What The Bat is the casual hit VR has been waiting for

My parents aren’t that into that little thing called video games. They never quite understood my fascination with it, which is one of the reasons I’ve always been more of a solo player.

That changed last Christmas. Fascinated by the new technology, they asked me to bring my VR kit home. My sister put on the headset and was immediately sucked in by Beat Saber. That spurred my mother on to try it. Then my dad (never the gamer) wanted to watch some videos on the headset to avoid motion sickness. Even my grandma was amazed when I shot a nature video for her.

It reminded me of the Wii when using a remote control was accessible enough for people of all ages to try. VR has yet to break into the mainstream — even if Beat Saber is already a killer app — but it feels like we’re about to. What it takes is a silly, intuitive, fun game to get people hooked. It takes What The Bat.

What the hell? | Start trailer

If the name sounds familiar, that’s because it comes from the same team behind What The Golf – Apple Arcade’s comedy game that’s not always about putting a ball in a hole. Similarly, What The Bat is an adorable comedy game about hitting things with a bat, but not always a ball.

At least it starts out like baseball. The controllers are both bats. You swing to hit a ball into a trophy. level done. Simple.

However, the quirkiness soon mounts. Just like What The Golf, the gameplay here consists of a series of short puzzle challenges, sometimes over in seconds, but presented in bright colors with an exuberant little burst of confetti if you win. There’s even a wordless story that ties them all together, that of a young girl growing up in the town of Batville, accompanied by a pet elephant who is also something of a mentor. Each level is selected by nudging through miniature dioramas, which feels wonderfully tactile.

However, what soon becomes clear is that you are not actually holding baseball bats. your arms are baseball bat. And this is where the challenges get weird, creative and hilarious.

How about living with baseball bats as weapons? How would everyday activities work? An early challenge has you hitting one tube of toothpaste with a mallet so it splatters onto the other, before lifting the squirt onto your face to mimic brushing your teeth. Another has you trying to stick a slice of bread in a toaster only to have it stolen by a pigeon.

Brushing teeth in What The Bat
Don’t hit your teeth!

Elsewhere, you’ll deface art and smash sculptures in a museum, play pinball and tear down fences. I won’t spoil anymore because What the Bat is full of surprises; In fact, it thrives on exceeding your expectations – just like its predecessor. In addition, in many levels you have to maneuver mechanisms, robots or paper airplanes with a joystick that you have to push with a blunt piece of wood. In many ways, it’s close to Octodad and Surgeon Simulator in its intentionally awkward controls designed for maximum hilarity.

Yet even within the creativity of its levels, it’s almost always immediately apparent what needs to be accomplished. That’s partly because of the clarity of the visual design, but also because of the developers’ intelligence to take everyday situations and play them, something we can all relate to.

Flip cars in What The Bat
Flip cars but watch out for the cats!

And that’s why I can’t wait to take the game home to my family this Christmas. What The Bat is the kind of lighthearted, no-nonsense, comedic game anyone can enjoy – the kind of game to make VR accessible. It’s ultimately a game about the simple joy of hitting things.

So far I’ve only played solo, but at the end of each level your racquet is used as a selfie stick to take a picture and I keep finding myself grinning, although it’s not reflected on the screen. Soon I hope to see my family grinning like buffoons too.

Download at: https://www.eurogamer.net/what-the-bat-is-the-casual-hit-vr-has-been-waiting-for

Fry Electronics Team

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