Blasters of the Universe Review
I mostly played Blasters of the Universe in Casual mode. Look, I’m not proud of that. But there’s hard, and then there’s VR bullet hell hard, and I’m not in the best shape. Still sore two days later, I can’t help but look back on my time with the game fondly. Heck, it might even become part of my regular exercise regimen. Blasters of the Universe is intense, frantic, polished, and an excellent showcase for what makes VR a special technology.
Blasters of the Universe has a story, but don’t worry too much about it. The most annoying gamer of all time stole an arcade’s new VR game, hooked himself up, and got sucked inside it. Now he’s the evil lord of the domain, and you, the player, are attempting to dethrone him. Your limited interactions basically involve him hurling juvenile insults your way. Honestly, it’s kind of funny. Some of the dialogue gets reused a bit too much (or maybe I just die too often), but that’s no big problem. You’ve come for the action, so let’s get to it.
One of your PlayStation Move controllers acts as your gun, and the other as your shield. The point and shoot (or block, as it were) mechanics as gunplay feels incredibly solid. While you can opt to use a laser scope to help your aim, I didn’t find it necessary. Your sense of presence in the VR space is so good, and the weapons are so responsive, that actually hitting enemies isn’t very hard at all.
“Blasters of the Universe is easily the most physical VR game I’ve ever played.”
What is hard is weaving in and out of the thousands of enemy bullets flying at you from all directions. Being able to shoot an enemy is one thing; being able to shoot an enemy while dashing to the side, raising your shield, and diving to the ground is another. Blasters of the Universe is easily the most physical VR game I’ve ever played. Relying solely on your shield will get you killed. While your head is the only vulnerable part of your body, so there isn’t much you need to defend, your shield is limited and needs to be recharged. Staying on the move is the best way to survive. With only five hit points per level and no mid-level checkpoints, you’ve got your work cut out for you.
This is even more so in Hell mode. Yes, I gave it a shot. Yes, I got slaughtered. However, I do think I’ll return to it and try to improve. The Casual mode seems like a great training simulator, with the goal being to learn enemy movements and the general lay of the land, so to speak, so you can dominate in Hell mode. Yes, the difficulty is unforgiving, but when you buy a bullet hell game, that’s sort of what you’re signing up for.
To help you survive hell, you have a wide variety of loadout options. From your choice of guns which determine the special move you can deploy, to your preferred clip style (are you a reload-on-the-go person, or do you prefer an automatically, but slowly, recharging rifle?), there are so many possibilities to choose from. Do you sacrifice shield size to get a quicker recharge time? Do you go with a shotgun-style spread shot or a rapid-fire (but lower-power) machine gun? Unlocking new options and learning what works best for you is a blast, and this is coming from a gamer who generally doesn’t mess around with loadouts. The developer really hit the sweet spot for me, presenting a bunch of varied options that immediately create unique playstyles.
That uniqueness doesn’t extend to the levels, unfortunately. There is only a handful, and while you can play them in standard story mode or in infinite wave mode, you’ll see everything the game has to offer pretty quickly. If you survive long enough, that is. With a few more levels, I could see this game having a much longer shelf life. As it is, if you may get bored without a ton of different levels, and you may need to look elsewhere. Despite the lack of variety, I have to recommend Blasters of the Universe. Its addictive mix of shooting action and immersive gameplay make this a worthy addition to anyone’s VR library.
*** PSVR code provided by the publisher ***
- Super smooth action
- Great interface design
- Intense action
- Story is kind of pointless
- Limited levels and variety