From Fast Travel Games, Apex Construct is a sci-fi VR action game available on the Oculus Quest. With an interesting story about two powerful warring AIs who have taken over the world, the game manages to keep you invested from beginning to end. Your job is to figure out which AI has humanity’s best interests in mind. To find the truth, you must explore the ruins of CYGNIA corporation while using your archery skills to fight off hostile robots. One important thing to note before buying the game is that it has no relation to or affiliation with the popular Apex Legends battle royale game. With that said, it is a great game in its own right. From all of the games I’ve reviewed, Apex Construct has one of the most complete single player campaigns on the Oculus Quest.
Story – Defeat the Robots and Save Humanity
In Apex Construct, you play a human who has been awoken or “brought back from The Void” by a super-intelligent AI named Father. You learn that the world has been taken over by two powerful and warring AI: Father and Mother. They rule what is left of the world and the remaining humans are being kept in a holding place known as The Void.
The post-apocalyptic Earth is completely devoid of life, save for mechanical spider-like creatures that are controlled by Mother. Throughout the game, you learn that Father and Mother were AI created by CYGNIA corporation. However, throughout their development, researchers found out that Father was developing human emotions beyond his control. While Father brought you back from The Void to defeat mother and restore human life to the planet, Mother continuously tells you that you are being deceived.
The story is interesting and the build-up is great. However, the story has a large flaw. Many other Apex Construct reviews all point out the same issue and that issue is the ending to the story was incredibly abrupt. In fact, it is so abrupt that many people didn’t even realize that the game had ended. This topic was widely talked about on forums and it is hard to imagine why the developers didn’t add in a little cutscene to signify the end of the game and explain the resolution of the story a bit more. In the end, you feel like you don’t get any closure.
Gameplay – Become a sci-fi Robin Hood
Throughout my entire review of Apex Construct, the VR archery combat mechanics impressed me the most. In the game, you must level up your bow and discover new types of arrows to defeat the hostile robots that appear throughout the map. Your job is to explore the ruins of the CYGNIA Corporation buildings, find security cards to access new areas, and defeat all of the enemy robots that stand in your way.
The archery mechanics are accurate and reward skill and precision. At the same time, the enemies are relentless and some battles are incredibly difficult. In order to stand a chance, you must level up your equipment and use the terrain to your advantage, rather than rushing in head-first. Make no mistake, enemy robots can kill you in just three shots depending on your current HP level. A combination of blocking, dodging, and accurate shooting is necessary to beat the game.
In order to level up your weapons you spend the experience points you receive by defeating enemies. However, there is one unforgiving aspect of the game and that is you lose all your accumulated experience points if you die. While it is not game over, you will respawn in your safe area having lost all the points you worked so hard to gain.
Throughout the game, you constantly revisit old maps and unlock new areas within each map. While this was a clever mechanic, I often felt like I was replaying levels. It would’ve been better if you’d kept exploring new areas from beginning to the end of the game.
During combat, enemy robots can appear from various parts of the map. You can dodge their attacks, block them with your energy shield, and hit them with three different arrows. You begin with just a basic metal arrow and gain the ability to unlock electrifying arrows and explosive arrows later on in the game.
Throughout the game, there are different types of mines and grenades that are at your disposal. There are also soda cans that you can drink to regain your health. However, they are sparsely found within the map. Most of the time you must purchase these items from vending machines using your gained experience points as currency.
Those prone to motion sickness will have no problem playing Apex Construct, as the teleportation locomotion option allows for smooth and comfortable movement. On the other hand for those that prefer free locomotion, that option is available too. Furthermore, for those looking to build their VR legs, there are also cage locomotion options to help take some of the queasiness away from 100% free locomotion movement.
Graphics – Vibrant Backgrounds with a Strong Personality
Apex Construct uses vibrant graphics, with backgrounds even looking cartoon-y at times. However, this style gives the game personality and is a good choice for the Oculus Quest’s lower rendering power.
While there isn’t a lot of detail in the backgrounds and objects in the game, the enemy robot designs were very well done and the battle sequences were very immersive. The game is able to handle multiple enemy characters on the screen at the same time, with rapid teleportation locomotion during intense battles. In my entire review of Apex Construct, the VR game never hitched once or froze during any level.
Soundtrack and Audio – Polished Arrows and a Strong Voice Cast
The background music of the game was great and really sets the tone for different areas in the game. The music signals when a battle scene is coming or when a level is completed. Furthermore, the sound effects in the game were well polished. Everything from the sound of your arrows striking opponents to the sound of keys clicking on a terminal keyboard, the sound effects were realistic and helped add to the immersion of the game.
The voice acting for mother and father are very well-performed. The back and forth psychological manipulation will seriously have you wondering who is telling you the truth and who is deceiving you. Furthermore, there are numerous notes left behind on CYGNIA computers scattered throughout the game. Many of these too have been partially voice acted and that extra amount of polish definitely makes a difference.