Studio : Climax Studios
Type: Action, Shooter, Arcade
Game Modes: Single
Control: Controller Only
GunSight was created by Climax studios, who are the studio that also brought us Bandit Six and Bandit Six: Salvo. With three titles under their belt, I believe they are the most producing developer on the VR playing field. Their first two titles were gaze shooters; GunSight pays homage to the side scrolling shooters of the 80’s and 90’s.
The game loads up pretty quickly, and your first glimpse of the world shows piles of robots and Jack, our hero; taking a break. The world is cartoony but clean and impressive. This is clearly a studio with more assets available to them, a little flying robot floats around you, and you have the main menu in front of you. At first most options are not available, but there are four modes to choose from that are unlock-able as you play through the first mode, Campaign. Others include, Extraction Point, Survival, and Hardcore mode.
Jack ‘Knife’ Devers, last of the infamous Dogs of War; wages what seems like a one-man crusade to save the solar system from evil robot hordes and evil warlords. He wages this battle in an Exoskeleton Mech, under the direction of President McCabe. One year ago a group of nasty warlords who call themselves the four (why not… that’s as good a name as any I guess.) escaped prison with the help of a mysterious figure known only as Mastermind. Together they took over four planet colonies that held earth’s resources needed to keep the dying planet alive. President McCabe chose to fight back with his own robot army, but he fails miserably and needs the last strongest human alive, Jack Knife Devers. Imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit. (wait… isn’t that Rambo? Or was it A-team?) President McCabe reinstates Jack as lieutenant colonel and using his famous combat mech armor, tracks down, and fights the four warlords mano-e-mano.
The graphics are definitely some of the best seen on the GVR, and they have implemented some pretty neat workarounds. First off, I noticed the explosions are 2D sprites, which I’m sure saves your phone from catastrophic meltdown of the Note7 variety; when the game ramps up the difficulty and starts throwing more and more enemies your way. That might seem like a little detail, but its tricks like this that indie developers need to take note, and see if this is something that be used in other ways effectively.
The backgrounds are Beautiful, and set a really interesting back drop, and the novelty of having enemies spawn from all around you is a magical experience keeping your head on a swivel trying to keep up with the cacophony of destruction happening around you. The Enemies are variable enough to keep things interesting, with air support troops that come in yellow, blue, red, dark grey for your shooting pleasure. Ground troops which are tougher and often require a special weapons to take out quickly and efficiently, are modeled like tanks with treads, that have different weapons from lasers to missiles and if you’re not careful; can sneak up from any side. Often out of view causing you to die without knowing what hit you. The notable huge bosses are always a mix of dread and a joy to battle, although often enough require the same strategy to tackle. Which does take some of the joy; but Gun Sight makes up for it with the frantic amount of enemies that begin to spawn, making every wave a dance between each of your secondary weapons.
The level design is a mix of standard side scrolling running left and right, to running into the fray reminiscent of Contras corridor segments, but way better, what I found very fun was the hidden paths throughout the levels, often triggered by explosive barrels tied to towers and piles of rubble. Finding these was satisfying while fighting through the levels which added a definite replay-ability to each level, trying to discover them all. Climax Studios does mix it up however; in later levels with a ride on the roof of a train, and hopping from floating platforms blowing up giant metal balloons, where there isn’t much room to dodge, and shooting enemies in the correct order becomes a complete necessity. On the planet Phobos, your mech will freeze, killing you if you don’t make it to the hotspots in time, shown in the picture below
This is the category where GunSight really shines in my opinion. Controlling Jack, with your game pad, and using the head set to aim his weapons at bad guys is a brilliant idea, Mixing what Climax Studios is great at, and adding the complexity of dodging enemies bullets while aiming is intuitive and natural. what really stood out to me was how important the use of the secondary weapons are handled in each of the encounters; make this a frantic experience. Your suit comes with a huge machine gun; which is what you will be blasting most of the baddies with, but you should really get used to using your secondary weapons with deadly efficiency to make it past some of the more difficult parts of the levels. If you want to see the game in action, check out my YouTube channel. Its game-play of the campaign only, of the first few levels. But you can see what I mean about movement and the aiming.
Note from the Editor : Sound is currently not synced with the image, we are working on the issue.
Your first secondary weapon is a missile pack that can target up to 3 targets at once. The second is the metal devourer portal; it sucks up incoming energy blasts and stores them which can be used to discharge a huge blast taking out many enemies in the area. Then there is the, well… I called it super missile, which is used to take out the more heavier armored enemies. I found I switched back and forth from the metal devourer, and the three pack missile weapons the most frequently. These two can really save your bacon.
Thankfully they do not require a blanket charge time; but recharge their ability’s independently which is useful for switching back and forth. An example where this is useful is fighting the third boss, Snake… Or whatever you want to call it. It drops down and lets out flying bad guys out of its head, and a huge heavy appears, I target the heavy with the missile, switch to metal devourer, eat up the blasts from the enemies flying around discharge it hopefully destroying a few, switch back to missiles, target the tanks that appear, shoot them while taking out the overhead enemies with my machine gun. Then target the weak spots from the boss with more missiles. When you pull it off flawlessly, you feel like you’re playing an instrument of robot destruction.
You can also press a button that helps you scoot out of the way of danger but I rarely used it on the early levels, but later it will be a necessity if you can stay on top of the enemies that spawn, there also the all-important jump button, for the platforming sections.
I mentioned above that GunSight was inspired by late 80’s-90’s 2D side scrolling shooters; some of my favorites are Contra, Ikari warriors, Russian Attack, Karnov, Rygar , Ninja Gaiden, let’s not forget the hilarious Metal Slug. One common theme with side scrolling shooters was the difficulty level, which was just short of punishment. Only the most tenacious of players pressed forward to be able to finish the games. One of the most famous of these difficult games was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Which has been labeled as unbeatable.
The difficulty of the campaign in Gun Sight Isn’t TMNT hard, but it does offer a hardcore mode that unlocks after you have beaten the game. Gun Sight lets you have one life per level if you die, you start over that level; and on average the levels are about 5-8 minutes long apiece. After you beat the level however, it’s yours to return to forever more in the level select screen, and Survival, Extraction modes.
Extraction mode is extremely fun for the strategist, who enjoys speeding through levels finding the quickest route. What’s cool with this mode is that you have one minute to get to the end of the level; you have to find the quickest route, and kill the most enemies. This is so much fun, the levels are unique and not just rehashes of the campaign levels. Don’t expect to make it through on your first life in these levels; I’ve made it through the first few levels and it took quite a bit of effort. You will use the boost, a lot!
Survival mode is what you expect, 5 waves of enemies; all you have to do is Survive. It feels tacked on as there is no real variety; and to win the levels it usually goes like this
*Survival Tactics Spoilers Ahead*
The first wave is simple, and takes little to no effort, mostly yellow flying types, and I would recommend just using the Iron devourer portal. The second level is yellow flying type with a few black and red flyers, but introduces tanks. They are simple with a barrage of homing missiles, and then finish off the rest with iron devourer portal. The third level introduces turrets, then tanks and you guessed a few more yellow and black and red type flyers; two barrages with the homing missiles to take out turrets and tanks, meanwhile blasting what flyers you can with your trusty machine gun, then follow up with Iron devourer portal. Pretty much the same with the fourth level, just more of the types spawn at the same time. And then take out the big tank with the Super Missile, and then iron devourer portal the rest. There… Now you can beat all the levels. They don’t deviate too much from that formula. It feels like a quick add-on, pretty disappointing really.
Music and sound effects
If the game has one huge black eye it’s this… Whoever chose the music for the background needs a talking to. I understand the choice to have raging metal guitars in the back ground but not when it’s so distracting and mutes the audio of our hero; Jacks one liners, or explosions. The voice acting is okay, but when you can’t make out what they are saying due to the music it makes it terrible! Just Terrible! Turn off the music whatever you do… You will thank me. Why?! Did they not play test this thing with the music? If they had, there’s no way the play testers would have made it home that night. That alone hurt the replay-ability of this game worse than I can express into words. Replaying a level after dying was an act of pure tenacity; which is really too bad, cause there are some great elements to this game. Even thinking about it makes me shake my head to get the memory of the horrible music out of my head. Okay… So I’m being a little dramatic. I’m sure the music by itself is fine, used in the right setting… For this, it wasn’t. At all, save yourself, turn it off in the options. With the music turned off you can enjoy the sound effects and Jacks funny one liners.
Bringing back the nostalgia of the games that I have such a deep love for, makes me wonder… where the heck is Capcom? Where is Namco? Atari? Sega? Nintendo? Why wouldn’t they be developing for this incredible hardware? We have been relying on the hard work of early adopters, and indie developers. Which isn’t a bad thing, if it wasn’t for them; we would have nothing to play! But… Where are the big boys? Could you imagine playing street fighter? Not on a small TV in a living room setting, like Xbox is doing with windows game cross platforming to VR. I’m talking about the game levels surrounding you! Even if the characters were 2D sprites similar to paper Mario. Get SideloadVR and down load the Doom app they have; It’s set up just like that and its freaking great!
Contra Anyone!? I could name off ten games off the top of my head Right now that people would devour in a heartbeat to play in VR. Okay, you talked me into it.
Legend of Zelda, Final Fight, Bad Dudes, Ninja Gaiden arcade and NES, Double Dragon, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Arcade, Xmen Arcade, Simpsons arcade, Strider, Gunstar heros, Castlevainia, Metroid, Mega Man, Punch Out, Street fighter, Mortal Kombat, Primal Rage, Tekken, Samurai Showdown, king of Fighters, Killer Instinct, Space Harrier, After Burner, Hard Drivin’, Steel Talons, Pit Fighter, Tiger Heli, Ghost and Goblins! Okay, I got carried away, but it wasn’t hard. I could go on and on! Do you see how diverse the playing field is, already? VR could breathe new life into all these genres.
Look, I really like Oculus arcade, and it does bring back some nostalgia being in the environment playing the games and hearing the buttons clicking away while you are hunched over the arcade cabinet. But do you know what was much more fun? Hypercade… where you were in the game! All the game play was there, in fact I could slam the game for being almost a complete copycat of the original source code for the gameplay; but I won’t because it was fun! Where are these games for us to play right now!
I probably wouldn’t be so hard on Oculus Arcade if the games were updated more often. We want more! We are hungry! GunSight is okay in distracting me in this regard for a little while, but it would be much more fun with a recognizable character! I understand the need for new intellectual properties, new stories, and new heroes, there’s room for all of it! Gun Sight Made me realize we can take games that mimicked being in a VR setting, and can realize their potential. Our imaginations have already been playing in a VR space for decades. Technology just caught up. Let us experience those games the way they were meant to be played.
Gun Sight is a better than average VR game, with four game play modes and variety and difficulty, this could keep you interested for a while; and well worth the asking price of five bucks in the Oculus store. I only wish the back ground noise… uh.. Music was handled better. Without it makes the game tons more enjoyable. It’s entirely possible to finish the whole campaign in less than 4 hours if you punched through it in one night, but the difficulty will hold you back. Leave a comment in the comment section on what games you would like to see reviewed next and what games you think would benefit from the VR treatment.
- Great game-play elements
- Polished graphics
- A true value for 5.99
- Background music
- Story is weak
- Survival mode needs more variety