VR was expected to be a showcase for first person storytelling. While most of the VR titles scheduled to be released fit that formula, Zen Studios is trying something different with its VR launches. CastleStorm is not a new game. It has is available on PC, consoles, and mobile devices. But, the way Zen Studios has managed to create an immersive VR game from CastleStorm could be the start of a new way of looking at what kind of experiences are possible on devices such as Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear.
CastleStorm’s premise is simple. Destroy your enemy’s castle before they destroy yours. The developers describe the game as an action-strategy-RPG hybrid. Gamers will recognize the different elements of real time strategy and tower defense games blended mashed together with a dash of Angry Birds. However, you choose to describe CastleStorm, as a VR title it is fun and addictive.
Unlike most VR titles, CastleStorm is mostly a 2D experience. But, that doesn’t mean you are not completely immersed in the game. Instead of focusing on depth, the developers have zeroed in on detail and gameplay.
The game is played with a control pad. Once you make it through the lengthy tutorial, you are able to start building your castle, your hordes of knights, and to attack your enemy’s castle. Unlike other versions of the game, the VR version puts you up and close to the construction and battle, allowing you to see all the details of your castle and heroes. Looking at different parts of the map is much easier with a VR headset. You only need to pan to the left or right to see whatever you need to find.
Using the control pad makes it easy to always find the options you need at any point in the game. Being closer to the action makes the game feel more intense. It also makes it easier to balance the different phases of the game in real time.
One of the best features of CastleStorm VR is the multiplayer. Smashing your friends and random strangers on the web in beautiful VR is much more satisfying than playing on a cell phone.
Future of VR?
CastleStorm VR is not revolutionary. It is a great port of a successful game to another platform. However, it is fun to play, and the VR version is the best of all the formats available. But, CastleStorm VR is a sign that VR is here to stay.
Once game companies discover how to successfully port the existing titles in their catalog to VR devices, it will have several major effects. It will mean more games available sooner for all VR devices. It will also increase the number of people who want to buy the expensive headsets. This will increase the market for VR games, which will eventually cause prices to fall. It also encourages more developers to create new and truly revolutionary games.
CastleStorm VR is a great game on its own, and worth your money. But, it may also be the start of a trend that will bring more gamers and developers into VR, which is great for everyone.