Until Dawn: Rush of Blood is a campy, creepy carnival VR experience [Reality Bytes]

Until Dawn Rush of Blood clown

While Until Dawn: Rush of Blood was a launch title for the PlayStation VR last year, I feel it’s appropriate to revisit the game due to its inclusion in the November PlayStation Plus lineup of free games.

From November 7th to January 2nd, PlayStation Plus members will be able to download the on-rails arcade shooter at no additional charge. The game regularly costs $24.99 CAD, while PlayStation Plus subscriptions cost $11.99 per month, $29.99 for three months for $69.99 for one year.

A spinoff of 2015’s seminal horror game Until Dawn, Rush of Blood has you strapped into a moving cart as you progress through levels, all the while shooting supernatural enemies.

It’s not unlike those amusement park midway-style 4D moving shooting games that have you blasting a series of targets — only this time, it’s made more immersive through VR.

Until Dawn Rush of Blood enemies

The character you’re playing as is clearly unhinged, and there are reality-bending massive clowns, squealing pig heads and bloody dolls lying everywhere you turn.

You can use a DualShock 4 or PlayStation Move controllers to fire guns of various types, though the latter control option makes shooting feel much more precise and intuitive.

Tonally, the game embraces the campy, B-movie feel of the original Until Dawn, with a creepy-yet-goofy carnival aesthetic and musical themes. A wacky ringleader introduces you to each level, starting you off on an initially lighthearted note.

Until Dawn Rush of Blood ringleader

Once the levels begin, however, tension rises thanks to detailed visuals, subtle audio cues and ramping dread due to incoming enemies of all shapes and sizes.

Because the game is on rails, there are also several instances when your cart will go down a steep incline. In cases like these, it really does emulate the lurch-in-your-stomach feel of being at the top of a roller coaster that’s just about to make its rapid descent.

Until Dawn Rush of Blood rabbits

Environmental hazards such as rotating chainsaw blades will also require you to move your headset in various directions to avoid being skewered.

Some of the levels and their featured bosses are not great, coming off as rather boring and easy to clear. For the most part, though, stages are engaging and tense, keeping me on my toes and leading me to continue playing.

You’ll also be rated on your performance in each level, based on accuracy, discovered collectibles and destroyed marked targets. Online leaderboards compare your ranking to other players, encouraging you to brave the rickety tracks once again to improve your score and top the charts.

Image credit: PlayStation