Review: Naked Sun
For an on-rails shooter it’s not bad, not bad at all.
Thankfully the deluge of wave-based virtual reality (VR) shooters has begun to quieten down in recent months with developers realising that not only do players want more involvement, VR technology has the ability to offer greater gameplay options. This goes the same for on-rails first-person shooters (FPS) which do at least offer a modicum of change and variation. That being said, every so often a title appears that’ll peak VRFocus’ interest in these genres again with the most recent being Naked Sun for Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.
A purely single-player experience, Door Z Studio’s Naked Sun offers that arcade shooter feel all wrapped up in a glossy futuristic design. Simplicity is the key to Naked Sun’s design, and right from the start it’s easy to tell the studio has gone for fast-action gameplay that’s intuitive to pick up and play.
There’s a loose storyline involving humanity being at the brink of extinction due to robots and AI taking over the world and setting a clear eye on wiping humanity out, but then isn’t that always the case. So you play a robot programmed to infiltrate the enemy AI city and help the humans win, which mainly involves staying on a pod-like shuttle craft as it enters the city and gunning down anything that comes close.
As mentioned Naked Sun takes a somewhat simple approach to its main gameplay element, shooting. Rather than having a massive range of selectable weaponry at your disposal all you have are a pair of pistols. These can be switched between single fire – slower and more powerful – or rapid fire – weaker bullets – depending on the situation. Then there are two special abilities, a shield on the left controller, and a rocket launcher on the right, both of which need to recharge each time – which is fairly quick. That’s your lot. So while it can feel a little sparse, the loadout perfectly suits the gameplay so you’re never left wanting.
While the on-rails design gives Naked Sun an easy going feel (it can be played seated), it does have that addictive nature found in titles like Space Pirate Trainer or Robo Recall. One of the videogame’s downsides however is its 180-degree field of action. While this was fine in Space Pirate Trainer two years ago, it does age the title making it seem out of date. Door Z Studio have tried to mix things up somewhat by adding destructible scenery along the route to offer different tactical elements but this feels way too staged and by the numbers.
After you’ve completed the single-player campaign Naked Sun’s replay value comes from the Arcade mode. Here you can replay the campaign levels with one major difference, a score board. Now you can compete in online leaderboards for the best highscore by killing robots as quickly as possible. Additionally, the studio has done away with the rocket launcher for this mode and armed you with a powerful laser which can cut through groups of enemies with ease.
For an on-rails shooter in 2018 Naked Sun isn’t going to set the VR industry alight with an original idea or gameplay. It’s another title that perfectly suits the ideas of what VR could achieve a couple of years ago without going any further. On the other hand it’s extremely comfortable to play, has great gun control mechanics and will draw you in enough to probably complete it in one sitting. A decent yet average VR experience.