Coming from Userjoy Technology and Winking Entertainment, Drone Striker is a VR first person on-rails shooter that puts you in the shoes of a lone soldier facing off against a twisted AI world that’s intent on wiping out the human race. Armed with a single gun, a battery of missiles and some radio support to pat you on the back every now and again, it’s time to take the fight to the robotic would-be overlords and show them we’re not going to go quietly. The setup might sound familiar, but does the game end up feeling the same?
Dropping you straight into the action, Drone Striker sets out its lone wolf stall early and doesn’t let up until you’re finished or dead. Comprised of three levels split into three sections, the mechanics are simple enough – shoot everything that moves before it shoots back. There are two main ways of taking out the enemies: 1) machine gun fire, 2) rocket barrage; and both come from the same gun in your hand. Using the targeting reticule to mark up enemies, a squeeze of the trigger will send rockets flying with pinpoint accuracy, whilst keeping the trigger pressed unleashes a hail of bullets. It might seem simple, but when things get hectic there’s a rhythm to be found to manage the onslaught.
Enemies come in different flavours and follow the expected levels of difficulty – easy, medium, hard and boss. Each wave mixes up walking and flying types, and provides a decent blend of the different foes to keep you on your toes. Balancing perfect shots with well timed rockets is usually enough to keep disaster at bay, though every now and again a screen clearing smart bomb is needed to teach the machines who’s in charge. It’s a bizarre experience to describe because it ends up feeling like an old skool 2D wave shooter crossed with Time Crisis. To be clear though there’s no duck or dodge option, it’s just got that kind of vibe.
Drone Striker has a good selection of controls to pick from. DualShock, Move and Aim controllers are all supported, which is great to see for the latter given it’s perfectly tuned to this style of game. They all work well, but the tangible feel of the Aim puts you right in the centre of the action and it’s got some of the best tracking I’ve come across in a VR game. Sure, the on-rails element means that there’s little that can go wrong with the movement, but it’s nice to see a title that keeps a lock on the controller and manages to allow precise aiming without having to aim down the sights (which, in other games, covers the headset lights and can lose sync).
As you’re being propelled through tunnels, docks and crumbling cities, fighting what seem like infinitely spawning enemies at times, there’s some respite in the form of power ups and health pick ups. Floating cubes are dotted and hidden around the levels ready for shooting and grabbing. Additional bombs, more missiles for locking on, faster firing bullets, and increasing health reserves are all up for grabs if you’re able to take them down quickly enough. There’s a noticeable difference the pickups have on performance and firepower and make dealing with some of the lower end enemies a breeze without making the whole game too easy.
Visually it’s reasonably nice looking, though it’s mostly set in the dark so it doesn’t show off all the details. The enemies being very insectoid-like work well and creep and buzz around you as they prepare to attack. The drawback with the game is that it’s a bit too short, though in fairness that’s balanced with cost. There’s about 90 minutes of game on the standard difficulty for £8. Turn it up to hard and the challenge will increase the play time. With a global leaderboard to keep track of your position front and centre on the main menu screen, it’s a good one for score chasing.
Drone Striker surprised with how much fun I had with blasting sentient machinery to pieces. It’s a competently put together title that sticks to its strengths and doesn’t outstay its welcome and it’s at a perfect price too for what it offers. This is one for VR owners looking to let off some steam with a quick blast of action.
A PSVR review copy of Drone Striker was provided by Userjoy Technology’s PR team and is available now from the PlayStation Store for around £7.99. If you want to know more about Winking Entertainment head to their Facebook page.