Giant mechs tend to be a popular choice for cartoons and movies because of the visceral look of towering robots, bristling with weaponry, typifying a one-person army ready to take on whatever assailant comes their way. And it’s the same for videogames, but for virtual reality (VR) gamers there’s not a great deal of choice – unless you count 100ft Robot Golf. That’s going to improve however with Kaidro: The Awakening, a sci-fi role-playing game (RPG) in development by Gadget-Bot.
Showcasing an early preview at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) 2017, the studio had the title running on both the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive head-mounted displays (HMDs), with two modes available. The first was a story mode, essentially giving players a background on what’s going on this virtual world – you play as an orphaned girl called Ava, drafted into the military academy to learn to pilot mechs in a post apocalyptic world. This mode also showcased a set of customisation options so that you could personalise your mech with different colours and more.
The other ‘Arcade Mode’ was designed to take you straight into the action – for those that just wanted to see the gameplay. Offering a choice of two weapon loadouts, a two-handed heavy weapon or dual-wielding pistols, one acting as the main offensive gun while the other served as a magnetic gun, pulling objects towards you which could then be flung at enemies, the first area was just a target range to acclimatise players with the controls.
Gameplay at this stage was your normal mech affair. Slowly lumbering around shooting a mixture of robotic enemies, both aerial and ground-based. What’s instantly noticeable is how comfortable Kaidro: The Awakening is to play. Controls are first-person shooter (FPS) in nature, with standard forward, backward and strafing movements available. Gadget-Bot has ensured that a movement system prone to nauseating players in VR is fairly rock solid, with a slow lumbering walk which feels heavy and concise with every step.
The enemy AI was somewhat hit and miss, with the smaller aerial drones tending to dart about occasionally appearing to take cover. The other ground based robots were a lot more predicable, using their increased armour to soak up damage they tended to go for a straight out attack, not using any real tactics just brute force.
The area took around five to ten minutes to play through, offering more of a technical demonstration of Kaidro: The Awakening’s core movement and gunplay system, rather than an actual challenge.
While still in its early stages Kaidro: The Awakening does have its promising ideas, it looks good and handles well. Definitely looking like a title that’s geared towards action rather than a cerebral challenge – it is a mech videogame after all – hopefully Gadget-Bot can provide enough of a dynamic challenge and variety to make Kaidro: The Awakening an impressive title.