A gallery shooter in the most literal sense, Shooting Showdown 2 from Naquatic is further proof that you can port pre-existing mobile titles into virtual reality (VR) and quite easily avoid disaster, despite not being specifically designed for the technology. It’s also a good demonstration for how well VR can work online thanks to speedy matchmaking and plenty of modes. But, at the same time, it’s fairly plain in nature and requires grinding to see its best content, putting it several steps behind its more exciting competition.
Shooting Showdown 2 is a straight faced shooter. There are two environments: a traditional shooting range and an outdoor area, each of which carriers their own specific set of modes. Controls are simple: aiming is assigned to Gear VR’s head-tracking while shooting is carried out by tapping the on -board touchpad. The on-screen reticule will expand with movement and gradually decrease when kept still, making patience an essential component of hitting far off targets. Reloading is done by looking down, which is a little disorientating but forces you take break away from a winning streak for a few seconds at least and then refocus.
Not including two bonus rounds there are 14 types of game mode on offer, which are gradually unlocked by advancing through a progression system. Every match you play will earn you a small amount of gold, which you can use to buy new guns and upgrade the ones you already have.
Easily the fastest way to earn currency is to get straight into what Shooting Showdown 2 is all about; competition. You can earn a small amount of gold from practising each game mode, but not anywhere near as much as you will from a victory against another player. Fortunately, finding a match was never an issue in VRFocus‘ experience, and was as simple as clicking the option and then waiting a few seconds to be partnered up and sent into a mode on one of the two maps. Once a game is over, you can easily opt for a rematch or head back to the menu.
The progression here is what’s meant to keep the user coming back for more, but it starts to slow down a little too quickly. Levelling up isn’t such an issue, as a handful of victories will get you to the next rank and every mode should be unlocked by level 16. Gold, however, doesn’t come in nearly as fast and the small amount of weapons on offer have big price gaps. You’ll be able to advance from a T2 pistol to a .36 combat pistol in no time, with the G33 also following. From here, however, the gold needed to unlock the final three weapons is substantial.
This wouldn’t be so much of a problem if more weapons were introduced to add more variety to the experience, but you’ll instead be forced to rely on the same guns for hours upon hours and then days upon days before hitting the target for the next one and then restarting all over. Shooting Showdown 2 can get repetitive within its first play session, so these targets really shouldn’t be set quite so high, especially seeing as the developer has removed the in-app purchases (IAP) available in the original version. That’s not to condemn their removal; this is obviously something that should be recognised and applauded, but these targets should have come further down.
It does at least do its best to mix things up with those game modes. The early options are more traditional; you’ll have some targets to hit and balloons to pop. Later things get a little more interesting; one mode sees you shoot an RC car around a course while another has you blasting enemy robots as they approach. There are some duds, however, including a mode set in front of a traffic light, the green light of which must be shot while holding fire otherwise. It’s also hard to escape the repetition of the core mechanic, as much as it may admirably try to do so.
Shooting Showdown 2 is a free download and certainly worth a shot, even if it’s ultimately a repetitive, drab experience. Solid controls, plenty of modes and impressive matchmaking help to stave off the mundanity for a while, but it likely won’t be long until you’re pining for the likes of Gunjack.