Review: Strike Suit Zero
Having launched just over a year ago, Born Ready Games’ Strike Suit Zero has developed a keen audience on Windows, Mac and Linux PC formats. Developed by a small UK studio thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign, Strike Suit Zero is a space combat videogame designed to pick-up the slack the genre has been experiencing since Zone of the Enders decided to ground the action in anime storylines. Strike Suit Zero has a story of course, but it’s far more intimately involved with player action instead of passive spectatorship.
And that action has been designed with Oculus Rift in mind. From very early on in the production of Strike Suit Zero Born Ready Games made it clear that the Oculus Rift headset was a natural part of the plan. Though not ready in time for launch, an Oculus Rift update was made available soon after and is now operational as a native component of the videogame. So much so in fact, that the frontend menu of the videogame features the option to launch directly into an Oculus Rift enabled mode.
The videogame is a space combat simulator in a very similar fashion to that which you may be expecting. The player takes on the role of a fighter pilot in a number of different craft equipped with laser cannons and missile launchers of varying capability and conditions. Though it may sound fairly generic Strike Suit Zero does make a good attempt to build moments of tension into it’s standardised mission structure. Once the initial training missions have been completed the videogame makes no bones about challenging it’s players; the difficulty level ramps up considerably once the player has established the basics of vehicle and weapon control, and that’s no bad thing.
Strike Suit Zero‘s ace-up-it’s-sleeve is the transforming craft. When reaching these later levels the player will be given new craft far more capable than anything they had been piloting previously. The firepower and manoeuvrability of these bi-pedal craft is simply astronomical in comparison to your standard ships, and as such Born Ready Games has seen fit to limit their use. A single meter prevents the videogame’s difficulty from breaking, and the challenge now lies in the addition of millimetres to this meter and judicious use of it when full. Strike Suit Zero may not revolutionise the space combat genre, but it has plenty of ideas as to how to go about it.
What’s perhaps more important however, is the fact that Strike Suit Zero is the very first space combat videogame to make use of the Oculus Rift headset; and in that regard it sets a very high benchmark. The degree of customisability with the motion-tracking of the headset is a wholly welcome addition, allowing you to set your own limits, and when exercised to it’s fullest Strike Suit Zero‘s Oculus Rift enabled gameplay is truly wonderful. Piloting your craft with the interior view – despite the lack of internal animation – is an remarkably immersive experience to the degree that very few can claim to have yet achieved. Strike Suit Zero stands by itself as an enjoyable videogame, but with the Oculus Rift headset it takes on a brand new form: this is a compelling virtual reality experience that shouldn’t be missed by any keen early adopter.