The PSVR has many great games to keep its early adopters happy, though there is a big lack of first-person shooters. That’s still the case but it is getting better with more releases on the horizon.
This week saw the release of Pixel Gear for the PlayStation VR. It’s a very simple game in that all you do is point and shoot. It really can’t get any easier than that. Controls are mapped to just one PS Move wand controller which acts as your gun for every weapon. Naturally, you move the PS Move controller around and your in-game gun moves accordingly. Firing is done with the trigger on the back. All pretty standard stuff.
There’s not that much going for Pixel Gear VR in terms of content if I’m honest; there’s three worlds to beat, and each one unlocks the next. Once you’ve completed every world on the default “normal” difficulty, you can then try your hand at “hard”, and “crazy” difficulty modes. It’s not much, but it does at least offer a little more replay value to what ultimately amounts to a rather short game. It took me around three hours to beat every world and I failed numerous times due to some tricky boss battles.
Being that Halloween is just around the corner (or at least it is at the time of writing) Pixel Gear VR is quite a fitting game to be playing. The enemies you’re tasked with taking down are all monsters, skeletons and ghouls. Some are more fearful and hard to kill than others, while boss battles mark the end of your time with each world. It was the boss battles that gave me the most problems as you’re left to figure out the process by yourself, but with trial-and-error, I persevered.
The actual gameplay is pretty cool to start off with; waves of enemies come creeping from every direction and you’re constantly keeping your head on a swivel to make sure nothing comes up on your blind side, or that a missile fired by some big green monster isn’t getting too close. You start with a simple handgun that can be upgraded slightly by collection coins. You collect coins by shooting floating ghosts that carry them. Yeah, weird.
There’s a few different weapons to collect, though you’ll need to be a top marksmen to get the coins required for them all. There’s the standard pistol, the light machine gun, a sniper rifle, and even a grenade launcher. My personal favourite was the handgun, mainly due to it just being easier to control; recoil is taken into account with the machine gun and sniper, which is a nice touch.
It’s not especially hard, and after a while I did find myself growing a wee bit tired of just pointing and shooting. Of course, the different enemy types aim to change things up a bit by having you aim for specific parts of their body, but it just wasn’t enough for me. A highlight/weird point was using the sniper rifle to take out the blocky foes. You can bring the scope of the rifle up to your face to get a good zoom-in on distant enemies. While being mega cool for the first few goes (I never really used it after the novelty wore off) it just felt a little strange to be doing it with one hand. Perhaps incorporating the second move controller would have made it feel a little more natural, but alas, it is what it is.
As far as the game’s presentation and sound go, I can’t really complain. The graphics are simple yet serviceable while, and in true indie-game form, they’re “Minecraft-style” in that the world is built from blocks. Naturally, with the PSVR’s lower resolution, distant enemies can be a bit of a blur and it’ll make pulling off headshots on such distant foes a pain in the bum, though I never found it to be detrimental to my playthrough.
Pixel Gear is a short game, but given its cheap price of entry I think it’s pretty good value for money. Plus, you can record your highscore and make a game of it with mates by passing the headset. Jesus, I remember when we used to pass the pad around, not a £400 bit of kit…
Pixel Gear PS4/PSVR Review
Overall - Good - 6.5/10
Pixel Gear is cheap and cheerful fun that won’t break your digital wallet. The controls work well and the gameplay is top-notch, if only for the relatively short running time. A bit more content and a little more variety would have pushed this one to greater heights, but as it stands it’s still a decent game.
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