Punch and slash your way through a catalog of hit songs from any web browsing device.
Although still in its infancy, webVR has already proven a viable solution for providing low-performance interactive VR experiences directly from a web browser. So far the technologies primary use-cases have been simplistic gaming experiences, virtual showrooms, and various other undemanding experiments.
Moon Rider, a new open source VR music visualization and rhythm game, pushes the boundaries of what web-based VR by offering an impressive, Beast Saber-like gaming experience without the need of a download or dedicated app. Accessible from the Oculus Quest via the Oculus Browser, or the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive through the Supermedium app or Firefox desktop app, Moon Rider features four different play modes set to a generous catalog of hit songs: Visual Mode, Ride Mode, Punch Mode, and Classic Mode.
Visual Mode is a relaxing passive experience perfect for just chilling out and discovering new music. Similar to Visual Mode, Ride Mode is also a calming, impossible to fail experience, only this time you’re given the option of following a pleasing wave of colorful comets that vibrate gently upon contact.
For more of a challenge, you can try Punch Mode as well as Classic Mode. Classic Mode is a near identical replication of the classic Beat Saber experience, tasking you with slashing colored bricks in designated directions for the best score. Like Classic Mode, Punch Mode also features colored blocks in which to break, only instead of cutting them with laser swords, you’re punching them with your mighty Hulk fists.
Being that the experience is running through a browser as opposed to a dedicated app, there is a noticeable hit to performance. There is a significant amount of lag and screen tearing, as well as some audio desync that took me out of the experience on several occasions.
Still, it’s an impressive use of WebVR technology that does an incredible job at replicating the Beat Saber experience. Playing on my Oculus Quest, I simply typed the address in my browser, and boom, I was instantly inside a black-and-white tunnel busting up waves on blue-and-pink blocks. And due to the experience being open source, the song catalog is absolutely stacked with hit songs.
“Our hope with Moon Rider was to technically demonstrate that websites are capable of quality 3D and VR experiences, where web technology has traditionally been dismissed in the games industry,” said a representative of the Moon Rider development team in an interview with BeastSaber.
“I think there are many people that aren’t aware that the Web can be a legitimate way to build and experience VR content in the future. We had fostered a large open source developer community in A-Frame, and wanted to show that A-Frame and the Web were viable open tools for building native-like VR content.”
Moon Rider is available free in VR on the Oculus Quest via the Oculus Browser and on the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive via the Supermedium app or Firefox desktop browser over at Moonrider.xyz. Google Daydream and Oculus Go users have access to only the Ride and Viewer Modes.
You can also play the game in standard 2D on computers and smart devices via the Firefox and Google Chrome web browsers. The trio of developers behind Moon Rider—currently working on the Supermedium VR web browser—are the same team behind Beatsaver Previewer, a popular tool for discovering and curating new Beat Saber tracks.