Pictionary. The game has been around since the mid 80’s and has barely changed. One person is given a word that they attempt to draw a representation of while other players attempt to guess what it is. It’s a simple premise that’s needed no innovation to remain fun for more than 30 years. Developers Force Field VR are bringing innovation to the draw and guess game however in Picture Party VR, a digital yet simplified version of Pictionary for PSVR.
The premise; 1 player is wears a PSVR headset. Through the headset they can see the Picture Party VR game show set in all its virtual reality glory. 1 or more other players are watching the same game played on a TV. On the screen, they can see only some of the game show set. Once a game is started, the PSVR player is given a word and then uses a red dot laser, guided by VR head tracking, to draw something on a big slate in front of them. The players watching on the TV can see everything that’s being drawn and must guess what it is. Once someone gets the correct answer, the PSVR player shoots a button with their head mounted laser to move onto the next word. This is repeated until time runs out.
Picture Party VR has 2 game modes – A co-operative mode for 2 players and a competitive mode for 3 or more players, both of which can be played over 2, 3 or 5 minute rounds. In the co-op mode, both players take turns using the PSVR headset and then both scores are combined. In the co-operative mode, the PSVR player see’s 2 buttons either side of their screen which awards the point to either the left or right team. The team with the most points at the end of the time limit is the winner. Unlike Pictionary, there’s no choice of word type or “all play” options. In any mode, a word can be skipped by shooting a big red button but in co-op, that comes with a 5 second penalty.
The words presented to the VR player in Picture Party VR vary in difficulty. There’s easy ones like “toothbrush”, “broom” or “toilet” and difficult, often conceptual ones like “deep”, “shallow” and “password” (which is incredibly difficult to do without using words or numbers). During any play time with this game, you’ll be served up a variety of both of these which keeps things interesting.
As for the VR experience, Picture Party VR is a really comfortable one. Having played this at a few parties now, we’ve not had a single person feel uncomfortable playing it and everyone has picked up the drawing mechanic very quickly. Through the PSVR headset you can see an audience of colourful chess pawns cheering you on in a game show setting (that you can destroy too if you turn your head tracked laser on it). It’s a simplistic set up, requiring nothing but a PSVR headset and a Dualshock controller to play, making it accessible too.
There are some limitations to Picture Party VR. You can only draw in black and on a dull grey background. The game modes lack any depth beyond a simple drawn and guess game. The game lacks personality, like a presenter or a vocal track like you often find in these types of games. For a VR version of a board game classic, it feel like it should be pushing the boundaries a little more. These missing elements don’t detract from Picture Party VR though. They feel like a missed opportunity to do more and to build on the Pictionary formula that’s remained almost static for 3 decades.
To put it bluntly: If you like Pictionary, you’ll like Picture Party VR because it’s basically the same game, only with VR. This is one of those VR titles that is great at parties because they can involve a number of people outside of VR while showing off the tech. It’s accessible, easy to play and comfortable, meaning even Nana can get in on the action. Picture Party VR does feel like a missed opportunity to push the boundaries with what could be done with the VR element but it’s still a lot of fun.
Picture Party VR is available for PSVR (review version via PS4) now.
Developer: Force Field
Publisher: Force Field
Disclaimer: In order to complete this review, we purchased a copy of the game. For more information, please see our review policy.