This review was originally created in May 2018 for HTC, targeted to their Vive/Vive Pro (VIVEPORT). It is reproduced here without alteration.
Cosmic-Attack VR. Blast from the past., which is referred to by a variety of other names, including the simpler Cosmic Attack VR, had its origins as a failed Kickstarter. Fortunately, despite that initial setback, the developers were still able to bring their vision for a neo-retro shooter to market.
Gameplay is like a mash-up of Space Invaders, Galaxian, and a simple first-person shooter. It’s a fast-moving game that can be played standing or seated, although for the latter you’ll still need to have enough freedom of movement to shoot behind you as you advance from the early stages.
To start, you arm yourself with your choice of two powerful handguns, one for each motion controller. While you can choose just one gun for a more masochistic challenge, most players will need both weapons to effectively battle the later alien waves.
Each handgun doesn’t just shoot either. With a press of a button, you can change your gun to a shield, which both blocks and deflects incoming laser blasts. With another press of a button, you can use your gun to build a shield wall, block-by-block, although much like the barrier in Space Invaders, this protection gets broken down by both enemy laser blasts and your own shots. As a final evasive measure, you can quickly teleport either left or right away from danger.
The crisp, pixelated enemies and sprawling environments are colorful, aesthetically pleasing, and even support the higher VIVE Pro resolutions. The lack of textures make the colorful, chunky polygons really stand out. You’ll have no trouble eyeing the alien baddies or their incoming shots.
These blocky, retro-inspired 3D graphics are complemented by music that is suitably bouncy and intense, and which blends in nicely with the robotic synthesized voice and laser and other sound effects. The audio really does a great job of recalling classic arcade shooting games, but ups the ante with a type of layering and depth that is really only possible in modern creations.
Use of the Vive motion controllers is smooth and precise, conveying an effective illusion of using one of these futuristic handguns. That’s a good thing, because there’s a surprising amount of strategy for a shooting game of this type. You really have to learn when and how it’s best to quickly use the features of the guns, either individually or in tandem, particularly as the waves of enemies grow in both type and flight patterns. Dozens of in-game power-ups, like POWER LASER BONUS and TIME DILATION BONUS, are available to aid you in your fight through all 50 levels.
If you think a reverential, but not slavish, update to classic arcade shooting games that’s designed around the many enhancements that only VR can make possible sounds like fun, then Cosmic Attack VR is definitely the game for you. It’s a literal blast to play.
Score: 5 out of 5
Cosmic-Attack VR. Blast from the past is available on Viveport or with a Viveport Subscription.
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