09. Nov, 2016
- PlayStation VR Required
- DualShock 4 None
- PlayStation Move Required (1)
Title: Pixel Gear
Format: PSN (1.28 GB)
Release Date: October 20, 2016
Publisher: Oasis Games Limited
Developer: Oasis Games
Original MSRP: $10.99
ESRB Rating: E10+
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
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Pixel Gear is a very simple game focusing mostly on combining a light gun game with a basic VR experience. The player is stuck in a single spot with only a gun tied to the Move controller with which to fend off fantasy monsters.
You start out each level with a pistol and must down several waves of enemies. Getting headshots will down them quicker and some of the more aggressive enemies may shoot projectiles to attack you. Most are pretty lazy though, so you’ll have plenty of time to try to defeat them.
Killing enemies earns you some gold, and at the end of each wave you can use it to purchase one of three random upgrades. These include alternate weapons like a machine gun, a grenade launcher, and a sniper rifle, ammo for those weapons, health, or some poorly described upgrades that I have no clue what they are used for.
After several waves have passed, a boss enemy will show up. This extra large enemy has a weak spot that must be exposed in various ways in order for you to kill them. Defeat the boss and the stage is over. After the game awards a rank and a few rudimentary stats, it’s back to the main menu.
Pixel Gear only has three stages, and four different difficulties available, of which three are available initially. There isn’t much to this game overall, not even a leaderboard, local or otherwise, despite the game ranking the player at the end of each stage. Gold and purchases don’t carry over either.
… it doesn’t offer up a very meaningful amount of content …
Mechanically, there are no issues with the game. The guns perform fine and the head and gun tracking work as expected. I can’t say I ever really felt the need for the extra guns, as getting headshots with the default pistol was more than enough, especially on the easier difficulties. The other guns feel like they are meant for a niche that the game never presents and swapping between them by holding the Move button and flicking the Move controller is slightly obtuse.
With only three stages to play through, it doesn’t offer up a very meaningful amount of content either. Fortunately the devs seem aware of this, as the game has a budget price, but even then I find it hard to recommend.
The levels and enemies are firmly planted in the Minecraft school of game design. The three environments and each of the foes are all generic fantasy fare, built out of voxels. It’s a fine aesthetic, even if it doesn’t feel wholly original at this point. At least each of the levels has a unique theme to them, though enemies remain the same throughout.
Oddly, the player’s guns aren’t made out of voxels and they look a lot more ‘modern’ compared to the fantasy theme of the rest of the game. Overall this makes them feel a little out of place as a generic looking pistol doesn’t mesh well with pixelated skeletons.
… most of the enjoyment is that the VR aspect is novel …
The soundtrack seems to consist of only two songs: one for the main menu which, side note, the main menu is very very oddly designed, and one for gameplay. The three stages don’t have their own theme music which is rather unfortunate given how few there already are. The music is barely noticeable though, in the “neither good nor bad” kind of way.
Outside of that, the audio is passable. Enemies have a unique call when they spawn, which is helpful in the case that they spawn outside the player’s current field of view. Though, occasionally I would hear something that sounded like an enemy spawn and would turn to look and not see anything. Not sure if this was a glitch or what.
This game is singleplayer only with no online component.
Pixel Gear is a very, very budget release. With simple gameplay and only a small amount of content, it barely manages to fill up that budget price. As it is mechanically sound, I did find myself mildly enjoying my short time with it. However the game doesn’t really offer up much that is unique or interesting in any way so my gut instinct tells me that most of the enjoyment is that the VR aspect is novel and not necessarily because of the game itself.
As it works fine and is a cheap pick up, I wouldn’t fault anyone for wanting to add it to their VR library. Still, I think a $400 headset deserves a game that offers more than a evening-after-work’s amount of content. I certainly would recommend other VR titles over it, both in terms of gameplay and longevity.
* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.