Review: Ancient Amuletor
Fun and intuitive wave shooter that lacks depth and replay value.
PlayStation VR users have been pretty lucky with the amount of content they have been getting recently. With big-name titles such as Star Trek: Bridge Crew and Farpoint getting a lot of attention, and some big titles announced for PlayStation VR at E3. But how is the small indie side faring?
Ancient Amuletor is a colourful wave shooter that also incorporates tower defence elements. The premise is fairly simple; the player takes control of a hero and shoots down waves of enemies that are trying to destroy crystals. There are four heroes to choose from, Gunner, Archer, Mage and Puppeteer.
The title is controlled using a pair of PlayStation Move controllers. This makes most of the actions nicely intuitive and immersive. Movement is handled by a simple teleport system that allows you to bounce to various fixed locations around the map. Being in the right place at the right time becomes part of the strategy. As does laying down traps once those become unlocked, as those can slow down enemies enough to allow the player to easily pick them off.
There are only four levels presently available, along with sub-levels. Later levels include some pretty impressive boss fights against giant-sized enemies such as a stone sphinx and a giant horse. Those fights provide enough of a visual spectacle and gameplay challenge to make it worth it.
The Gunner is wonderfully intuitive, shooting using the trigger on the Move controller and reloading with a simple flicking action of the wrist as though the guns were shotguns. The Archer is likewise simple to use, with the action of pulling back the bow string evoking a certain satisfaction, though getting the hang of the parabolic arcs took a bit of effort. The Mage is probably the trickiest hero to use, as it is necessary to ‘pick up’ a spell from the spellbook before you can fling it with your wand. It slows things down and doesn’t feel as intuitive as the Gunner or Archer. The Puppeteer hero is an unlock, and is probably the most interesting character, though tricky to get the hang of. The Puppeteer launches its steampunk robot into the map, and the robot is then controlled with the PlayStation Move controllers as though the robot was literally a marionette. The robot has some interesting attacks, and returns to the Puppeteer when teleporting to a new position, though there was some input lag with this character that was not noticeable elsewhere.
The levels look beautiful, the use of Unreal Engine 4 clear in the graphical fidelity and colours. The title uses the ancient world as inspiration for the levels, which creates a nice ambiance, though the comic-book-like ‘kill’ and ‘slow’ pop-ups are jarringly out-of-place at times. Its also a shame that there is no plot or storyline to speak of, no voice acting or comments from the hero characters. It would be nice to know why we are defending these crystals, who the heroes are and why they are there.
Ancient Amuletor is a fun way to kill a few hours, with some simple, intuitive combat and enough interesting innovations to keep it fresh. Along with the lovely graphics making it nice to look at. Sadly though, the title lacks depth and longevity with only four levels and no particular incentive to reply. The developers have mentioned that some DLC is in the works, though, which could redeem this title above a simple, casual time-killer.