Classic Sega hero Ulala returns later this month in a new virtual reality outing.
Cult classic Space Channel 5 is finally getting another entry later this month, with Space Channel 5 VR: Kinda Funky News Flash set to release on PlayStation VR on February 25. It’s priced at $39.99.
This sequel has been a long time coming. Space Channel 5: Part 2 (which bizarrely had Michael Jackson in it as ‘Space Michael’, y’know) released all the way back in 2001. While there’s been some mobile-based spin-offs and ports, the series has been largely dormant, though hero Ulala has appeared in the Sega All-Stars Tennis and Racing games to represent the series.
In 2016 Sega greenlit a VR experiment around the franchise, and that ultimately led to this new game. This new VR Space Channel 5 is coming to PlayStation VR, SteamVR, HTC Vive and Oculus Quest, and several members of the original nineties development team reunited for the project.
The release announcement appeared on the PlayStation YouTube, and it’s not yet clear if other platforms beyond PSVR will also get the game on February 25 or if PlayStation will have a small exclusivity period. It certainly appears that way, however, as on the official website PlayStation now has purchase links while all other platforms are simply listed as ‘coming soon’. This release date comes after a delay back from an originally planned December 2019 release that would’ve coincided with the series’ 20th anniversary.
If you don’t know what Space Channel 5 is, here’s the primer: it’s a dancing and rhythm game that is essentially a memory-based game. Typically you’ll be in a dance-off against evil aliens – the aliens will do moves, and you’ll have to memorize and perform them back in time with the music. All the while, Ulala and other characters dance along on-screen.
It’s fun and campy, with robot cheerleaders getting into formation behind you while chanting “Go go go go, Space Channel 5! Let’s dancing! Let’s shooting! Sexy Ulala, yeah!” That is what sort of video game it is. That quote says it all. It’s dumb, it knows it, it embraces it. It is very charming.
This new VR game appears to be at least a little more active, as you’ll be holding PS Move controllers (or your platform’s equivalent) and therefore moving around rather than just hitting directional buttons. Also, for the first time you’ll be dancing alongside Ulala rather than as her.