VR Invaders the Complete Edition is Galaga in virtual reality and that is f***ing awesome. Many video game developers have been leaving behind the more arcadey qualities that, at one point, helped to keep adults and children feeding quarters into a machine until they ran out of money. Sure, gamers have gotten HD versions of the classic arcade games like Pac-Man and Space Invaders, but VR Invaders is the first game where I feel like these arcade game qualities have been brought back and placed into a new context…and I love it.
The story is…wait…who cares. Arcade games tended to remain minimal on storytelling, because it doesn’t easily fit within the confines of blasting lots of little robots, aliens, or anything else. The story isn’t why you play an arcade game and that means no one should go into this type of game expecting Shakespeare, Proust, or even King. What I will say is that the story fits the context of the game, but that it is a minimal part of the experience, and that the voice acting is unintentionally humorous and the plot is clichéd…also, it can be skipped.
However, the gameplay is where the focus is placed and that builds off of the basic design of old arcade games. Whereas, in the past, the player would be a ship placed at the bottom of the screen and the other ships would swoop down and attack in circular wave patterns, VR Invaders places the player in the middle of the screen and has robots infesting the VR space from above, below, and directly in front. This adjustment forces the player to react quickly and keep their head on a swivel to pick out incoming attacks as well as using their auditory senses more in case something happens to sneak up behind the player.
To combat the onslaught of incoming robots the player is given three tools at the outset. The first tool is standard, which is a pistol in the player’s left or right hand (player’s choice) for shooting down the robots. In the opposing hand is a shield used to block incoming projectiles and then there is a time slowing button that offers a few moments of respite to line up a perfect shot or attempt to clear out enemies if it gets too hectic.
The robots come in many different types, sizes, and speeds and each level has a “boss” at the end that will offer another change up to the gameplay. Also, if the player advances the combo meter enough they will get different weapons like a shotgun, machine gun, second weapon instead of a shield, and laser gun. Each one offers the player a new gameplay experience and changes the approach the player needs to take. No matter which weapon is being used the controls are precise, which makes the game rewarding.
All of these different gameplay qualities show a game that has taken the basics from an arcade shooter and then advanced and enhanced those qualities so they both fit VR and they make the experience more exciting, engaging, and more hectic.
In each hectic level, the game never stuttered or slowed down (unless I wanted it to). The game’s graphics are in line with the standards of VR games. The robots are all easily distinguishable and the environments are diversified. The game’s graphics aren’t going to overly impress anyone, but people always look past graphics if the gameplay is worth it, which it is here.
Outside of the core narrative game, there are also three other game type options. One is a level select option that allows the player to forgo the narrative, something I recommend, and play each level looking only to achieve a high score. The second option is a wave based survival mode that places the player in an early level and keeps sending more and more robots at them until the player dies. The third option is target practice, which works as a training room for the player. Each option offers its own value, but the standout is level select and attempting to achieve the high score.
Each option, as well as the narrative, offer precise, engaging, and hectic gameplay mechanics, but the game itself–wait for the criticism that needs to be stated for the majority of VR games—is short. The narrative did not take long to complete and once that was done, the additional content was interesting for a couple of tries, but then I lost interest quickly. The value in the game is directly tied to how engrossing achieving the high score is to you, because that is the only reason to replay the game. If high scores are your bread and butter, like some are with trophies, this game will offer lots of replay ability. If high scores don’t matter to you, then there is not much incentive to play the game through a second time.
VR Invaders PS4/PSVR Review
If you grew up in the arcades of the 80’s and 90’s or have not yet experienced the old school fun of a game like Galaga, this game is for you. If you can’t sleep until you have the high score on a particular game so that it can be lorded over family and friends, this game is for you. If you enjoy hectic and immersive gameplay and virtual reality, this game is for you. If you believe gameplay comes before story in a game and don’t mind playing the same level repeatedly, this game is for you. If you answered no to any of the previous questions then this game might not be for you; and if you answered no to all of the previous questions, then I don’t know if we can be friends anymore.
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a digital code provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
*Reviewed using a base PS4.