Currently, THPVR is a solo experience and begins with a comprehensive tutorial for the various sports. Skiers must face forward, bending your knees when turning and using the touch controllers as ski poles, building up speed and letting you change direction. Snowboarders must rotate their body 90° but have your head facing forward. Once you begin heading down the slope, turning is based around your hand movement, which feels unusual at first.
Across both options, you can quick turn via the joysticks and jump by pressing the triggers, giving you more airtime if you hold them down. Skiing is easier to get started with, but snowboarding offers much faster gameplay, though it’s more difficult to handle. That said, RainSoft have confirmed 3dRudder support is coming, which would certainly give snowboarding a more natural feel. For the most part however, both have otherwise been replicated well in VR.
Once you’ve completed this tutorial, Powder VR offers three gameplay options. Players wanting to just dive in should check out Quick Race, letting you participate between five different modes. That includes Downhill Race, a standard race to the finish against 3 AI opponents. Freestyle ranks you based on tricks performed, such as grinding. Time Attack is your time trial mode and there’s also two checkpoint modes, where you must ride through set gates within a specified time limit.
Exploration Mode is available for those looking to free roam these mountain ranges without time constrains, also allowing you to undertake side quests which include Wingsuit gameplay and Boostpack missions within skiing. At this time, Powder VR offers three ranges in total, based around Courmayeur, Brevent-Flegere, and the Cascade Mountains, with a further three to be added later.
World Tour is essentially your campaign, offering set challenges based around these five modes before moving onto the next region. Each challenge comes with a target to earn you Bronze, Silver or Gold medals. They encourage replayability and unlock new areas to explore whilst doing so, requiring a set number. Gold counts as earning 3 medals, 2 for Silver and 1 for Bronze, so that doesn’t take too long.
Additional skiing equipment/snowboards are also unlocked by earning medals and these aren’t just cosmetic, holding varied stats like higher acceleration or top speed. As a purely cosmetic option, your appearance can be customised, letting you change hairstyles, facial hair and moew, though this isn’t hugely in-depth.
For the most part, RainSoft have done well with Powder VR’s core premise and there’s a lot of potential here, as it’s quite satisfying to rack up those gold medals. Expectedly though, there just isn’t much available right now and racing against AI isn’t that exciting, even with four difficulty options to up the challenge. Out of the 60 playable areas planned, only 20 are available between the three mountain ranges.