Preview: #Archery – Can This Colourful Shooter Offer Enough to be Worth Your Time?
The title is currently in Steam Early Access.
There are plenty of fun quirky titles for HTC Vive that showcase virtual reality’s (VR) innovative use of motion controls. Titles such as Job Simulator and Fantastic Contraption perfectly showcase this, and developer VRUnicorns has created some of the most light-hearted experiences with #SelfieTennis and #SkiJump. Today sees the release of the studio’s next videogame, #Archery which continues this same thread.
#Archery takes the same design ques as VRUnicorns previous titles, with a bold, colourful design aesthetic, appealing to gamers of all ages. As the name blatantly indicates, the videogame is all about archery prowess, going for an arcade feel rather than a serious simulator.
Staring in an apartment which serves as your base, you’ll instantly find a bow in one hand to start shooting away at anything you can see. Gameplay mechanics are insanely simple, draw your bow to fire an arrow and repeat. While room-scale is supported, there are no further movement mechanics, no teleportation or anything else, you just fire away from the same spot.
The only other function that’s available is to press the touchpad which brings up a tablet from which you choose a mini-game. Of which there are five to choose from, Making Pizza Toppings, A Paper Round, Ice Cream Stand, Dragon Toy Factory and a Roof Top Target Range.
For the pizza segment you’re provided with three ingredients, an onion, tomato, mushroom and broccoli. A monitor sits next to the ingredients indicating which needs to be selected and fired at a pizza base which moves across a conveyor. If you don’t succeed before the pizza disappears then you receive a strike. Get three strikes and its game over.
Then there’s the paper round. Players find themselves on the back of a truck firing newspapers into peoples letter boxes. This particular mini-game is certainly the most fleshed out, with various other games to activate as you work through the level. These include basketball, fishing a gun range and more.
For the ice cream stand you’ll need to fend off kids who want to knock your ice cream trolley over. Fire a barrage of different coloured cones at them for as long as possible. The dragon toy factory is one of the more difficult of the five, you need to stop red boxes making into the machinery and with various conveyors set at different distances and heights can get quite hectic.
The last one, roof top target range, is certainly the least inventive of the mini-games, with a selection of circular targets appearing on buildings across the street. Essentially all the mini-games offer one thing highscores and learderboards, but this can become somewhat shallow over time.
#Archery isn’t going to set the VR videogame world on fire, but its not really designed to. This is the kind of title that is perfect for VR newcomers. It gets them involved in a virtual world with simple mechanics that they can just pick up and play. The downside to this will be long term VR enthusiasts may find the gameplay somewhat lacklustre and hardly innovative. It’s got heart but that isn’t always enough in the challenging VR climate.