Free fall rides are scary enough when you can see what is around you - but what if you are sitting on a free fall ride, unaware of what is around you?
Ocean Park launched the first ever Virtual Reality Free Fall Ride in Hong Kong - The Abyss - VR Space Voyage. Before queuing up for what will be the long lines for the much awaited ride, guests can learn more about the VR adventure in a pre-show area that has been set up by the park. It features information about the space voyage, fun facts about different chemicals and gases on the planet, as well as an augmented reality game, where guests collect resources to build defense systems on a new planet.
The ride successfully bridges science and adventure, living up to Ocean Park’s motto. Like Mr. Timothy Ng, Executive Director of Operations and Entertainment at Ocean Park, said, “Ocean Park isn't just about fun, it is also about learning!”
The second you put on your goggles, you’ll find yourself teleported to Titan, Saturn's largest moon. According to former NASA engineer, Dr. Aprille Joy Ericsson, the ride was inspired by the reality that humans may have to find another place to live on in the future. Since Titan is “the most habitable moon,” most similar to the conditions at Earth, it was only apt that this would be the setting for the voyage.
As you are buckled into your seat, ready for the ride, each guest is given a VR headset, which shows you in a space station, with numerous astronauts around, getting ready for the take off to investigate Titan. Even before the ride begins, guests are able to look around at Titan and play an interactive game. During the ride, guests can shoot meteorites that are falling from the sky - not with guns, but simply by looking at them.
As the ride begins, you see yourself zooming in and out of the space station, evacuating Saturn’s moon because of the increasing number of meteorites striking Titan. The free fall element of the ride is coupled with the evacuation, making you fly off your seat but feel heroic at the same time.
The ride is a must try with the VR element, as it’ll keep you on the edge of your seat - figuratively and literally. Without a single clue as to how far off the ground you are, you won’t know when the ride begins, or when the ride ends, but you’ll have a story playing for you throughout.
We tried the ride both with and without the goggles, and found that the VR element is especially beneficial for those who are scared of heights - you won’t know how high up you’re going! Unlike traditional VR games, where you are usually strapped to a car seat, the combination of an actual ride and breathtaking views of Earth and beyond heightens your senses, and keeps your adrenaline pumping even after taking off your goggles.
Our only complaint is that the duration of the ride was a lot shorter than expected, with only seconds of the advertised, “free-falling” experience. That being said, the fact that it’s so short will definitely help with crowd control and reduce waiting time. All in all it’s a must-try for any roller coaster fans or adrenaline seekers, as well as an escape from the city.