Review: Cosmic Trip

A strategy title that ticks all the right boxes.

Last year indie videogame developer Funktronic Labs released its first virtual reality (VR) title onto Steam Early Access. A 60s themed real-time strategy (RTS) experience called Cosmic Trip, which certainly garnered interest due to its bold style and easy to pick up gameplay. Now Cosmic Trip is a fully fledged videogame having left early access, and Funktronic Labs has proved that the time was well spent.

Cosmic Trip isn’t a traditional RTS like Siegecraft Commander for example, where you overlook a battlefield, commanding troops, building fortifications and so on. Instead this is purely first-person, where you’re on the ground building useful items, robots and guns as you look to inhabit an alien world.

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This is a videogame that you can tell as been perfectly made for VR. When the main campaign starts you’ll find yourself in a little area just outside the spaceship you’ve arrived on. A couple of machines will already be whirring away, with some of your robots collecting resources. As you start playing with the menus and seeing what you can build you’ll find that everything can be nicely placed around your vicinity for easy access whenever you need it.

As with any RTS style experience the aim of the game is domination over ones enemies, in the case of Cosmic Trip that’s basically a bunch of very nasty local inhabitants that start out slow but soon attack in much larger waves. The trick as always is to carefully balance mining resources, creating defences and spreading out across the map. Cosmic Trip is very much a streamlined strategy experience, aiming for a happy middle ground between pickup and play gameplay whilst offering enough depth and options to keep you entertained long term.

So there are four robots to build, a resource gatherer, two defensive robots and a medic. Fairly basic but each of these can be upgraded once for better efficiency. Whilst each of these will automatically go about doing their particular job, they can also be moved around the map where you need them the most – especially useful when expanding your territory. If you’re used to strategy titles that offer a bewildering array of troops/vehicles this can look somewhat spartan but the system works well enough for most situations.

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Players will also find themselves armed. Again the choices are a little on the lackluster side, with a spin disc as your offensive weapon, a shield and a bubble thrower that can trap enemies. Being a dual wield videogame these can be mixed and match as you see fit depending on the situation. This certainly gets you involved in the fighting, but constantly throwing discs to help your robots can be a bit repetitive at points.

But don’t think for one second though that because of its bright, easy on the eye visuals and cut back options that Cosmic Trip is some child friendly, easy going videogame that VR enthusiasts won’t enjoy. As you’d be wrong, because at points it is brutal, becoming evermore fiendishly difficult. You’ll be multi-tasking wishing you had more than two hands, and that’s quite possibly the biggest hook. Everything starts off so swimmingly and you think you’ve got the hang of Cosmic Trip, then it all comes crashing down.

Cosmic Trip is one of those rare little VR treats you come across that suits VR players no matter their skill level. It’s a solidly put together single-player experience that will challenge you to almost controller throwing levels of frustration, but you’ll want to dive back in just to have ‘one more go’.

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