The VOID Wants You to Wreck It with ‘Ralph Breaks VR’ (The NoPro Review)

The Bunny gets the pancake and the Kitty gets the milkshake

The internet is typically dark and full of terrors, but for about 11 glorious minutes, those terrors can be adorable kitties and bunnies. In Ralph Breaks VR, the latest experience from The VOID, ILMxLAB, and Walt Disney Animation Studios, the internet is sometimes your friend. And when it’s not, it sure is cute.

As you may know, Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph (2012) introduced us to a group of video game characters who live inside the consoles of a family arcade. The hulking Wreck-It Ralph (John C. Reilly) is the reluctant antagonist of the game Fix-It Felix, while Vanellope (Sarah Silverman) is a plucky princess in the racing game Sugar Rush. In the upcoming sequel, Ralph Breaks the Internet, the pair venture inside the internet to find a replacement part for Sugar Rush, meeting a variety of Disneyverse and Internet-based characters along the way.

Like the other VOID experiences, guests choose their avatars — this time, colorful humanoid “Netizens” — before watching a brief onboarding video and donning their vests and headsets. While Ralph Breaks VR is not specifically a part of either film, but rather a complement to both, Ralph and Vanellope explain that we will be journeying to the center of the internet— but only to play “the best game ever.”

We travel there via train and the internet itself is a glorious reveal, a futuristic metropolis where familiar IPs tower all around you. Easter Eggs are everywhere, including ads for Slaughter Race — a gritty racing game featured in the sequel — and for The VOID’s Star Wars experience, Secrets of the Empire.

One of the coolest things in this particular experience is the connectivity among characters. You might not look like yourself, but when you talk other players see your mouth move and when you look in a particular direction, so does your avatar. This allows you to feel a closer bond to your teammates than when you’re an expressionless Stormtrooper.

There are also three distinct ‘games’ one can play with Ralph and Vanellope. One is not unlike Whack-a-Mole, requiring you to slap key points on the wall in front of you as they appear. Later, you and your teammates will split into pairs to play a giant game of Space Invaders.

Of course, as is the case with all harebrained adventures, this one too goes awry. As the internet’s security system recognizes an intruder, guests are forced into a food fight with an adorable pink bunny and blue kitty. Now, if you’ve seen the early trailers, you know that the Bunny gets the pancake and the Kitty gets the milkshake. To battle the fuzzy foes, you’ll arm yourself with a blaster that only shoots these two food items, the pump action allowing the player to toggle back and forth.

You can pay attention to which animal gets which food, or you can just blast away at your leisure. Which leads us to something fun: there are two ways to take on this experience. You can care about points and aim for a high score, or you can just do whatever you like.

“Pancakes tend to go faster,” Jose Perez III, lead experience designer at ILMxLAB, explains. “They’re more a straight shot. Milkshakes have a lob to them and splash damage. If you shoot the bunny with the pancake you get 2,000 points. If you shoot the bunny with the milkshake, you only get 1,000 points.”

But, of course, shooting the kitty with the milkshake nets you 2,000 points.

Though the points are not the, uh, point of the experience, players will get to see their score at the end. This is the first time in any VOID experience where points have played a big role, which is intentional. It’d break your Star Wars immersion to see points rolling up every time you pegged an Imperial drone, but if you’re already playing games with video game characters, it makes sense.

If you’ve played The VOID’s other experiences—including Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire, Ghostbusters: Dimension, and Nicodemus: Demon of Evanishment—then you might notice some similarities among the properties. There’s a lot of standing on balconies, riding in vehicles or elevators, and mashing buttons to solve puzzles or evade enemies. Yet an obvious benefit of VR is that even when the motions are the same, the worlds and the emotions they conjure can be drastically different. We haven’t seen all The VOID has to offer—we’re told some new tricks are planned for 2019’s Marvel experience—but in Ralph Breaks VR, we’re seeing them double down on what works well.

“That was the great thing I like about this experience especially,” The VOID’s co-founder and CCO, Curtis Hickman, said. “We took things we really loved and said, ‘Okay, how can we use this and how can we do this in a different way and make a really good experience out of these pieces?’”

The end result is one of an already exciting company’s tightest experiences, with very little downtime, lots of interactivity, and a high replay value both in netting a higher score and catching Easter Eggs. (Was that an X-Wing in Space Invaders?) And whatever “new tricks” are coming with Marvel, we’re so ready for them.

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