Preview: Steel Alive – Sci-Fi Horror FPS Heads to Gear VR
Sylphe Labs’ Steel Alive brings survival horror to Samsung’s Gear VR, and it’s looking good.
The Samsung Gear VR has arguably had its day. While it remains one of the biggest selling virtual reality (VR) platforms currently available it has been outdone by both high-end head-mounted displays (HMDs) and the aggressive price point of Google’s Daydream View. That said, there are still content creators looking to innovate on the platform, and Sylphe Labs is one such videogame developer.
Though still early in development, Steel Alive is an impressive visual feast. Built on the Unity engine, it’s an arresting vision of a decaying industrial dungeon. May not sound too original, but in VR such an environment feels much more oppressive than on a traditional 2D monitor. And on the relatively low-powered Samsung Gear VR, a cleverly lit fully 3D environment is still impressive.
Played in first-person with the help of the Samsung Gear VR Controller released earlier this year, Steel Alive is a logic puzzle videogame with elements of combat. The opening section which VRFocus got hands-on with tasks the player with exploring the environment to find items which can unlock new areas, picking up components along the way to build their first weapon. Switch puzzles, hidden objects and keycards are the common survival horror conventions that Steel Alive relies on, but the most gruesome creature you’ll come across at this early stage in the videogame is actually your friend.
A spider-legged mutant monstrosity will offer hints as to where you should be exploring to progress, but for those not willing to spend hours searching every inch of a small confined space Steel Alive does also offer a signposting system that will point the player from puzzle-to-puzzle. It’s a system that could be seen as overly aggressive handholding on console formats, but here in VR is a welcoming identifier.
Sadly, Sylphe Labs’ ambition currently outstretches the studio’s available funding, and so despite this early demo appearing in good form the future of Steel Alive remains uncertain at present. The team is working to gain more finance, as discussed in a recent interview with Sylphe Labs, and VRFocus will keep you updated with the studio’s progress.