I’m a big fan of RTS (real-time strategy) games. I remember sneaking into my dad’s home office when I was a kid to play Command and Conquer: Red Alert in the early hours of the morning. Back then my parents thought the little pixels of blood were too much for my young mind, so I wasn’t allowed to play it. If only they knew the direction games were going in…
My point is that I’m something of a connoisseur when it comes to RTS games. I’ve played nearly every decent one I can get my hands on, though now that I’m a bit older and have far less time to sit gawping at a screen for hours on end, I find that I’m not playing them as much as I’d like to. Part of that is because the PS4 just doesn’t have that many.
Imagine my surprise, then, when a RTS was announced not just for the PS4, but as a PSVR exclusive. My mind almost melted. So for the last couple of days I’ve been dipping in and out of Korix on PSVR, and each time I take the headset off I’m thinking about when I’ll next get to jump in and command my minion army again.
Korix is a pure RTS game but it has the novel twist of being a VR game. I’ll start straight away by saying that this is nowhere near as deep as other game’s in the genre. That’s not to say it’s no good, but if you’re looking for micro-management levels of gameplay then you’re best off tempering your expectations.
Naturally, being a PSVR game, you’ll need to play using the PSVR headset. You can use the DualShock 4 controller but the game recommends using a PS Move wand. To be fair, I recommend this, too. It’s just so much more intuitive than the clumsy DualShock 4 controller for what you need to do in Korix as you’ll spend a fair bit of time pointing and reaching.
There are three game modes in Korix: Campaign, Skirmish, and Multiplayer. I started off by going into the campaign, which you select by using the PS Move wand to point your control gun thingy and pull the trigger. More on this in a second. The first couple of levels serve as the game’s tutorial to get you used to waving your control gun around, building your base, collecting ‘energy’ and amassing an army with different soldier types and defences.
You start off by placing you base at one end of the map and from here you’ll start to build a fortress in the hope that you’ll extend your territory to the enemy base in order to destroy it. It’s a simple concept that isn’t too hard to grasp. Once you’ve got your base down you open the different menus by using the PS Move wand’s face buttons. Thankfully the in-game control gun displays the buttons for you so you’re not fumbling around trying to remember where the triangle button is on the Move controller.
Once you’ve got a few workers on your payroll, they’ll start to collect ‘energy’ from this big ol’ crystal that sits in your territory. Energy is crucial for building and amassing more workers or soldiers. The more workers you have, the quicker you’ll gather energy. Maths, yo. The game does a good enough job at taking you through the motions, though you’ll want to make sure you’re checking the instructions displayed on the control-gun’s mini-screen, lest you miss something vital and end up waving your arms around for no good reason.
Placing defences (walls, lazers, etc.) is nicely done with the Move controller. You simply point where you want to place your new build and pull the trigger. Voila, you are now the proud owner of a lazer mounted on a wall. Don’t get cocky, mind, as these are pretty weak until you upgrade them by spending more energy, something you’ll want to do sooner rather than later if you don’t want your base destroyed by the enemy. If your base is attacked and the health goes down to zero, you’re done. Loser.
The first few levels are fairly easy (easier if you change the difficulty) but the game soon ramps up the challenge as you progress onwards, so much so that I was a little overwhelmed when a huge army of enemy soldiers came marching towards my piss-poor basic wall. I lost. Hard. Several times. It wasn’t an annoyance as I knew I was being sloppy. It made me up my game and think a little more carefully about how I defend my territory while expanding it at the same time. This is what RTS games are all about, and I bloody love it.
To begin with you’ll play in small, compact arenas, but with progression comes expansion and complexity. Soon enough you’ll have huge battlefields laying before you, but thanks to retro-eque design (Tron vibes abound) it never felt like there was too much going on and that I was losing the sense of order a good commander should have.
Presentation wise, Korix is pretty basic. It has a very minimalist design; simple shapes and simple colours are the order of the day in this one. It works quite well, too. I think going for complex graphics with minute details would have made the game a little harder to play as you need to be able to see what’s going on, but with the clean and uncluttered approach, you’re never going to be left wondering where your units are. It may look a little simplistic, but don’t let it fool you. There’s a deep and rewarding game here for those who invest the time.
The real kicker in Korix is the inclusion of multiplayer. Now I didn’t spend all that long playing against other players but I did manage a couple of games. Naturally, I lost. Bigly. Next time I’ll build a wall. A great big wall to keep the invaders out! I’ll make my base great again! Multiplayer is pretty much the same game but with other players. It’s actually a little more tactical this way; with the A.I you can play a level a few times and kind of guess what the approach is going to be. With humans, however, you never what they’re going to do. Rabid creatures… I had a good bit of fun playing online, and I imagine that once a few mates have been sold on the idea of Korix, it’ll be a great game to play together. Soldiers will die and friendships may be destroyed in the process. That’s war, folks.
Then there’s the Skirmish mode which, as you would expect, is your standard skirmish affair. You’ll unlock levels by playing through the campaign, and then you can just take your time and see how you fare against the A.I without the pressure of wanting to progress to the next level. I actually found myself coming back to this mode frequently just to play my favourite levels.
With so few RTS games available on PSVR – and PS4 for that matter – Korix is a welcome addition to the PSVR library. It’s not perfect – a few instances of tracking going horribly wrong – but it’s a damn fine attempt and I highly recommend it to my fellow PSVR/RTS fans.
Korix PS4/PSVR Review
Korix takes the RTS genre and puts its own little twist on it. It’s simple to get into but if you intend to master the intricacies and explore its hidden depths in the multiplayer component, you’ll need to invest some time and really get your tactical mind to work.
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a digital copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
*Reviewed using a PS4 Slim.
Chris has been writing about gaming news for far too long, and now he’s doing it even more. A true PlayStation know-it-all, Chris has owned just about every Sony console that ever existed. Trophies are like crack to this fella. (Bronze trophies, that is – he only has one Platinum.)