Bad games stay bad in virtual reality
We’re in the final phase before 2016’s long political nightmare comes to an end. In between re-viewings of Idiocracy and healthy swigs of lemon-ginger detox tea, I’m doing whatever I can to distract myself from the absolute madness going on in our country. Virtual reality, despite its early-era flaws, is the first perfect example of interactive media for anyone looking to really tune out of the surrounding world. So I’ve been playing my Vive quite a lot recently. If you’ve got quality content to dive into (some of which I’ve reviewed previously), VR gaming is wonderful. But it’s is also a breeding ground for one-off, uninspiring demos and experiences.
Two recent Vive releases re-activated a common debate I’ve been having with myself—over whether these narrow, experimental VR games are good or bad for what is still a very niche wing of gaming. Read on for my short review of Destroyer, and you can check out my review of Head It! VR Soccer Heading Game by visiting this link.
Destroyer is $9.99. Look at the screenshot below this paragraph and tell me if you think this looks like a ten-dollar game. VR or not, there’s simply no excuse for something as unpolished and ugly as Destroyer to be released at this asking price. The floor looks like melted chocolate, photographed at low resolution then stretched beyond all recognition and applied to the environment.
Holding the Vive controllers at eye-level and clicking the triggers produces two giant spike-balls. It’s the player’s job to fling these balls into progressively more complicated tower-like structures, destroying as much of the landscape as possible before your spike-ball stash runs out. Ninety percent is the magic number; once you’ve taken out all but the last ten percent of the tower, the board clears and an even bigger one takes its place.
Where to begin? First of all, the spike balls behave completely unrealistically once you launch them in the air. They have no weight, fly off in straight lines, and bounce off the tower like cheap paper airplanes. It takes at least four or five of them, shot into the exact same weak points, to cause any damage to your structure. It’s neither fun nor realistic to do the one thing the game asks you to do.
When I wasn’t frowning at the terrible destruction mechanics, I was angrily cursing my inability to hit the ninety percent threshold. See, Destroyer’s biggest problem is that there’s no way to know if you’re aiming at a part of the tower that’s yet to take a hit. Pieces of the environment collapse all around the still-standing portion of the structure, and unless you’re willing to use up five or ten of your balls to try and force those chunks off-screen, you’ll never make it to ninety percent.
I really appreciate that virtual reality has enamored a whole new crop of developers that are excited to get their content in front of early-adopters, but Destroyer is one of the worst offenders of the “demo-land” pejorative that seems to describe much of the Vive’s first wave of content.
Final Verdict: 1/5
Available on: PC (reviewed) ; Publisher: Degica ; Developer: CFlat ; Players: 1 ; Released: October 19, 2016 ; MSRP: $9.99
Full disclosure: This review is based on a review copy of Destroyer given to HeyPoorPlayer by the game’s publisher.