One of the most common gameplay styles I've seen in my time with VR is the wave-based survival FPS. You'll stand in one spot and shoot at waves of oncoming enemies until you either win or die. VR Invaders is another take on that simple subject. Does this robot blasting virtual reality game have something new to offer, or is it just another name on a growing list?
VR Invaders has you play as Thomas, a hacker who works for a VR company by diving into programs and helping people who find themselves trapped in them. This time around the victim is Alice, a famous professional artist who appears to have been using the system for something seemingly illegal. The further Thomas digs into the system the more he comes to realize that Alice may have just accidentally stumbled onto something bigger. What follows is an underwhelming and dull story that hits exactly all the notes you'd expect and also ends on a cliffhanger that will probably never be resolved.
The gameplay is rather simple: you stand in one spot and shoot at swarms of robotic enemies that attack you. In one hand you have a gun, in the other a shield. You can slow down time, and that's the only other feature in the game. The game has eight story levels that take about five to ten minutes each, which means it's over in a flash. All you really have to do is stand in your spot and shoot robots until you finish the level.
This is handled with competence at least. There's a good chunk of different enemies that will attack you, and not all of them can be defeated by just being shot enough. Some have shields that need to be either taken down or worked around, while others need to have all sections destroyed to take them out. As good at that is, the enemies suffer from some dumb AI. I often saw them flying into walls, getting themselves killed instantly on impact, or getting stuck on top of each other. Defeat enemies and there's a chance they'll drop a power-up that turns your gun into a shotgun, uzi, laser or more. It's nice to get something different to shoot, but it's not really anything I haven't seen in every other game of the same type.
At the end of every level is a boss fight. Most of these suffer from just being regular enemies but with big health bars. Sure, this means you'll still have to work around shields or aim for segments rather than just plugging away at a large body, but that means most also have a feeling of "I've fought this already". There are a few unique ones, like a slowly advancing wall that puts up shields over its vulnerable parts while attacking you, but there's maybe three of those in the campaign, and you fight one of them twice for some reason.
After you finish the game's story, there are two other game modes to sample, both of which are extremely similar to what came before. Survival mode is just that: survive against waves of enemies until you fail to survive. The other mode is Target Practice, which is nearly the same thing. The only difference is that all the enemies are bombs, and you get two guns rather than a gun and a shield. It's not enough to actually feel like its own game mode, rather just a variation on the Survival mode that you already have. Either way, both modes get boring after only a single attempt.
Really the problem with VR Invaders is that I have little to say about it other than "it exists." We're at a point where full first person shooters are making their way to VR, and the whole "stand in one spot and shoot waves" thing only works if the game has some unique gimmick for it. VR Invaders does not. Everything in VR Invaders works, but there's so many more interesting takes both on this genre and on similar ones. There's no reason to waste your time on a totally average entry unless you've honestly exhausted everything else.
VR Invaders was reviewed on PlayStation VR using a copy purchased by the reviewer. The game is also available on HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.
VR Invaders is a totally average VR wave-based shooter that does absolutely nothing more than work competently. There are many more interesting games available on PSVR.
- Slowing Down Time is Fun
- Good Enemy Variety
- Nothing is Horribly Broken
- Story is Lame
- AI Does Stupid Things
- Nothing Really Stands Out