Rager on Quest 3 hands-on: Sci-fi action between Tron, Beat Saber and Pistol Whip

Rager on Quest 3 hands-on: Sci-fi action between Tron, Beat Saber and Pistol Whip

Rager is a new VR rhythm game in Meta's App Lab that stands out from genre greats like Beat Saber.

Rager is basically a classic VR rhythm game like Beat Saber, Synth Riders, Beat the Beats or Pistol Whip. However, the title adds its own twist to the familiar formula. Instead of flying bullets, blocks or walls, bad-tempered robo-fighters charge at you. They swing swords or fire projectiles at you to the rhythm of driving electro beats. I played the free demo and can tell you if Rager is worth a look.

Pistol whip with swords

Rager begins in a dark, dystopian sci-fi arena reminiscent of the Tron setting. A gate opens, and an armed robot marches towards me. Booming bass and a driving electro sound set the stage for a cyberpunk atmosphere. Instead of attacking me directly, the dark mystery bot sends his henchmen after me. The attackers come from the front or from the side, from above or at eye level, and they attack to the rhythm of the beats.

Just before an attack hits me, time slows down, and I see a small white bar with an hourglass. When it fills up and lights up, I have to react. Depending on what I need to do, I can saw my opponent apart, block a blow or duck under a fire attack. I always have to make sure that I hold my two swords correctly — sometimes horizontally, sometimes vertically, sometimes at an angle.

The hitbox is also quite compact, so I have to be very precise. This can be very challenging in hectic moments when the beat is really driving and multiple opponents are attacking simultaneously or in quick succession from different directions. But those are the strongest moments in Rager. I just dodged three jump attacks when I had to launch an attack and then duck under three consecutive fireballs in the best Matrix style. Awesome!

Double saber or mace instead?

While Easy mode is still relatively leisurely and offers the ideal speed for learning the patterns, the pace picks up considerably when you switch to Medium. There are no more difficulty levels in the demo, but the full version should be two or three levels higher. So far you can only play one arena with the same song.


However, I can choose between two game modes in which I can either fight with two sabers or two maces. What sounds like a minor difference makes for a surprisingly new experience and could be a welcome change in the full version. When fighting with the maces, I have to strike forward in smaller and smaller circles. The swords require more sweeping movements.

My verdict on the Rager demo

Rager had me hooked within minutes. The dark sci-fi setting and the spin with charging enemies instead of colorful bullets are a breath of fresh air in the VR rhythm genre. This puts Rager comfortably in the niche between Beat Saber and Pistol Whip.

If the three-person development team succeeds in adding more variety with intense fight choreographies, different tracks and additional arenas, the full version could become a real insider tip for all VR rhythm fans.

Rager is currently available as a free demo in the Meta Quest Store via App Lab and on Steam for PC VR. An Early Access version is planned for May.

Sources: Insane Prey