Ancient Amuletor was released last week, June 27th, for PSVR. The game uses a great combination of tower defence and hero shooter game mechanics, and makes good use of the PSVR and motion tracking to create an absorbing VR experience. The game is currently made up of four levels and four heroes, which as many people have pointed out is very short even by the standards of VR experiences. However, the developer did confirm, just before launch, that two more levels and at least one more hero will be release in a free DLC by the end of the month.
As well as being short in length, the game requires two move controllers to play. It does not support the DS4. While I understand the developers reasoning in this, as they have taken great pains in implementing the move controllers in fresh and innovative ways. When playing the archer, it’s necessary to actually use the move controllers to draw the bow and aim, and with the mage you have to cast the spell with one hand and fling at enemies with the other. For the most part this works extremely well, and does make the game feel more like a real life experience – along with quite a work out if you’re playing the archer. However, it does seem a bit of a shame that they haven’t also implemented the DS4, like the Farpoint team did, for those people that don’t have two move controllers to hand. PSVR is already a niche market, and when you further limit it to only those players with two functioning move controllers, I can see it hurting thier potential sales. Granted, the move controller implementation is the main draw of the game, but the same could be said of Farpoint, whose development still implemented the DS4 in addition.
The four levels currently accessible are well designed and the cartoony style graphics are of very high quality and are as clear and focused as can be seen on a PSVR system. The game uses teleportation rather than free movement which means that motion sickness is not an issue in this title which I’m sure will be a relief for many. The NPC enemies, which come in waves, take various forms from slow, shambling monsters to spell flinging wizards and two challenging bosses, one at the end of each zone. The enemy waves come from a nice combination of predictable and unpredictable directions, enough to keep you on your toes but not so much as to frustrate. The range and quantity of enemies do force you into tactical thinking and with a number of targets to protect, it’s necessary to hop vigorously around the map to keep up.
Without a doubt some characters work better than others. The gunner character is easiest to use and makes the lightest work of mobs. Her attacks are close to medium range but with two guns to fire simultaneously, she also has decent spread which helps mow down close knit packs. The archer character has the best range but with the need to physically redraw the bow every time and calculate the arrow’s arc to aim efficiently leads to a much lower fire rate, but this character is still my favourite, as being able to quick fire arrows makes me feel like a badass like Legolas or Green Arrow. The mage and puppet characters have engaging mechanics but are very hard to use and feel clumsy in comparison to the other two heroes. They both feel more like novelties than functional characters and you find yourself battling the control system as much as the enemies.
While limited in scope, this is an excellent little game. The tracking on the arrow shooting is a real joy to play and graphics are charming. If you want more playtime for your money then you might want to wait until later in the month to make your purchase as the game is currently complete able in just a couple of hours. However, there is also a multiplayer mode, to add a little replay value to the current levels.