Wave-based shooters are a dime a dozen on PSVR, so why should you invest in another one? If you’ve played one then you’ve played them all, right?…Wrong. Thanks to Blasters of the Universe’s high quality, compelling action, and customisations options galore it stands out from the crowd…oh and then there’s the bullet-hell.
After the novelty of a new VR wave-based arena has worn off, I rarely returned for more but Blasters of the Universe nails that “just one more go” vibe. The style of the game sits somewhere between Blood Dragon and Tron. The self-proclaimed bullet-hell shooter paints the story of an arcade champ whose fame has gone to his head and he becomes fully digitised into the world he loves, challenging the next wannabe champion to best his creations.
The four wave-based worlds demand a variety of skills to be mastered, from being a crack shot to side-stepping and ducking the torrent of incoming fire that will ultimately be flung your way. Each world is climaxed with a boss battle, which forces you to mix up your tactics in order to grind down their health bar, and in terms of difficulty, normal mode has its moments but is a fairly easy going romp through VR bullet-hell. Hell mode however, can get pretty intense.
Despite having a portable shield you will inevitably need to keep on the move. With only five hearts of health you can end up becoming derezzed pretty quickly if you don’t keep your head on a swivel. It really puts you on your toes. Despite ducking and diving, which I’ll admit to picking up quite the sweat, the PSVR unit didn’t mist up – a real testament to the build quality of the headset.
Blasters of the Universe’s world is bright and vibrant – full of arcade tropes and neon blemishes – it looks great, and the experience of a tunnel of bullets passing around your head is pretty darn cool. Thankfully the devs have seen fit to only make your head the ‘hit area’ so you needn’t worry about your arms or the blaster your wield, this makes the prospect of surviving far less daunting.
The blaster itself is an odd construction of random parts that wouldn’t look out of place in the world of Fallout. Once unlocked, you can mix and match a variety parts to construct a blaster that suits your play style. From magazines that recharge, to barrels that fire more rapidly, there are tons of combinations that can be assembled and tested within the armoury.
A timed challenge mode resets periodically with new objectives, which will keep returning fans hooked, while those addicted to the intensity of gameplay will undoubtedly want to better their scores in the campaign, best the hell difficulty or just see how long they can survive in endless mode. Beyond that there is a limited amount of gameplay with only four worlds to choose from.
I was super impressed by the response of the PSVR. I could duck down low and still pull off an accurate shot. I could dance about like a loony, dodging multiple bullets and not find that my PSVR had misted up. But most of all, I had a lot of fun. Blasters of the Universe has nailed bullet hell VR, but it’s a shame more couldn’t have been made of the story, which I found extremely lacking – especially considering the premise of the title.
Wave-based nasties, boss battles, challenge modes and a whole host of customisation options, Blasters of the Universe is easy on the eye and will entice you with its soft approach but snare your attention for hours on end.