This review was originally created in October 2018 for HTC, targeted to their Vive/Vive Pro (VIVEPORT). It is reproduced here without alteration.
As a first-person mash-up of the 1980 arcade games, Pac-Man and Berzerk, and the aesthetics of the 1982 movie, Tron, the developers of Trakker are clearly not shy about taking inspiration from some of the best creations of the early 1980s. And like those video games from simpler times, where you could figure out the mechanics shortly after dropping in your quarter and beginning play, Trakker puts a premium on accessibility.
In the game, you’re cast as one of the guardians of the digital realms, called TRAKKERS, where you patrol maze-like node structures to defend against virus-like intruders out to consume all life. Much like Berzerk, where you could choose to stay and fight or simply exit to another robot-filled room, Trakker gives you the option to collect files to slow down the attacks, go for the ultimate victory and try and save the complete system, or simply escape the maze.
Trakker is a standing, room-scale experience for the Vive or Vive Pro. With the Vive controllers, you press the trigger to fire the blaster, which requires time to recharge, and, in an interesting twist, move by pressing the Grip button and swinging your arms in a running motion. You turn by physically turning your body. Gameplay consists of Pac-Man-like running through each maze and collecting blue blocks, shooting the virus-like enemies, and finding the exit.
There are eight levels to explore and three different difficulty levels. Each node has the trio of objectives to strive for, which includes finding the exit, destroying all of the intruders, and securing the files. You can accomplish some or all of those goals each time you play a maze and are free to go back and try again at any time.
Visually, the game resembles Tron, with simple shapes and bright, glowing colors set against dark backgrounds. This minimalist aesthetic works well with the sound design, which features synthwave music by Milwaukee artist, DASHCAM, aka Donny Jankowski. Although I’m not sure if I’m supposed to know who DASHCAM is, his music does provide a professional sounding, pulse-pounding backdrop for the cyberpunk motif and a great excuse for a cool synchronized visualization effect that lines the maze walls. Sound effects serve their purpose, but take something of a back seat to the music, with only very simple sounds reminiscent of older arcade games present.
While not the deepest of experiences, Trakker does provide short doses of satisfying action-oriented play that recalls early 1980s arcade games without slavishly copying them. And frankly, these shorter gameplay sessions are even more welcome because of Trakker‘s unique movement controls. After all, there’s only so long you want to be pumping your arms like that, even with the incentive of hearing more of the stellar soundtrack.
Score: 3 out of 5 stars.
Trakker is available on Viveport or with a Viveport Subscription.
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