Ragnarock PS VR2 review – Head-banging thrill ride of a rhythm game

Ragnarock PSVR2 gameplayWanadevStudio

While the PlayStation VR2 unit launches with a number of rhythm games, none are quite as epic as Ragnarock and its heavy metal, Viking-fuelled drumming sessions. Smashing along to the rhythm with a pair of giant hammers as stunning visuals flow by is some of the most fun you can have on Sony’s new hardware.

We’ve seen countless rhythm games mirror the style of Guitar Hero and Rock Band over the years and for good reason. There’s no point fixing what isn’t broken. Ragnarock falls firmly in that category as, rather than trying to reinvent the wheel, it simply expands on the vision in stunning ways while keeping the core gameplay loop intact.

Article continues after ad

It’s a familiar matter of hitting notes in time with the track, but here, the metal-tinged flair is cranked to 11. Viking ships sail through seas and skies both with staggering views on every track, Alestorm blares through your headphones as you power up lightning-infused hammers, and the heavy thud of every drum hit rumbles the Sense controller, all coalescing into one truly epic experience.

Ragnarock is an absolute blast and one of the more enticing rhythm games available at launch on PS VR2.

Ragnarock – Key Details

  • Developers: WanadevStudio
  • Price (PS5): $24.99 (USD) | $37.95 (AUD) | £19.99
  • Release date (PS VR2 version): February 22, 2023
  • Platforms: PS5 & PC

Ragnarock – Trailer

A Viking good time

As a unique twist on the formula, Ragnarock puts you in command of a Viking ship. Contextualizing your musical efforts in the most metal way possible, the better you perform, the faster your crew paddles. Miss a few notes and you’ll come to a screeching halt. But continue a perfect streak and your Viking pals will be paddling their hearts out as you soar through the vibrant landscape around you.

Article continues after ad

It’s a charming loop and one only bolstered by the incredibly satisfying hit of each and every note. Thanks to the PS VR2’s haptic feedback in not only the Sense controllers but the headset itself, you feel the force of every hammer strike. That extra level of immersion truly never gets old. From the slower, more orchestral tracks, to the faster, heavy metal tracks, you won’t grow tired of the sensation in Sony’s new hardware.

With four drums and thus, four notes to keep an eye on as they rush toward you, it’s never too overwhelming in the VR space. While the tracks themselves can certainly get complicated, especially on the higher difficulties as you’d expect, every note on every track is always in clear view.

Article continues after ad

It helps then, that the tracks available are plain bloody awesome. From your pirate metal in Alestorm, to French death Metal in Ultra Vomit, and even power metal in Gloryhammer, it’s an eclectic mix that’s sure to keep your head banging. Hammering along to the few dozen songs on offer presents a solid variety both in genre and challenge. Though as with most rhythm games, you’re never going to please everyone.

Lacking iconic tracks from most metal legends, the soundtrack doesn’t have the star power seen in a number of rival games in the space. Featuring the likes of Metallica, Iron Maiden, and Slayer could go a long way to casting a wider net and getting more players engaged. Fingers crossed the Æsir developers continue supporting Ragnarock with new expansions further down the line to hit some of these marquee names.

Article continues after ad

Setting sail for the long haul

While the simple rhythm-game loop is enough to keep you hooked for hours on end, Ragnarock has a number of extra bells and whistles on top to further bolster replayability.

First up comes the unique supercharge feature in the moment-to-moment gameplay. By perfecting your hammer strikes and connecting with notes at just the right time, your hammers begin to glow. Continue building this hot-streak and eventually, you can unleash the lightning power to speed up your Viking pals and have them paddle faster. While this boost is nothing new to the genre, how you go about activating it presents another layer of challenge in every run.

Article continues after ad

Of course, there’s the option to immediately trigger to the power-up and gain a quick boost. But if you’re feeling confident, you can always try to continue the streak, further building up your lightning powers. It’s a matter of risk and reward, choosing when to capitalize and when to continue banking up further juice. This alone makes almost every replay unique as you’re constantly trying to hit those perfect notes and eek out every bit of distance possible by timing the optimal boosts.

PSVR2 Ragnarock gameplayWanadevStudio
Hitting notes at just the right time starts a hot streak that you won’t want to end anytime soon.

Keeping you hungry throughout each run is the option to race against ghosts. Be it your own personal best on a track, those of friends, or even those at the top of the leaderboards, being able to see in real-time just how you fair against another Viking ship is always exhilarating.

Article continues after ad

With these extra hooks along the way, there’s enough to keep you coming back to Ragnarock time and time again. Whether it’s for a lengthy session or just a handful of tracks before diving into another game, there’s always a reason to return to keep improving.

Ragnarock PSVR2 gameplayWanadevStudio
Racing against friendly rivals makes Ragnarock all the more thrilling.

If you’re in the mood for a rhythm game to get in the (virtual) zone with, Ragnarock is among the best options on PS VR2. It’s unlike most standard titles in the genre on behalf of its theme, features, and tracklist, meaning you’ll get a completely unique experience here and one that will keep you coming back in the months to come.

Article continues after ad

The Verdict – 4/5

Regardless of whether you’re playing beginner levels or more advanced tracks, it’s always a thrill to find the rhythm and get that streak going. Slamming the hammer down in time to a booming metal beat never gets old and thus, neither does Ragnarock.