Indie virtual reality (VR) developers have come up with all sorts of innovative videogames that not only tests the hardware to its limits but also a players own endurance and skill. The latter is certainly true of Headroom.one’s new early access release for Oculus Rift, The Tower. Essentially an obstacle course set on a conveyor belt, The Tower will get you moving all over the place so make sure you’ve cleared that room first.
The videogame begins by emerging from a cave, opening out in front of you is a massive series of buildings that stretch into the sky. After a brief introduction to the main controls – there aren’t many, just re-centering you in the room and speeding up the conveyor – it’s time to ascend to the top.
The Tower is littered with obstacles (as you might expect), starting off simply with a few low hanging trees, then progressing onto arrows flying about, buzz saws trying to slice you up, massive swinging hammers, spikes coming out the walls and a whole lot more. As mentioned the title will make you move, from a little side step, to ducking, dodging and jumping your way as far as possible. A bit of flexibility goes along way as well – this is not the videogame for you if you’ve got bad knees.
It’s not just about carefully standing on the belt either. Jumping sections will have you grabbing onto poles to climb so you’ll almost get a full body workout from an experience asks so little and so much in equal portions.
Just as it tests your body it’ll also test your patience. Don’t see a low hanging branch or step off the conveyor and that’s it your dead. There’s no restarting from where you died, just at certain checkpoints – don’t make it to the first and its all the way back to the start for you. So this is where you need to be quick and agile to make it through to the end, and patient. Start to get frustrated and you’ll speed the conveyor up, which can lead to more problems (restarts) than it solves.
And that’s pretty much it. There are no weird and wonderful extra modes, a tacked on multiplayer – although some sort of co-op where you help or hinder each other would be interesting – or any other fluff. For an early access title The Tower feels fairly solid, sure it’s hard and unforgiving at points but sometimes that’s all you need, no hand holding, just a challenge that’s a bit different from all the wave shooters that don’t offer anything new.