Ace Banana has a rather strange set-up for what is a simple archery game: you play as a Banana Guardian who must protect baby bananas from monkeys that want to steal them. It wasn’t always like this, as the two societies used to live together in peace until the monkeys turned evil. It’s a fun and silly premise for what is generally a enjoyable little game for PSVR, albeit one with a few issues.
Archery games seem to be the go-to when testing out new motion control peripherals or tech. It was present in Wii Sports, which allowed players to fire a bow and arrow with the remote and nunchuck, then it appeared in Sports Champions on PS3 for the Move controllers, and now it is here again with PSVR through Ace Banana, with a world around you filled with moving targets.
You have the option of playing Ace Banana with either two Move controllers to simulate the bow and arrow combo, or the DualShock 4, as is mandatory for PSVR games. The Move option is great if you want to pretend you’re a kind of fruity Legolas beating off the monkey horde, but you may get some aches in your shoulders after lots of drawing and firing your bow. The DualShock 4 option is more comfortable and you simply aim by pointing the controller and firiring with R2. In fact, I managed to get further through the game using the DS4 than the Moves each time I tried it.
However there did seem to be issues with both options while in the hub area, where you can raise baby bananas and read about the various enemy types you encounter. With Move in hand, the game’s tracking would sometimes just drift off before snapping back into place. I’ve not encountered this issue with any other VR game when using the Move controllers. I tried using the DS4 in the same area, but couldn’t really work that out either. Fortunately you can generally ignore this area of the game and focus on shooting monkeys.
As you progress through the waves, different monkey types appear to steal the bananas from the nests dotted around the stage. You’ll need to move between these nests to defend them, which is done by pointing at one then pressing the trigger button to float there. It starts simply enough and you should be able to get to the first boss without much issue, and then take him down quite quickly, but after the first boss things begin to get hectic and the number of monkeys on screen increases drastically.
Various ammo types become available as you shoot the monkeys, though you’ll quickly learn which are the best ones to pick up and which to ignore. You’ll start with plungers, but you’ll soon be able to use hedgehogs and shuttlecocks as ammo, or call in giant pandas to roll toward incoming monkeys. The monkeys become tougher too, with clown monkeys taking a couple of shots before falling, while the boxer can pull up a guard and shield itself, and the party monkey that throws goo at you that blocks your vision.
Ace Banana is a really attractive VR game. It’s colourful and cartoony with stage design that means monkeys can have different entrances, making the game itself more challenging. The character models and designs of each of the monkeys makes it easy to distinguish what type they are, allowing you to work out which ones to take out first to protect the nests.
Ace Banana is a fun VR game that is best played in short bursts. The motion tracking drift outside of the archery sections are hard to ignore, especially when this issue hasn’t cropped up in other VR games I’ve played using the same set-up, but the archery itself is accurate. While it’s more immersive with Move, I would recommend playing with the DS4 if you wish to progress through stages quicker, and also want to avoid any potential shoulder ache. Ace Banana is a pretty good games that can showcase just how fun VR can be for a wider audience.