This is not the thirteenth floor. There is no spoon here.

The year: 2046. Also known as…The Future. You are Thomas Hall a brash, easy-talkin’, gunslingin’ diver. Only you don’t dive in water, you dive into neural networks to retrieve people who get lost in this needlessly dangerous technology. Like in the Matrix, you no longer enter the virtual world with a pair of dorky goggles and some plastic controllers, instead you jack your brain directly into the machine by allowing the tech to directly interface with your most vital of organs, your noodle. Also know as, brain.

VR Invaders

I’m pretty sure that’s the idea behind the tech that I, or rather, Thomas Hall is using in this game. The story is told entirely in voice over, either in pre-game static screens, or during gameplay so I never actually get to see how it works, but I was able to glean as much as I did from the banter between Thomas and Ness, his superior who talks him through his missions from the safety of the real world.

Initially you are sent into the system to retrieve a celebrity designer of virtual worlds named Alice who seems to have gotten herself stuck in the world builder and it’s your job to get her out. I’m not really sure what this normally looks like, but Thomas seems to indicate that being given a gun and shield and blasting bots is not the usual course of action for a diver. The bots, it turns out, are the systems security and you have to take it out before Ness can get you or Alice out of the simulation.

As the story develops you learn that Alice isn’t the only person who has gotten trapped and it looks like there might be something more going on than you initially thought. I don’t want to tell any more about the story because I know that some folks really hate spoilers and the threshold for what constitutes a spoiler can be all over the place, in fact I may have crossed it already for some. If so, sorry. The story isn’t amazing anyway. It’s very much there just to give context to what you are doing and why. Some of the writing is pretty bad, or at least I think it is anyway. I feel like the writing for Thomas was aimed at being similar to Nathan Drake from Uncharted, but it didn’t make it there. He tries to be nonchalant and that is exactly how it comes across, as trying to be, instead of just being. Ness is very much the 90’s movie stern business woman, but don’t call her Nessi. She hates that. The voice acting is, for the most part, good. There were times when it was pretty cringe-worthy, but that had more to do with the writing than the acting itself.

But who cares about the writing and the voice acting? As I said, it’s set dressing. The gameplay has nothing to do with it. So then, how does the game play? Actually, really well.

VR Invaders

Two games came to mind when I started playing VR Invaders; Eve: Gunjack and and Galga. If you were reading my stuff back on VR Giant then you probably know that I wasn’t a super huge fan of Gunjack, but that wasn’t because of the style of game, it was due to some decisions they made such as tying the turret to your head which removed the ability to look around your cockpit and pretty much destroyed immersion. That’s not the case here though. First all, you aren’t in a turret. You are standing on a platform high above the virtual floor, or in some cases, abyss. You are free to look everywhere and move about your play space and, of course, your gun and shield are controlled by the Touch controllers and not by your face.

The bots that you are shooting fly out of nodes on the wall and they loop around the stage in a defined pattern, similar to how the ships fly in Gunjack or Galga. The patterns don’t seem quite as rigid here as in those games, but they are definitely there. As you would expect, they become more erratic as the levels progress and at times things seem to get almost out of control with bots everywhere at once. It’s at these times that you become painfully aware of the lack of peripheral vision when using a VR headset. 3D spatial audio helps, as does an ability to slow down time when you pull the trigger on the left Touch controller, but these things can’t help with the annoyance of knowing that you are suffering from tunnel vision. I can’t hold that against the game though. That is just an unfortunate reality of this early tech. It just happens to be something that I couldn’t help noticing while playing.

Some of the enemies that you destroy drop power-ups that give you new guns for a set number of shots, increase your health or grant you invincibility. Your standard weapon is a pulse weapon of some sort. It shoots relatively quickly on auto fire and does decent damage. It is by no means a bad weapon, but it’s the least good. Some of the others that you can pick up are shotgun, which fires slowly, but several bullets at once; rapid fire, which does exactly what you would think; and plasma, which is slower, but powerful and has splash damage. There are others as well, but I’ll leave you to play the game and find out what they are.

Normally you have a shield in your left hand and a gun in your right, but when you get the invincibility power-up there is no need for a shield so it changes to another gun of the same type that is currently in your right hand. Being invincible is a nice break in the tension of the gameplay. You don’t have to focus on who your shooting and blocking bullets at the same time. You just become this dual-wielding, baddie-bot-blasting badass.

VR Invaders manages to stay fresh by constantly changing the types of bots that appear. Some have pink shielding which protects them from one shot before being destroyed and allowing you to hit the bot directly. Others look a bit like Tie Fighters from Star Wars, the wings being blue shields that you can’t destroy, so you have to shoot around them. Some have weak spots that need to be attacked and others just take several shots. Each stage lasts around five or ten minutes before ending with a boss fight. Each boss is different and requires different skills to defeat. One boss even shoots laser beams that are quite painful if they hit you and you have to physically duck or step to the side in real life to avoid them. While fighting the bosses you still have to keep your eye on the bots. Though they decrease in number, they are still there and if you become too focused on the boss you will get hurt.

VR Invaders

When I completed VR Invaders it was on the easiest difficulty. It took me about an hour and a half to play through the entire game. If you are the sort who plays on the hardest difficulty I suspect this game will last you longer. Maybe a lot longer. On the easiest difficulty you can take a lot of hits before you die and health packs are dropped pretty regularly. On hard you can barely take any hits. In fact, you can take so few that I can’t imagine the game being beatable on the hard difficulty unless you are some sort of super soldier, ninja-flipping around your your play space. I couldn’t even beat the first level. But if you do and you want more gameplay, there is always survival mode.

People will want to know, is it worth the money? That’s going to depend a lot on you. It’s not an expensive game and it’s well made. True, the writing could have been better, but the story is so incidental to the game that you can actually turn it off and just play the stages. If you play with the story on, the game ends on a cliff-hanger so perhaps there is more content coming. For replay, after you’ve completed all of the stages there is survival mode which is an endless wave shooter. If high scores and game mastery are your thing then maybe this is a great game for you. On the other hand, if you are the sort who wants a deep story with character development and tons of replay-ability, VR Invaders is not the game you’ve been waiting for.

To sum up, VR Invaders is a Galga-like game that is well made, but is a bit short and doesn’t have the best writing. It seems the developers were more interested in how the game is played than in developing the story as they allow you to turn off the story altogether and just play the game. There are enough bot types and bosses to keep the game from feeling stale, but that may not have been the case if it were very much longer. The difficulty levels are exactly what they say they are. On easy you’ll barely break a sweat. On hard, you will die. Probably a lot.

  • Comfort Level 100%
  • Graphics 85%
  • Sound 85%
  • Difficulty on Easy 30%
  • Difficulty on Hard 90%
  • Fun Factor 70%
  • Overall 75%

Article By:

Daryle Henry | Dads And Dragons
daryle@dadsanddragons.com
Twitter:@DAD_Daryle

Around the Den

Super Mario Odyssey Review

This past Friday morning I awoke at 6:30 am to what I thought was the sound of a door opening in my house. I inspected the entire house in my underwear with the leg of a high chair to fend off any would-be robbers and decided that I must have dreamt it. By this time I was awake though so I checked the internet to see what time Wal-Mart opened, saw that it was very soon, and headed out to pick up Super Mario Odyssey for my Switch.

Read More

It’s confession time. There is a piece of me that I’ve been trying to hide because I was worried about how my audience would react. This has been the case since back in my VR Giant days. I reasoned that it had nothing to do with what I was writing about so I didn’t need to bring it up. But the truth is, there is a lot of hostility in the VR community (really, almost anywhere on the internet) toward this that has made me afraid to be overt about it.

Read More

Augmented Empire Review – Gear VR

As soon as the game starts you’re in the dark, grimy, cyberpunk city of Detritum, a place with a gloomy and depressing atmosphere as people are gathered around flaming barrels and everything just looks bleak and dismal. You play as just Willa Thorne for the first few minutes, a high class young adult who was thrown into the depths of the city, but soon you will have a whole cast of six protagonists to choose from. The story of the game is interesting and keeps becoming more and more expansive as new locations are explored and new characters are met.

Read More

The State of the Metaverse – Issue #2

In this entry of The State of the Metaverse I give my thoughts on The Wizards and the news about AltSpace.

Read More

The State of the Metaverse

To those of us who have longed for VR most of our lives, or who have maybe only gotten into it in the last few years but who have gone all out with it, the obvious end goal is a persistent online world that you can drop in and out of, meet up with friends in, own a home/space in that you can make entirely your own but that is connected via this persistent world to other people’s homes and spaces. In other words, The Metaverse.

Read More

Review of Raven’s Feast by Eric Schumacher

This is the second installment of Eric Schumacher’s Hakon’s Saga, a series that follows Hakon Haroldson’s rise to power amongst the Norwegian Vikings during Europe’s Dark Ages. The first book propelled him rapidly from being fostered by the English King Athelstan to confronting a barely remembered brother and claiming his crown. If the task wasn’t arduous enough Hakon had converted to Christianity at a young age,  and arrived as one of the handful of Christians in a proudly Norse culture filled with human sacrifice to the Old God’s.  

Read More

Darknet Review

...
Read More

Along Together Review – Google Daydream

When Google Daydream was announced I thought that it had a good chance of being a Gear VR killer. It promised to be on more phones than Gear VR, be built entirely into those phones, it looked to be more comfortable and it had the motion controller. I was ready to jump ship, certain that the one that I was on was sinking. But before it was time for me to get a new phone, Samsung released their controller. That combined with the fact that I’d not been hearing great things about Daydream caused me to rethink abandoning my first love. While what a phone can do with VR is the most important aspect of a smartphone for me, for my wife it’s the camera. And Pixel boasts a pretty solid camera, in fact, at release it was lauded as the best camera on mobile. Thankfully that meant she went with pixel and I could now straddle the two ships, legs akimbo, like Van Damme in that commercial with the trucks. I don’t remember what it was for, but I remember the splits.

Read More

Twisted Arrow Review – Oculus Rift

Despite the age old idea that you should not judge a book by it’s cover, and by extension, a game by it’s cover art, I nevertheless find myself doing that anyway a lot of the time. I think that adage came to be before a large portion of marketing budget went in to designing eye catching covers. I only bring this up because everything about the Twisted Arrow store art caught my eye, from the yellow and green colour scheme, to the font, to the way the word arrow is being busted up by an arrow, it just screamed production value. I’ve felt this way before though and wound up less than enthused with the product, but I’m happy to say Twisted Arrow is so very close to being every bit as good as I expected it to be.

Read More

Batman Arkham VR Review – Oculus Rift

Batman Arkham VR is both more than I expected and less than it should be. I’ve not watched any gameplay videos of the PSVR version and so I thought that it was mostly a series of galleries with minimal interaction. In a sense it is just a series of galleries, but the interaction is far more in depth than I had given it credit for. On top of that the environments look every bit as amazing as you would expect from a Rocksteady Batman game and so it makes it that much more forgivable that you can’t move around these scenes other than by teleporting to predetermined locations. While I tend to be a fan of superheroes in general I am one of the few that doesn’t understand the extreme fascination people have with Batman. Nevertheless I’ve played many Batman games in my time and this one, despite how it clips your batwings, had me feel the most like I’d stepped into the cowl.

Read More
Skip to toolbar