It’s hard to understand why the Gear VR has becoming such a strong breeding ground for gallery shooter videogames, but the fact that the genre is so well supported means every new release has a great deal of competition to stand next to. SpinVector’s VRAsteroids suffers greatly under the pressure, and yet manages to be a lightweight, enjoyable experience of its own.
While Climax Studios’ Bandit Six offers the player a notable progression system and nDreams’ Gunner concerns itself with a storyline and campaign for immersion, VRAsteroids eschews all these trappings and concentrates purely on a high score challenge. The player is positioned in the middle of an asteroid field and is tasked with preventing giant rocks from entering their safe zone. It’s simple and pure arcade fun; this may not lead to longevity, but it remains enjoyable while it lasts.
Played solely with the Gear VR’s built-in touchpad, VRAsteroids is most definitely a one-trick pony. A red indicator will inform the player of the direction asteroids are coming from and the player must simply look directly at them and tap the touchpad to shoot. Every so often, a large asteroid will come from directly above requiring multiple shots to take out. The player’s biggest challenge is to evaluate the most important targets.
There are no power-ups, alternate weaponry or diversity in the enemies. The scoring system allows for a combo bonus and the increasingly difficult waves will eventually result in the opening section seeming very slow. It’s a formula any gamer worth their salt will be familiar with, and for that exact reason VRAsteroids is hardly a good recommendation for early adopters of the brand new Gear VR hardware.
The visual quality is decidedly limited; comfortable certainly, but this is purely because of its simplicity. A vacuous space backdrop and floating rocks accompanied by indicators of the player’s safe zone and score. There is nothing else of note displayed on the screen at any point, and as such you’d expect VRAsteroids to be handled perfectly well by the Gear VR hardware.
VRAsteroids is going to be a hard sell due to its inherent simplicity. Supplementary features such as additional weaponry or even just an online leaderboard would certainly have gone down well, but as it stands SpinVector have created a Gear VR experience that is fun for a few plays, but is unlikely to endure beyond this given the weight of the competition.