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Preview: Nighttime Terror: Dessert Defender

Nighttime Terror launched on the Gear VR mobile head-mounted display (HMD) during its ‘Innovator Edition’ and received a significant amount of praise. So much so, in fact, that a sequel was teased before the consumer edition of the Gear VR arrived. That sequel, now known as Nighttime Terror: Dessert Defender is now available for HTC Vive and coming soon to the Oculus Rift, but can it up the score from VR Bits’ first virtual reality (VR) release?

Nighttime Terror: Dessert Defender

Nighttime Terror is a top-down arcade shooter in which you control your on-screen avatar as he blasts through waves of cartoonish foes. Nighttime Terror: Dessert Defender adds a layer of tower defence to the gameplay, and does so commendably. A treat in a central location of each map is attracting the cute horrors of the night and the player must defend it in addition to themselves.

In order to do so, the player is able to purchase turrets to place around the map and aid their own headlook based shooting prowess. The turrets aren’t free, and the player must collect enough coins in a wave to ensure that they can afford more towers next wave. It’s a blunt yet effective risk-reward system that ensures players will inevitably push themselves beyond their reach for highscores, especially on the later waves and more difficult stages.

Nighttime Terror: Dessert Defender

More gameplay modes, more stages, more power-ups and a greater variety of enemies: on paper, Nighttime Terror: Dessert Defender delivers everything you’d hope from a sequel. Unfortunately, Nighttime Terror: Dessert Defender is far from optimised for the Oculus Rift at this point. Even when played on a PC far above the Oculus Rift’s recommended specification as soon as more than two enemies appear on the screen the framerate drops to a staggering low. This doesn’t just hinder the gameplay and isn’t a simple case of perseverance; Nighttime Terror: Dessert Defender is simply unplayable.

This, of course, is a real shame. What Nighttime Terror: Dessert Defender proposes as a wonderful new take on the tower defence genre that sets it apart from the efforts in VR thus far. VR Bits will surely endeavour to fix this prior to launch, but at present Nighttime Terror: Dessert Defender is not a welcoming videogame experience on the Oculus Rift.