Blasters of the Universe
Blasters of the Universe puts the player into an 80's arcade style environment with the goal to blast your way through 4 intense levels. This wave shooter boasts one of the hardest yet most fun game play experiences for any first person shooter on PSVR. One of the most unique features of Blasters of the Universe is the crazy amount of gun/shield combinations that are achievable in the game. You will need some sweet moves (to dodge bullets), extreme focus and an accurate shot to progress through the level and defeat the final boss.
Game Style: First Person Shooter Controller: 2 Motion Controllers Game Length: 1.5 hours (casual difficulty) Price: $14.99 PlayPSVR Score: 8
Another wave shooter? I know. PSVR is full of them and they get old after a while. However, I have good news to share. Blasters of the Universe is not only my favorite wave shooter that has been released thus far, but also provides addictive and unique game play to the overly utilized genre. Although the plot is very thin, you are placed in a retro looking world and expected to blast your enemies (including your nemesis) until you reign victorious. Although this probably sounds like similar wave shooters there are several things about this game that makes it stand out.
The first thing to me that makes this game so much more intriguing is the gun and shield combinations. You possess a gun in one hand and a device that can spit out a shield on command in the other hand. As you progress through the game and kill more enemies, more shields and gun components are unlocked. Your gun is comprised of 5 different pieces, all that can be mixed, swapped and combined to make each gun unique. There are literally thousands of combinations to try.
The frame of the gun unlocks different special abilities, all better used for certain game play styles. Another piece alters how you handle your ammunition and whether your gun is automatic or semi-automatic. Other parts alter how the projectiles that you shoot (whether laser-like, spheres, etc), how much damage is delivered as well as accuracy and reload time. All these stats are vital in the later levels and especially when you play in Hell mode. I just love the fact that you can create your specific gun. Everyone plays differently and has different strengths so it is awesome to develop a weapon for my specific style. For example, although shooting only one bullet causes more damage, I am not a good enough shot to really be effective with it. So I choose to go with multiple projectiles that spread (easier to hit those freaking floating heads) and have lower damage, but more ammunition per round. This customization is awesome and executed to perfection.
The game play is simple, but very fun and unique in many ways. You can sit or stand, but I strongly advise you stand for this one. The reason is that when bullets are reigning down upon you, it is necessary to move your head in order to avoid them. I found that when I stood I had a much wider range to move my head and noticed at times I was borderline sitting on the floor and standing on my tippy toes to avoid bullets. This is unlike many wave shooters (say Shooty Fruity) where you just sit there and the entire game is based on how good of a shooter you are. This is the second reason I like Blasters so much. The moving aspect cranks up the difficulty, makes no two playthroughs the same and just makes the game so much more fun.
As subtitle of the game is VR Bullet Hell, and it means it. This game is very difficult. You will almost for sure have to play a level two or three times to up your kill count and upgrade your weapon until you can beat the game. And that is on casual mode. The developers just released a patch to make Hell mode even harder! It is almost criminally insane. You lose your mind because bullets are everywhere and at some point you lock up and your mind is just too overwhelmed to perform well. But my golly when you get in a trance like state and you are scooting, dodging and dipping through waves of bullets while taking out each enemy one by one it feels amazing. This happened to me on level 4 on casual mode and my mind just totally spaced out. It felt as if I was just going through the motions, but by the end of the level I noticed I didn't get hit once! It was like a spiritual experience or something.
So, this game is very difficult, but it is the fun difficult. It's the fair difficult where the challenge lies in skill, preparation and focus not faulty controls (looking at you Cubeworks), poor programming or unruly difficulty. Be prepared to lose, but you will enjoy it because it is fun to run through the levels again and blast these aliens and monsters into oblivion.
Each level is fairly long (which makes it suck when you lose at the boss) and adds variability in each level. There is a decent amount of enemy variation and a different boss battle at the end of each stage. I never found a level to be too long or annoying. The environment is pretty immersive and fun. Graphics look good, but aren't stunning. But you won't have time to even notice them other than the very first few seconds before the first wave of enemies hit.
Another thing I want to briefly mention is that the game is intended to be humorous. With a few wordy durds and at times childish humor the game succeeds in being pretty funny. I didn't make any audible laughter, but I have never found a game to be actually funny enough to laugh at, but this is the funniest of the PSVR games that I have played. The final boss (and nemesis), Alwyn (the guy on the front cover art) hurls insults at you on each level as he levitates over the playing field and watches you play. Archiact did well in creating a fun playful environment while keeping the game play as brutal as could be.
If I had one disappointment with the game it was the length. Although I had to play several levels multiple times (I didn't think I would ever get past level 3) I still managed to finish the game in a little less than 1.5 hours. There are only 4 levels and a weekly challenge. This is pretty thin on content, but the game is only $14.99 and I think a very worthy $15 spent. But at the end I was so immersed in the game and was enjoying it so much that I didn't even realize I beat the final level of the game. When I saw the ending scene and then the credits, I was dumbfounded. And sad. But all in all, that is a wonderful feeling, as many games you are glad they are over. So although short, hopefully new levels can be added, new weekly challenges will be available and the replay value is still high because you can customize your gun and in general it is a hoot to play.
Although the PSVR boasts many wave shooters in its collection, Blasters of the Universe takes the prize as the best. The ability to customize your gun, fun environments, comedic nature and ultimately its immersive game play make for a thrilling experience that I, for one, was extremely grateful to see. Hopefully this game revitalizes the definition and expectations for wave shooters because the bar is now set very high. Even if you are not a huge fan of the genre, take a chance on Blasters of the Universe because it's the best of its kind.
Playpsvr score: 8