I never knew I needed a VR strategy game until I played no More Heroes VR. Sony’s decidedly quirky series of handheld strategy games has made its jump to VR, eschewing the pixellated 8-bit aesthetic for something a little more modern. It brings the cult hit evil gameplay into a new dimension, with a focus on being the bad the guy and stopping heroes from…well, being heroic.
Once you strap the VR headset on, you’re summoned into Badman’s realm as the God of Destruction, and it’s your job to command armies of nasty critters to destroy stuff. It’s presented wonderfully, with you have a commander’s view of a tabletop, from where you’re able to embark on missions. As the general, it’s your goal to expand your base, gain control of the map and eventually destroy the enemy castle – all within a time limit.
To do that, you’ll use the resources you have available to build creature nests, which spawn monsters. It gets interesting in that there’s a food chain, and smaller monsters you spawn become food for the larger ones, who in turn become food for even bigger and meaner ones. On top of that, you’re able to suck monsters up and fuse them, creating even stronger ones. The little blobby slimes you’ve just spawned will get eaten by the icky caterpillar things, who in turn get eaten by lizard men – and so the cycle continues. While all this is happening, heroes from the castle and its surrounding villages will try to attack you, and it’s your job to repel them, while hopefully amassing a big enough army to attack the castle and bring it tumbling down.
Oddly, you have no direct control of the menagerie of otherworldly fiends, instead using your god-like powers to send them all to specific targets. Other abilities let you deal damage at heroes directly, but it’s less about commanding individual units than it is about controlling a horde. The resource management isn’t quite as finicky as you’ll find in less casual real-time strategy games, but there is a problem with how resources are displayed. The interface never really shows you how much food there is in your chain.
You never know how many more slimes you need to produce to keep the next critter in the food chain fed, or how many of those higher up the pyramid you need to keep the ecosystem going. Instead of a finely tuned food chain, it almost devolves into a game of trying to just create as many units as you can before storming the castle in the hope that victory ensues. Most of the time, that’s precisely what happens, with the difficulty only ramping up much further into the game.
Everything’s controlled with the DualShock 4 using a combination of button presses and gyro aiming. While support for the PlayStation Move wands would be a nice addition, the DualShock more than serves its purpose. It’s simplistic, casual RTS fare, emboldened by some incredible production values and polish. It must be said that beyond a couple of gags, VR doesn’t really add very much to the game, and everything would be just fine without the headset. Yes, there’s an added sense of immersion, and it’s a little unnerving when Badman’s daughter Badmella is standing right next to you poking fun at you for looking silly with a headset strapped to your face – but it’s largely unnecessary. That sort of self-referential meta-humour continues throughout, and the game is filled with industry gags, jokes about games and even a jab or two at lootboxes.
It’s a little expensive for what you get (R469 on PSN) with a simple, repetitive campaign that does little to bring you back after its 6 hours are up, but the polish and irreverent, witty writing make it more likeable than it should be. It does, however, highlight the potential for more in-depth strategy games in VR.
Last Updated: November 6, 2017