When VR first came out, there were a certain amount of experiences that people were looking forward to. There was the crowd that wanted to get thrust into the Medieval world. Tales of Glory and various others have you covered here. Then there was the crowd that wanted Star Wars to become their reality. Blade and Sorcery mods and Vader: Immortal came to the rescue for those people. Of course, sports were a huge draw in VR as well and tons upon tons of titles like 2MD: VR Football Evolution have done wonders to satisfy that crowd. There was a piece missing though. A piece so vital to the world of pop culture in this day and age. The superhero. While there have been attempts at bringing the superhero genre to VR, it hasn’t given the full experience of what it’s like to take over the persona of one of these larger than life characters. Spider-man: Far From Home VR experience gave a little glimpse into becoming Spiderman, but it was a free demo basically. Batman: Arkham VR was revolutionary, but it was such a controlled experience with so little freedom that you could tell it was just a preview of something greater. That something greater is here and its name is Iron Man VR.
The joy that overcomes you when you first jump into the Iron Man suit is something that feels like a game-changer. One of the most popular superheroes in the world has their own game that makes you feel like Iron Man in every single way. While a cheaper experience would have your typical fly button and whatnot, here you’re going to be using your hands to fly forward, backward, upward, and left and right. It’s a bit disorienting at first and tricky to get the hang of, but it makes it feel all the more authentic because of that and adds to the immersion of the gameplay. In addition to this, between missions, you get to explore Tony Stark’s iconic house on the cliffside and it’s recreated to pretty much exactly what you remember from the movies. There are tons of Easter eggs strewn about too and it’s nice to see that a lot of effort was made into making this game about the human being outside the suit as well as in.
What would Iron Man be without combat though? Until now, we’ve never had an Iron Man videogame that accurately hit the heights that the movies often did when showcasing his impressive combat suite. In Iron Man VR, the entire arsenal is here to fulfill your superhero fantasies. You’ve got your pulse blasters, smart rockets, cluster bombs, machine guns, literally the whole arsenal is unlockable and useable. When it comes to missions, the results are pretty solid. It’s nothing groundbreaking really as you’ll be fighting an assorted array of robots and such. It’s a tough thing to find a realistic enemy for Iron Man as he’s far more powerful than any human, so the robot route was understandable although it could’ve used a bit more variety than what’s on offer. The objectives on the other hand and are pretty varied, the opening level throws you into a wild plane crash scenario and the locations and situations get more intriguing from there out.
Graphically, it’s held back a bit by the PSVR’s somewhat limited hardware, but this doesn’t stop the slick AI characters and enemies from bursting to life on screen thanks to some great use of color and animations. Iron Man VR does its best to create the illusion that you are Tony Stark and it does an admirable job despite some occasional rough-looking textures and effects at times.
Sound design is something that helps fully realize the superhero movies and here is no exception. Whether it’s your AI assistant in your helmet, the voice acting of Pepper Pots, or the astonishingly close to Robert Downey Jr. impersonation on display here, there was no expense saved when it comes to getting a quality sounding experience here. Rockets explode with violent cracks, Iron man’s signature blasters retain the exact sounds you’ve been hearing for years in the movies and your environment reacts to you accordingly.
This is about as close as you can get to becoming Iron Man without going into the arms business and building a metal suit of destruction yourself (please don’t do this). While nothing is groundbreaking story or mission design-wise, you have total freedom to fight how you want to and complete control over every part of your superhero experience. This is the blueprint for Superhero VR games going forward and even though it isn’t the best VR title out there if you’re a superhero fan, it’s an absolute must-have in your PSVR library.
This is a PSVR experience, so that means no room-scale is used for this game. You will be mostly standing in place, though you can still move within the range of your camera depending on how you set it up. You should clear the immediate area of breakable items and people because you’re going to be turning and reaching all over the place during your time with Iron Man VR
I recorded my 30-minute workout in Iron Man VR using a Fitbit. Iron Man VR is a PSVR exclusive so that is the platform it was recorded on as well.
Calories burned: 114
Calories burned per minute: 4
Max Heart Rate: 84
Active Minutes: 11
While Iron Man VR wasn’t the most grueling workout I’ve experienced in VR, it certainly got the adrenaline pumping. What it lacked in calorie burn it more than made up for in sweat-inducing moments like taking your suit out for a flight test for the first time or having to fix up an airplane wing in a limited amount of time while being attacked by killer robots. While it wasn’t too physically intense, it was still very much an adrenaline-pumping experience that gave me some of the biggest thrills I’ve experienced in VR. It is so close to being the perfect superhero VR experience.
In Iron Man VR, your hands and arms are everything. Whether it’s flying upward, downward, left-right, or diagonally, everything you do movement-wise is controlled by your arms. This can get tiring fast especially when you first start out as its tough to get the hang of just how far you need to put your arms back to fly forward. In addition to the movement system, the combat is also tied strictly to your arm movements. Pulse Cannons, missiles and more revolve around not only where you point your hands, but how you point them. Palms up allows you to fire your basic pulse blaster. Wrist down though allows you to fire your extremely important heavy artillery equipment like rockets and machine guns. This feels awkward at first but in terms of the game lore, it makes perfect sense, otherwise, you’d have no way to separate what kind of weapon you were firing. In addition to blasting the opposition to pieces, you’re also able to punch them with a jet-powered punch that sends you hurdling across the screen or downward to cause serious damage. If you decide to make this your primary form of combat you can definitely get a solid boxing-type workout going. During your time in Stark house, you’re also going to be grabbing and opening various things as well and while those on their own won’t really do a whole lot exercise-wise, combined with the strenuous arm use during missions, you’ll definitely feel a burn.
Normally this category is reserved for legs, but since your legs don’t play into Iron Man VR at all, I thought it should be known that this game provides one hell of a neck workout. See, in order to fly downward or upward, you’re going to be aiming your head in the direction you want to play. This means a lot of looking down then up very quickly and you need to be careful your don’t strain yourself during this as you must remember you’re already wearing a weighted headset. Some neck rolls before you step into your suit are recommended as you want to be as loose in that area as possible before you take flight.
Core and Balance- 7/10
Iron Man VR gives a different kind of physical experience in VR. You’re not really used to using your body to fly around, usually, if anything you’re in a ship of some kind hitting buttons to do that. Because of this, your core gets an unexpected workout. Using one hand to fly while using the other to shoot will usually give you a good burn in your core. Adding to this are enemies coming from literally every angle and quite a bit of turning and reaching will be happening and while the game won’t have you doing V-ups or any motion like that it will eventually get your core feeling tired. Balance is the other side of this and for a game that has you flying constantly, it can be a bit tough to balance yourself especially when accidentally flying into a rock or getting disoriented while switching directions. Make sure you won’t hurt yourself by tripping over the PSVR wires. For this reason, I prefer to have the wires in front of me or off to the side.
Time Perception- 9/10
This was honestly one of the more joyous experiences I’ve had in VR, so for me, time didn’t really factor in. Missions are short and sweet and there is plenty of downtime customizing as well, so I never felt too tired or bored by the gameplay loop that I was checking my phone for the time. For multiple missions, I was just focused on completing the objective and was fully immersed in the world of Iron Man VR. The only tasks that mattered were the ones in front of my eyes and that is the mark of an effective VR experience(and someone with not much responsibility elsewhere in life).
If you enjoy flying around in VR while launching rockets and cluster bombs, this game will simply never get old for you. There are multiple difficulty levels which up the challenge significantly, multiple suits to unlock such as War Machine and The Wasp, and plenty of weapon combinations that can make your approach to combat slightly different each time. There are unlockable combat trials, races to compete in, and also a free mode where you can just fly about whenever to keep you busy after the 6-hour journey is completed.
Fitness Scalability- 6/10
There isn’t a whole lot that can be done to make the experience into a better workout. If you want you can use weighted gloves, but that will be a hindrance after a short while considering how much you will be using your arms. The difficulty modes seem to just give you less health and your enemies more health so that can add to the physical effort you might be putting in to take them down too.
This is one of the more disorienting VR experiences I’ve had. While it should be obvious from the very nature of the titles, you’re going to be flying around for most of this game with full control of where you’re going and how fast you’re doing it. While I got used to it fairly quickly, those out there who are afraid of heights or don’t like moving at fast speeds in VR might have some difficulty warming up to this one. Conversely, though, I believe VR experiences like this can help cure people who have fear of heights as it makes you face that fear without any real repercussions.
Social Competition- 5/10
There is nothing multiplayer about Iron Man VR. The closest thing you’ll get to is a high score that shows after each mission, but there is no connectivity with other players of any kind.
VR Fit Score- 8/10
Iron Man VR gives you an experience in VR unlike any other, the full superhero experience. While it’s not the longest, the flexibility of how you approach combat mixed with a solid story to support it shows a lot of care was put into making this a great experience in VR. It also provides a solid workout if you restrict yourself to being the punch happy version of Iron Man
The graphics aren’t the best, but that’s more about the PSVR than the game itself. The enemies could definitely be a bit more varied and while there are multiple combat options to customize your suit with, there is no real progression system to make it seem like you’re improving throughout your journey. The motion sickness caused by the free form flying could be an issue for some.
Iron Man VR is available for $39.99 on PSVR