What The Bat? is the Edward Scissorhands of virtual reality and baseball. Far from playing as a tortured scissor-handed soul seeking to find their place in society, the happy-go-lucky life of a bat-handed person is far more chaotic and playful.
Anyone that’s played What The Golf? will be instantly familiar with the tone and sense of humour found through Triband’s VR successor – released last year for Quest and PC VR, and now coming to PSVR 2. There’s a lot of fun to be hand in playing around with different scenarios and defying expectations, but those expectations will be firmly set to ‘shenanigans’ when you load up What The Bat? for the first time and find that you have baseball bats instead of hands.
You’ll experience day-to-day life with this peculiar affliction, from getting up in the morning and cleaning teeth, to heading into town and getting up to mischief with the elephant who lives next door, and onward to far crazier scenarios.
Each level starts off with a simple and straightforward situation, but then morphs or ramps things up in different ways. You’ll cook breakfast by smashing an egg in the pan, but then have to get the egg by bopping a chicken that’s flying around above the cooker. Get a tasty snack from a vending machine, but then have to deal with increasingly confusing arrays of buttons and internal shelves to actually get the snack you want to reach the bottom. Stop seagulls from taking pictures in a museum, but then you’re inside the frame and need to slap cameras from their grasp.
There’s some repeated or returning ideas and jokes from What The Golf? – you even play a golf game at one point – but a lot of it feels fresh thanks to the fully 3D, physics-based VR.
It also feels like What The Bat? is trampling over some well-trodden ground for virtual reality. The simplistic cartoony graphics, the playful tone and off-kilter tasks were the bread and butter of games like Job Simulator while developers explored what VR can do several years ago. Just as with those games, this is a relatively short and pithy game, coming in at maybe 4 hours of playtime, which you’ll likely spread over several sessions. There’s not many reasons to return once you’ve seen it all, but it’s a good palette cleanser or warm up for a bigger VR adventuring session, and I do enjoy Triband’s absurdist sense of humour.
Update: Triband has let us know that they will be releasing a patch for What the Bat? that reduces the space requirements and adds support for the stationary Standing PSVR 2 experience. This will be available in the next few weeks.
One thing to be aware of is the requirement of a Roomscale play area – a minimum of 2m x 2m – as opposed to standing or seated play. I feel that requirement rather strict, as you don’t really need to move your feet or move around in environments.