Preview: The Last Day Defense VR
In the far future, all battles will be conducted in miniature tabletop format.
Tower defence videogames were born from real-time strategy, offering a quicker route into the action that the slow build-up needed for most RTS titles, which is what The Last Day Defence VR tries to offer Steam VR users.
The Last Day Defence VR sets up a conflict happening in the far future between two huge comic empires who are battling it out to secure the resources each needs to survive.
A the player, you are transported into a neon-lit area which contains your options menus, where you can choose your comfort options and other settings, and also contains the tables which hold the miniaturised battles which you will control.
Using the motion controllers, you choose and set certain types of units, including different types of fixed defences and troops, which have to defend your territory against waves of enemy forces. The controls are a little eccentric, and it can take a couple of tries before you can properly select the option you were after.
Graphically, the seemingly Tron-inspired loading area feels very incongruous with the style of the mini table top battlefield where the guns and other military units that you deploy have a realistic style. Information on units is often presented on a red on black background makes it hard to read
You have a range of movement options, which seems a little odd considering you only move about the loading room and navigate slightly around the table, most moving you will be doing is just to crane your head to see the battlefield.
For the most part, you set up your defences and start things off, and the game mostly plays itself, requiring only the occasional tweak. This would be fine if the battlefield didn’t very quickly get covered in smoke, making it very difficult to see what’s going on unless you lean in closely, which isn’t comfortable for long periods.
There are several different battlefield styles to choose from, one which is sort of desert canyon, while another is a pine forest. Other than the aesthetics though, there doesn’t seem to be much difference between them.
The difficulty curve feels quite steep, especially considering there are very few instructions. You’ll often have to play a match over and over to win, and at times whether you win or lose seems somewhat arbitrary.
The music soundtrack is brassy and martial-sounding, which fits with the visuals on the mini-battlefield, but fits oddly with the neon loading room. The militaristic sound effects take a realistic approach, though they are somewhat repetitive, at times overlapping over each other to create an almost painful cacophony.
Despite the elaborate sci-fi background, there is little in the way of story told during or between battles, which is very disappointing, and considering how much battles seem to run themselves, makes the entire endeavour feel a little pointless.
The Last Day Defense VR would probably work fine as a ‘pick-up-put-down’ mobile title. As a full-on PC virtual reality (VR) title, it feels very overblown for what it offers, and ends up being quite boring, with little to hold your interest after playing a couple of matches.
If The Last Day Defense VR is to make it as a fully-featured VR title, a lot needs to be improved and added before it makes it to its full release.