Oculus VR has got a sizeable launch line-up for the Oculus Rift, 30-odd titles have been created by a range of developers from across the world, from indie teams to large multinationals. There’s a lot of excitement surrounding today and the studios will be looking to see how well their virtual reality (VR) projects perform commercially. Coming from South Korea is Smashing the Battle, created by one man developer Han Dae Hoon under the name Studio HG.
Do you love pulverising robots big and small with outlandish weaponry? Female characters whose figures are instantly questionable in their proportions? Lots of upgrading options? Then Smashing the Battle is for you. The premise is simple: wade through loads of enemies racking up coins and points as you go in an all out brawl.
At the start you’ve got one character to choose, Sarah O’Connell, who wields a spanner as her main offensive weapon. Put in a engineering power suit you must fight your way through 30 levels of mayhem, using a variety of skills to destroy the robots that have gone on the rampage. There is a story behind it all, all in text form, which you can read through if you want, but its the action that really sets this videogame up as an enjoyable experience.
This is a button mashing title where you’ll be hitting the X button a lot. O’Connell has a variety of weapons at her disposal: mines, a magnet, that giant spanner and an overdrive function. All these are skills which are attributed to an SP meter which will deplete on their use and slowly recharge when your attacking with your standard weapon. Mines are dropped and have an area of effect, the magnet will draw in robots of a certain size while the overdrive function will increase the damage of your attacks at the expense of your defence. The giant spanner is your power attack, smashing enemies to bits in one swipe. Combine this with the magnet for some devastating destruction.
As you progress there will be crates to smash, giving you coins and scrap. Coins can be spent in the upgrade shop to improve your health, SP meter, spanner weapon damage, giant spanner and more, while the scrap can be used to purchase new power suits that have their own unique attributes. And this is all just for the first character; the second is Mary Lucy who’s unlocked further into the title. She wields a massive hammer along with other skills that give players the option to switch to the gameplay style they most prefer.
If the standard story mode is too easy for you then there’s always Hardcore mode challenge, which as the name suggests ramps up the difficulty. Robots cause more damage and you deal less. And that just adds further to the fun of Smashing the Battle.
It’s a videogame much like others in the genre: Dynasty Warriors and Devil May Cry instantly come to mind. So do the added immersive capabilities of VR benefit this style of action title? Well, yes and no. It features an overhead perspective to give you a good view of the arenas you fight in, but its nothing particularly special. Looking away from the action gives you a view of the building you’re trying to ascend, but it’s not relevant to what your mission is. Despite how it may sound it’s not uncomfortable to play; the camera is smooth so simulator sickness shouldn’t be an issue for most.
So while Smashing the Battle isn’t necessarily a showcase for VR, it highlights that not every videogame needs to be from a first-person viewpoint. It’s got loads going for it – great action, varied gameplay mechanics to stop it being mundane and a deep progression system – avoiding becoming boring too soon. If there’s an alternative to the big name launch titles you should consider, it’s Smashing the Battle.