It can be a joy coming across an indie developer showcasing their very first virtual reality (VR) project. Stepping into the realm of VR is no easy task, so it’s especially interesting this far into the life of the industry to see what techniques new studios use, whether it’s something tried and tested or a little more experimental. Recently VRFocus came across Singularity5 a visually striking experience from French indie team Monochrome what was certainly worth investigating further.
Singularity5 can’t help but catch your eye, thanks to a colour palette of black, white and gold. The bold design is a glistening, sumptuous utopia with soaring buildings that evoke a beautifully surreal yet clinically clean landscape filled with flying robots of all shapes and sizes.
Monochrome’s design is truly unique and makes for a visual feast for the eyes, and this was only the demo VRFocus was treated to which included the first three levels. This exquisite design ethos isn’t just seen in the landscapes, the weapons look awesome, and even the intricate design on your hands is an artwork in itself.
However, like the beautiful rosy red apple in Snow White, this gloss doesn’t last forever. This is because Singularity5 is at its core a standard wave-based shooter with some very nice aesthetics. What’s on offer are three short levels – around 15 mins a piece – where you have a couple of guns and a selection of robots to destroy, with the aim of scoring as many points as possible.
The weapons themselves – a laser pistol and grenade launcher – work really well, accuracy was good, and their overall feel felt solid and robust. Everything that you want in a first-person shooter (FPS). VRFocus also spotted some mean looking sub-machine guns on the wall, hopefully, unlocked in the latter two levels.
There’s no movement whatsoever in Singularity5, so it’s a case of just standing there trying to shoot everything as quickly as possible. Each area uses a different system to move you through – the first is on an elevator while level two automatically teleports you forward to a fixed location. This restriction is highly felt in the gunplay, there’s no cover, and enemies just charge straight at you so it just becomes a barrage of gunfire and explosions obscuring your view.
VRFocus will always stand by the point that when a wave shooter is done right, then it still has a place in a player’s library. When not that experience is lost among all the others. At the moment Singularity5 feels more like a tech demo, lacking the gameplay flair of titles like Blaster of the Universe. The title itself does have potential, with a decent narrative and well-tuned gunplay, but the addition of two extra levels isn’t all that it needs. There needs to be more – being able to run around the futuristic Paris would be a superb start – so hopefully Monochrome won’t stop at December’s launch, and build upon this world.