It's Hiiiiiigh noon. There. My obligatory McCree reference is out of the way, now let's talk VR platform defenders. It seems like that's a vastly overrepresented genre in the budding VR industry, which I get. It's something that doesn't require a ton of movement, so it runs the least risk of getting toppled like an AT-AT, but still utilizes the capabilities of the technology. And hey, this one is Western-flavored, so that's a bit different from the mass of science fiction themed games where you're shooting waves of robots. I can't play High Noon VR by OctoBox Interactive for too long at a time, I get way to frustrated at the difficulty and the slow grind progression of the weapons. It's a bit repetitive as far as games go, but if you look at it like one of those old campy arcade shooters like Mad Dog McCree or something like that, you'll get your money's worth.
High Noon VR is available on Steam for $9.99
Look, if you go into an arcade game expecting a good story you'll have a bad time. Here's what we've got: You're the new sheriff in town and it's your job to clean the streets of all these outlaws. It's a tad basic, but it's effective. There's all the motivation you need right there.
Though this game doesn't have much by the way of the story, it does have tons and tons of personality. Mainly because of your deputy's running commentary. It sounds like they just took one of the studio interns and said "you're a deputy in the old west encouraging your sheriff" and just let him riff. My personal favorite was "You know…if your bullets…were baked beans instead of gunpowder…shootin' yourself in the mouth…would be a whole lot healthier!" It sounded like he started the statement then just kept digging himself deeper into the hole and it was hysterical to listen to. At least, it was the first twenty times. He's the only one with lines in this game and he has very few, so they do repeat a lot and yes, they do get a little annoying.
Ever play a VR platform shooter? It's that. It's almost exactly that. You stand in one place with a weapon in each hand and you need to wipe out the waves of enemies running at you. There are the basics, now let's get more into the nitty-gritty.
Wave after wave of men
The enemies spawn in waves from buildings, on rooftops, around corners, and it isn't much different in their tactics aside from "shoot the sheriff." A few throw dynamite and there is one big guy with a Gatling gun, but you can't really dodge and so you have to wipe them out as soon as they go into your field of view. Which is fine, but they usually come out guns-a-blazin'. You have plenty of health, but one of the challenges makes you try to complete a wave without taking a hit which I found next to impossible seeing as you can't really take cover. Some of them let off a shot as they spawn, which don't deal a ton of damage but unless you're actually McCree, there is absolutely no way you're hitting them as they leave cover.
As a side note, I do like the way your enemies stagger when they're hit, but I wish they would react a bit more dramatically. The stagger is fine, but on the roof stage, I really wanted to send someone flying off and was a little disappointed when my bullets just seemed like an inconvenience. I'm not counting it against the game, I just feel there was more action movie potential there that I feel was wasted.
You bet your life there's a good variety of guns! Not just pistols, but a Gatling gun, a shotgun, a harpoon gun, and some dynamite among others. They do play incredibly differently, I remember I let my friend try it out and he preferred the harpoon gun in his left hand and the shotgun in his right. I preferred a six-shooter in my right hand and the dynamite in my left. Each one can get upgraded and each step does give it a noticeable upgrade. My six shooter was doing almost nothing to enemies in one level until I upgraded it, then it was nearly one shotting everyone. It's not exactly Borderlands variety but each weapon does have its own distinct feel
I would like to buy some variety
The biggest drawback to this game is its pacing. Each level has four increasingly difficult waves and some environmental hazards you can exploit to make things a little easier. The hazards reset after each wave, but your health, on the other hand, does not. This I am cool with. What I am not is the grinding. On the plus side, you keep all the money you earn in each level regardless of how far you get, which is good. But upgrades and new guns are expensive and so you will have to die a lot, which means lots of the same levels and lots of the same levels over and over again. Same voice lines from your deputy, same environment, same everything. This is the main reason the game tests my patience. I can only have my enemies dancing on my grave and hear my deputy's pseudo-taunting me over my death so many times before I need to go slaughter some orcs in Titan Slayer.
Graphics and audio
This game looks and sounds almost like a high-tech shooting gallery. Like something you would play at a county fair in the future. The enemies you fight are nearly featureless, so it feels like it's just target practice but the targets have guns. The sounds and explosions all help to add a bit of a cathartic feel to the game, and I especially love how the game goes into slow motion whenever you cause an explosion. This still isn't a game I'd put on to relax, they do just stagger a bit when hit and then collapse when they die (unless you used dynamite then their ragdoll goes flying) but it still was enjoyable.
It's seriously like an arcade shooter set in a spaghetti western, if you enjoy the vibe of melodramatic westerns, this could be up your alley. It isn't great, but it's all stylized enough to where I can give the developers an A for effort at the very least.
There are many things that can be said about High Noon VR. I wouldn't say it's for everyone. You need to be forgiving of some hefty repetition and some rather frustrating challenges. I will say that it is (mostly) redeemed by its good humor, fun weapons, and satisfying shooting. It's about as basic as a game gets, but it's worth the price of admission if you're looking for a fun arcade shooter. If you're getting a bit bored of what you have on your Vive, maybe consider High Noon. It may not be the most absorbing experience of your life, but if you want to feel like a spaghetti western sheriff indiscriminately assassinating your enemies, this is a good game to check out.
|+ Good humored game||– Monotonous gameplay|
|+ Fun weapons||– Limited gun options|
|+ Satisfying shooting||– Unfair challenges|