This review was originally created in July 2018 for HTC, targeted to their original Vive/Vive Pro (VIVEPORT). It is reproduced here without alteration.
Bacon Roll brings the endless running, or infinite running, genre to virtual reality. Popularized by mobile games such as Temple Run (2011, Imangi Studios), but going at least as far back as Scramble (1981, Konami), Moon Patrol (1982, Irem), and B.C.’s Quest for Tires (1983, Sierra On-Line), the genre is defined by the player’s character continuously moving forward through the game world, with a need to quickly react or interact with the environment or environmental elements to remain safe.
The premise of Bacon Roll is simple. With the aid of his father, Helio, and brother, Snort, help Dot the pig roll away from the evil wolf chef and rescue his beloved Princess Rune. Each level, or environment, is laid out on a little round world, a bit like in the famous The Little Prince novella (1943, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry).
Playable seated or standing, Bacon Roll makes use of both Vive controllers. Each controller represents a pig hoof or trotter (aka, a pettitoe), which you see from a first person perspective as the “big pig in the sky” as you roll Dot from a third person perspective. While you don’t really need virtual reality for this type of experience, your hands are otherwise occupied, so you are at least able to more easily look around at the various environmental elements than you normally would if this were a traditional game.
Bacon Roll tries to enhance the action through an in-game story, told through text boxes, both before and after levels. Unfortunately, while perhaps the many typos can be overlooked, what’s harder to overlook is that telling a story in this manner is somewhat tedious, particularly in a virtual reality setting. Reading a lot of slow moving text is not a great way to psych a player up or motivate them to try and reach the next level.
Visually, Bacon Roll features mostly simple models, with bright colors, and few textures. While not the most stunning visuals, they suit the cartoon vibe and variety of worlds well, including a farm, forest, and some truly fantastic settings like a space colony and oversized picnic blanket.
Audio is fairly bare bones, with simple sound effects and repetitive background music, which fortunately can be turned off. Of course, some well-placed pig snorts and squeals are hard to resist.
Gameplay involves rolling, dodging, and the shooting of tomatoes. Each new environment has an increase in difficulty as well as different objectives to achieve. If you save enough tomatoes, you can upgrade some special abilities (perks) and give Dot new outfits to wear that can increase his bonuses, which help to keep the somewhat repetitive gameplay fresher.
With a bit more polish and a bit more variety to its gameplay, Bacon Roll would have been an enthusiastic recommendation. As it is, your enjoyment of this game will depend a great deal on how well you can tolerate some of its more repetitive elements.
Score: 3 out of 5 stars.
Bacon Roll is available on Viveport or with a Viveport Subscription.