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Preview: MoonStrike on Oculus Touch

One of the handful of new titles revealed for the Oculus Rift at Oculus Connect 2, Hollywood, today, MoonStrike comes from Big Dorks, a US based independent studio. Using the Oculus Touch controllers, MoonStrike is a simple yet potentially very deep strategy videogame that has the player attempting to take command of planets and battlestations by sending their faceless troops to war.

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MoonStrike‘s most immediately similarity would be Risk. It’s a 3D space combat strategy videogame, but its core gameplay loop is using a command of numbers to take control of planets while ensuring you don’t leave those you already own undefended. Your resources build over time so waiting for the right moment to strike is important, more so when you factor in the continuously moving planets and the time it will take your fleet to reach them.

All of the above may sound familiar to the most discerning strategy videogame fan, as MoonStrike plays incredibly similar to another videogame. Inventive Dingo’s 2007 PC release, Mayhem Intergalatic, has the exact same ruleset. While the planets are not moving objects and the visual representation is a simple 2D map, the basic gameplay is near-identical. Mayhem Intergalatic didn’t go on to redefine the genre, but it did develop a satisfied cult following; MoonStrike is likely to exceed this thanks to its promotion via Oculus VR, but it also just as likely to satisfy it’s audience.

The in-game action is very simple to control. All of the Oculus Touch demos here at Oculus Connect 2 are standing experiences, however MoonStrike could just as easily be played while seated. All of the planets which the player is concerned with stay within your forward-facing 180 degrees. In the demo version here at Oculus Connect 2 the player was represented by blue planets and fought against two opponents, red and gold. Grey planets were as-yet-unclaimed.

Though different in size, the planets didn’t seem to hold any further value at this time. The player would find an increase in the number of their units stationed on each planet they owned every 10-or-so seconds, but this didn’t seem to relate to the size of the planet. To command troops it’s simply a case of swiping a hoop that extends from the player’s virtual hand over the planets from which you wish to expel units, followed by holding the index finger trigger and dragging the hoop over an enemy planet. After this you just watch your units take flight, gunning down opposing craft and hopefully making it to their intended destination.

The demo version of MoonStrike was tough, but it seems Big Dorks had acknowledged this. Towards the end of the demo (a timer ticks down throughout this version) a battlestation entered the map armed to the teeth with reinforcements. New units aplenty, you’re back in the action able to take down some of the biggest enemy outposts. However, one wrong move and your numbers can soon fall again.

MoonStrike isn’t exactly the kind of experience many would envision when thinking about the future if virtual reality (VR) entertainment, but that is perhaps the entire reason for it’s being. Big Dorks have offered a slice of a fun – though challenging – strategy experience that could potentially become a huge timesink. VRFocus will endeavour to find out more about Big Dorks’ plans and bring you more details on MoonStrike in the near future.