the same time. However, you can wield your weapon ambidextrously, or hold a weapon in one hand while you hold a potion in the other. Since most weapons need two hands to reload, you may often want to keep a free hand at all times.
But your limited inventory space makes it pertinent to always keep the best items that you find.
You also need to be quick when choosing the items that you keep, since another player can always swoop in behind you for a quick execution while you’re distracted with inventory control.
Here are a few ground rules to follow when dealing with items:
1. Always pick up any ammunition cases you find. Don’t think about it; grab and go.
2. When choosing one weapon over another, go with the weapon that has more ammunition available. This is represented as a number underneath the weapon class.
3. If ammo is in good supply, choose your weapons in order of class. Weapon class is color-coded so you can identify how strong your item is. Gray is weaker than Green is weaker than Blue is weaker than Purple is weaker than Orange.
Orange items are also the rarest, while Gray items are the most common.
You should also practice the scorched-earth doctrine when discarding items in Rec Royale.
Example: If you have an extra health potion that you or a teammate don’t want to carry, but your health is full, you should drink the potion so nobody else can use it to heal themselves.
When playing in team mode: Make sure to take care of your teammates with extra items you have if they need the assistance. You should always try to heal and arm your teammates if you run into extra stuff and your inventory is full.
When playing solos: If you don’t want to carry a grenade, toss it in a random direction and make a run for it. The resulting explosion doubles as a potent distraction to get away when another player has spotted you.
Sometimes, the best way to refill your health, shields, and ammunition is to stick around the border of the perimeter and scavenge unopened supply containers while other players evacuate towards relative safety in the center. Which leads me to:
3. Avoid Other Players/Teams Whenever Possible
Rec Royale is full of exhilarating moments when you’re running through a forest and then you come upon two players in a clearing. You get into cover to avoid being seen, and then you watch as both players unload their full arsenal onto one another.
The first player dies, leaving the second player with almost no health. You jump in and end the second player’s life with minimal effort, leaving the lion’s share of battle spoils to you.
In Rec Royale, diving into combat costs you valuable resources that are difficult to replenish, which is why you should avoid full-frontal combat—and by extension, other players—until the very end of each round. If you’re careful and smart, you can avoid combat until you’re one of the two last players (or teams) standing.
And if you’ve followed my tips up to that point, you’ll enter the final battle with full health, max shields, and top-tier weapons filled to the brim with ammunition.
Rec Royale is a game of wits and survival, not a game of mindless carnage. It can provide hours of fun VR gameplay, especially when you make new friends after a match.
And before you know it, you might even find yourself on some global leaderboards!
One of the issues that I found with Rec Royale was the high waiting time on certain days. During one Friday afternoon, I was challenged to find a single match within 45 minutes. This will be less severe as more players filter into VR.
But there’s nothing more satisfying than surviving an entire 30-minute marathon, dodging bullets and arrows and escaping a vicious bee swarm through acres of thick foliage to come out on top, coated in sweat with a smile on your face.
The supercharged levels of immersion, plus the exercise potential from running in place with Natural Locomotion and weighted equipment, make Rec Royale feel more like an actual sport—such as real-world paintball or airsoft.
Oh, and did I mention that Rec Royale is completely free to play?
You can download Rec Room today from the Oculus Store, SteamVR, and the PSVR Catalog. It even supports persistent cross-play between each system.
What headset are you using to play Rec Royale?