What do you get if you cross toxic waste, forest critters, a raft and a redneck amateur gunsmith? If you said chaos, or a 90’s low budget horror movie, then you’d be right. Yet in the world of VR what you actually end up with is Dick Wilde… an expert in clearing mutant fish from lakes. The man must be good because he’s in considerable demand though and returns in Dick Wilde 2 to head upstream, shooting waterlogged vermin and tidying up the canals on the way. Or rather you’re going to do it for him, and you better take a friend along.
Dick Wilde 2 is a sequel to the 2017 game that introduced us to an adventure set in the deep south USA hosted by the stereotypical titular character that’s part evolution of Duck Hunt and part Carry On film (well, the implied innuendo is anyway). What you’re in for is an on rails shooter that has you stood on a raft taking out anything that moves, is being shot at you, or happens to be blocking your way; and occasionally selecting which path you want to take up the meandering waterway. It’s not complicated, and the nature of VR means it’s easy to pick up and play, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t difficult. Tackling the pirahna infested river alone starts off fairly tamely, but it’s not long at all before things get very dangerous. Choosing the right guns at the right time it crucial to survival.
For PSVR players there’s a choice of dual wielding the Move controllers or using the Aim controller for a two handed weapon instead. It makes the PlayStation version unique as it’s the only one that supports the peripheral, and therefore has a number of distinct weapons attached to it. No one’s missing out on anything though because they all do the same job, it’s just that things are tougher with the Aim controller because you’re not aiming two guns at once, you can’t mix and match them for specific scenarios, and the game still puts the same amount of enemies and projectiles in your path. It’s a bit mean like that. With the wands in hand it’s easy to pick a submachine gun for one and a shotgun for the other, giving a bit of variety and capability to deal with swarming critters. Using the single gun means picking a pistol can result in game over fairly quickly when you’re fending off 5 or 6 creatures at once.
Fortunately there’s the ability to call in some help with co-op, and it’s cross platform too. It’s here that Dick Wilde 2 shines because the amount that’s happening on screen is the same as single player. Where once you were overwhelmed with leaping fish and belching frogs, suddenly there’s another pair of eyes and guns to watch your back. Finding a partner is a simple case of waiting for one to show up, then it’s a matter of ploughing through the levels and teaching the wildlife who’s boss. Progression is made by collecting keys in each level to open up more, and also with standalone weapon challenges that enable more powerful variants to be bought at the mid-stage shops. Cash is grabbed through clearing the debris floating around, and it’s worth picking up every little piece because there are health and armour bonuses, as well as perks to the powerup mode that materialises a more powerful rapid firing gun to clear the hordes… once the meter’s been built up of course.
Graphically Dick Wilde 2 suits its cartoon stylings and it’s smooth throughout – enough so that if you’re standing up you might get too used to the raft motion and start rocking on the spot. The PSVR visuals are a bit basic compared the Oculus and Vive versions, but that’s something we’ve come to expect, and it’s not a detriment to the gameplay. What isn’t great is the controller tracking and I found one of the wands and the Aim started drifting quite badly during play. A quick shake whilst dual wielding would sort out the Move controller, but the other started to get way off course. A bit disappointingly given the work on the character, Dick has very few lines and you’ll hear most of them by about the third map, sometimes more than once per level. It’s compensated for by the incredibly catchy music though, something that’ll have you shaking the controllers along with the tune whilst you’re waiting for the next wave of action.
There’s a decent shooter present in Dick Wilde 2, one with charm and fun, but tinged with frustration. As a single player experience it gets too difficult too quickly in the normal levels, yet the boss fights are a walk in the park – it needs balancing. Having a co-op buddy is definitely the way to go, and when you end up in sync it works really, really well. You might never have met who’s in the raft beside you, and won’t be able to talk… but it won’t stop you from virtually high-fiving them at the end of manic section. You can make your own pun about playing with others and insert it here.
A PSVR review copy of Dick Wilde 2 was provided by Bovark Games PR team, and the game is out now on HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and PSVR for about £20.