Type: Action, Simulation, Shooter, Arcade
Game Modes: Single/Multiplayer
Control: Controller supported
When I first got my Gear VR, it was February of 2015, it was with the galaxy s6 and it cost 300$ for the innovator edition #2 . And other than some really neat look demos, there were just two or three games that resembled a game with long term playability. At least to the point on par with the standard which we have played games on consoles or pc, up to that point. We had Dread Halls, Herobound: First steps and Spirit champion, Darknet, Anshar wars was more of a demo-ish game. The point I want to make is I remember waiting and checking the Oculus store with hungry ambition! Devouring all the experiences that I could get my hands on. Hoping more content would be released. I relied on Oculus video for short films to slowly trickle in. how lucky we are today to have so many fresh experiences coming in! And more and more get released every week! And its all thanks to the hard working indie developers who really have been working behind the scenes prepping the stage for the oncoming batch of games. And still this is just the beginning! I had to chance to enter into the world of Star fighter Arduxim. Created by a one man developer Andrew Cambell , under Fulby Technologies.
When I started up the game the first I noticed is, it didn’t have a huge upload time, and getting into the game took under 20 seconds, the main menu was vast with all the options spread out before me, which works so well in VR, cause you still have space to look around and still see the world you are getting into. I liked the folder style option layout, and configuring my controller was easy for me to understand, being a long time pc/console player. I was glad I could configure my controller the way it felt natural for me to play. Instead of having to have that learning curve to adapt to someone else’s idea of how the game should be played. I would recommend going into the practice area first to just fly around a bit to get used to what each function on your controller does, then fine tune it to your liking before starting the game. You can also look to your right and see you ship by looking out the window and manipulating it without going into any other modes. All the settings are saved, which is something I have seen some games not be able to do, which is extremely annoying. Why would I want to re-do all of my options over and over every time I play?
The controls are standard airplane fair with some added depth. You have your up and down, or pitch, for those aviation experts out there. Also left and right, or yaw. You can also control your rotation of the ship. Speed controls, and machine guns, or flak gun, depending on your style. And standard missiles or swarm missiles. And once you have all your controls dialed in, after a few minutes getting used to them. You feel like a spaceship flying ace. SA really does give you the feeling of sitting in the cockpit of a ship not just a static image of the cockpit and the screen moving around with your head movements. It does take some time to get comfortable with the controls, so there is some leg work on your part to be ready to play the game. It definitely is not an arcade style shooter and I would describe it as dabbling on the side of simulator with arcade shooting elements. Given that this game is based off of the Big Boy VR game Elite Dangerous, in which I’ve heard stories of it taking people hours to fine tune their flying skills. Star fighter Arduxim isn’t quite so punishing. It is however a little confusing to have two reticles, one for aiming, and the other one on the cock pit window. And I did have some difficulty lining up my ship to the next objective point thinking I was on point, because I was using the wrong reticle for reference. But after I figured out what I was doing wrong, I didn’t make that mistake again.
I was extremely impressed with the level of polish Starfighter Arduxim has. The graphics look clean and there isn’t a ton of smearing or clipping as you look around, which can cause a overload to your sensory system and has a huge impact on you getting sick after extended hours of play. I showed it off to a friend of mine who gets woozy after about 15 mins of VR gameplay. And He had no problem with the intensity. I myself, think I’m immune to the VR sickness as I rarely have felt it except once during a 4 hour binger playing Omega Agent. Comparing Starfighter Arduxim to End space, and the graphics look a little flat and plain and during tense moments you can have a frame rate drop and see the edge of the screen before it can render the next frame, but it’s only in frantic dog fights and only happened a few times during my experience with the game.
The Sounds in the game are nothing special, there is no in game music, so in that department the game is lacking. End space has an edge on that as well, with beeps and alarms going off all around you. If you’re looking for a space/simulator/arcade shooter with intense cinematic music during your gunfights on the Gear VR, and that alone is enough to break the gameplay experience. Then go ahead and pass this one cause you won’t find that here, the voice acting however, is solid and not too campy. I played through seven seas where voice acting was overkill to the point of annoyance. End space has the repetitive female robotic computer voice; at least here you’re having a human talk to you. So the voice work seemed just enough to know it’s there but not too repetitive to be annoying. The sound effects for guns and missiles are standard. And I couldn’t hear if it was possible to hear the engines turn on and off and you maneuver around.
As far as feeling immersed in the world around me, I feel, is this game’s strongest attribute. It’s not as quite fast paced as End Space, but on the other hand you have better control over your ship which draws you into the world slightly more. Nothing shows that off more than rotating your ship towards another ship or asteroid. You might even say out loud a “whoa!” as you spin yourself at an object cause you world feels as if it’s turning upside down. Expect receiving weird looks from people around you. But don’t worry about it, if they are anything like the people I play around. You will more than likely be inches away from someone’s gyrating crotch anyways. That is an unfortunate side effect of VR, not Starfighter Adruxim’s fault, but maybe you won’t care because you’re playing a cool space shooter game anyways.
The length of the game is great with missions that vary between been there, done that – fly into the asteroid field and scan certain points.. Oh no! Pirates! Shoot them! – type Missions. To run this- to this guy, he lives over there. Oh no! Pirates! Shoot them! As well as, let’s take down that big space station, more enemy ships! Shoot them! Reading over those last couple of lines makes the game sound repetitive but Space combat in Starfighter Adruxim is frantic and exciting, lining up your shots and keeping an eye on your target while piloting your ship through debris and asteroids is great fun. And it has multiplayer.
I wasn’t able to play multiplayer; but the prospect of going into a big battle with a friend would be so much fun. I’ve played quite a bit of Anshar Wars 2 multiplayer, and while multiplayer is a must have staple for pc and console games. I’m not sure it’s something that has really caught on in VR yet. Or there hasn’t been a game that has really found the correct formula to do it just right inVR so far. I would like to think that Arduxim has found the right combination of elements to make it “The Game” to play in Multiplayer, but time will tell. As far as Anshar Wars 2 multiplayer goes, I rarely find anyone to play with; and it’s an established game, with months behind it on the market. If a game like AW2; who’s controls are as easy to pick up, and intuitive as can be possible on the GVR; struggles with users taking advantage of the feature. How would a game with a more complex control scheme do? Will Players use it? Will they take on missions together? Will they be enticed to shoot each other down, in the cold outreaches of space, where frozen bodies and wreckage will mark their fate, and float there everlasting? You, the players will decide.
I was able to catch up with creator Andrew Campbell via messenger, and he gave some fun insights into the game.
Nate: Thanks for Spending your time answering some questions. So you made this game all by yourself?
Andrew : Yeah I’m the only developer, I’ve either made the art assets myself or bought them from the Unity Asset Store – that’s an awesome resource for small indie devs even if games can end up looking a bit samey. I’ve been working on the game in my spare time since February as there weren’t any in-cockpit shooters on the Gear VR and I really wanted to play one, plus I saw others wanted the same thing so there was an untapped market. End Space got there first by a long margin but the demo of SA was well received so I think there’s still interest in this style of game, even if a lot of gamers have moved to the Rift and Vive.
Nate: I’m always impressed with one man army developers; it takes an incredible amount of time and resources, and patience to pull off any game, let alone one in the untested waters of VR. What got you excited in making a VR game in the first place?
Andrew: I’m a long time gamer and in real life I’m a software developer (though in nothing as interesting as games). I’d dabbled with Unity and JMonkey in the past but not to the point of making anything playable. I think it was the combination of a new medium and the lack of the game I wanted to play and I could see many others wanted that made me excited – I got a basic prototype working and started iterating from there. You can see a video of the prototype here: https://youtu.be/iTA2OLW0utc. I think VR is amazing, in the future it will be viewed not in terms of ‘the next game console’ or ‘the next high def’, but equivalent to television or radio. Being so new, it was a chance to make something that could be successful without needing a big marketing budget or luck. Compare that to say Steam where unless your game goes viral it’s likely to disappear in the flood of other indie titles.
Nate: Very true, now is the time to jump on. If it wasn’t for the indie developers there wouldn’t be anything new or interesting to play on the Gear VR. I was playing the demo, and I want to give you a huge kudos for such deep customizable controls. My s7 has problems with sound for some reason so I couldn’t get a good listen. Is there any music or sound track in the full version game?
Andrew: I’m both proud and annoyed with the configurable controls – it’s great to have the flexibility but I feel there should be a more elegant solution as the configuration may be daunting to some people, particularly all the slider options. It’s partly a problem with the Android gamepad ecosystem – there are so many variations that it’s not possible to have one correct control mapping. That’s true on PC too with HOTAS, etc. But on Android a lot of the gamepads basically don’t work properly, there are a lot of trashy ones available and the good ones are a bit too pricey for a lot of people. I didn’t have the resources to have situational music with correct switching between peaceful and combat tracks, which I view as necessary for in-game music in this type of game.
Nate: how much will this game cost us at launch? And how did you determine that price?
Andrew: I’m still discussing pricing with Oculus but I’m aiming for similar to End Space. End Space has better graphics but SA has more missions and multiplayer, and in my opinion, a more exciting flight/combat model. I’ve also done a Rift version with improved graphics but it’s still going through the Oculus submissions process – ideally it would be a simultaneous release so MP has the most chance of taking off but I’m not sure if that’s going to happen.
Nate: Thank you for your time Andrew, I know it’s late where you are. Can you tell us when the game will be released?
Andrew: I’ve agreed to a release date with Oculus of 28th of September. Look for the game coming soon in the Oculus Store.
What I would like to see as far as improvements to this type genre is, when you look down you cannot see your character and not just a static model, but an animated one. In Omega Agent you can see your control sticks moving around, but no hands. what would be very cool and immersive is to see your avatar touching the buttons you are selecting controlling the ship and maybe even seeing a little bit of reflection off the windows.
If you liked this review and would like to see a video review, check out this video I made on my Youtube Channel.
- Controls Customization
- Voice Acting
- No Music