Until Dawn: Rush of Blood is all about cheap thrills. Loosely based on Supermassive Games' 2015 survival horror title, this on-rails shooter contains none of the heart-in-mouth tension of the original game, but does manage to serve up some good scares and a decent adrenaline hit amidst its nightmare fairground backdrop.
Rush of Blood is essentially a glorified virtual reality ghost train that uses Until Dawn's themes and visuals for its spooky decorations. The game sticks you in a rollercoaster cart and transports you around a shooting gallery filled with monsters and inanimate targets. The premise is straightforward enough – shoot stuff, don't die.
You're rooted to the spot throughout Rush of Blood – this isn't room-scale VR, after all – but within the confines of the game the system works well. It also helps that you're sat in place for the entirety of the game, which stops your handicap from breaking the immersion in its shlocky world. On-rail shooters largely died with the arcades, but it's a format that fits nicely with virtual reality.
Your in-game weapons can be controlled using the PlayStation Move controllers, which is the most immersive and natural-feeling way to play. It's also insanely fun, and fending off enemies from multiple directions with each controller makes for exhilarating gameplay. Playing Rush of Blood with a DualShock 4 robs you of the ability to move each weapon arm independently, and is going to put you at a severe disadvantage when enemies are coming at you from all angles as they frequently do.
Your guns also act as flashlights, giving you a way to illuminate enemies and explore Rush of Blood's predominantly dark environments. You're rewarded for using these abundantly, whether by helping you spot trophies you'd otherwise have missed or just letting you see what's lurking in the corners. Coloured crates dotted around the levels reward you with more powerful firearms upon being shot, which come in handy as enemies become tougher and more numerous.
Each of Rush of Blood's seven levels has its own theme and enemies, again lifted straight from Until Dawn. Ghosts, clowns, spiders, zombies and the seminal Wendigo make up the game's ghoulish roster, and one or two characters from the original game also make an appearance. There are a handful of decent jump-scares peppered throughout Rush of Blood, and while these soon become predictable, it's an effective tactic when it feels like the monster is mere inches from your face.
Each level is tail-ended by a boss fight, after which you're given a grade based on your firing accuracy and the number of targets you hit. None of them are notoriously difficult, although some of the later bosses will likely take a few attempts to defeat. While Rush of Blood increases with difficulty as it progresses, it's by no means a steep learning curve and once you've mastered the Move controllers you can blast though levels with relative ease.
Replay value is offered with increasing difficulty levels – all the way up to 'insane' – as well as multiple routes within some of the levels. The game took us about three hours to complete from start to finish, which feels like a sweet spot for this type of VR experience.
Until Dawn: Rush of Blood isn't genre-defining, nor is it a shining example of virtual reality at its best. It is, however, bloody good fun, and offers a more exciting introduction to virtual reality than the mini-game bundles dominating PSVR's launch line-up. It also demonstrates the potential that franchises like Time Crisis and House of the Dead have on PlayStation VR, possibly bringing a return to the arcade thrills not felt in gaming since we ditched coin-ops for consoles.