game review, Pixel Gear Review - Neo-Retro Carnage

Pixel Gear

PlayStation VR has, perhaps, the most widely varied selection of launch titles since the dawn of gaming hardware. Within this first wave of content, we’ve seen everything from rhythm violence games, to banana archers, to twisted carnival rides and plenty more. One genre that is seeing a resurgence is the classic wave-based shooter.

Enter Pixel Gear, a new title for the PlayStation VR that places you in a 3D pixel world filled with everything from ghosts, to skeletons, to armored undead warriors. They march relentlessly toward you as you blow them to smithereens with a variety of weapons. Does this shooter score a headshot, or is its aim all over the place? Let’s find out!

Do I Need a Reason to Shoot Them? Nope!

Pixel Gear launches you straight into the action. There’s no story to be found here, but the quick level and difficulty selection options get you firing guns in VR faster than you can say “Boom, headshot!”

Within moments you’ll find yourself standing in the first stage on a hilltop, looking down at a lush field with forests in the distance. The VR’s signature depth and 3D lends itself well to the graphical style which we’ll talk about momentarily.

Pixel Gear is played with a single PlayStation Move controller. In the game, this will represent one of four possible weapons: pistol, submachine gun, sniper rifle, and grenade launcher. The cycle of gameplay involves defending yourself from the encroaching hordes of enemies until the wave ends.

During this time, you’ll also spot ghosts rising out from the landscape. Shooting them can bolster your combo and in some cases they are also carrying coins or ammo for your other weapons. Between waves, you’ll have the option to purchase upgrades, ammo, or weapons using the coins you earned during the previous wave.

It’s a solid cycle of gameplay, culminating in some pretty awesome boss fights. The question is, how does it all fit together?

Perfect Accuracy Supports Addictive Gameplay

Pixel Gear

The setup for Pixel Gear is a solid premise for a virtual reality game, but a title like this lives or dies by the accuracy of its controls and motion tracking. You can put your fears to rest, fellow gamers, because Pixel Gear has the most accurate and reliable tracking of any Move enabled game to date.

You’ve no doubt heard of the “jitter” that many reviews have mentioned when it comes to the tracking on VR games with Move support. I personally have had very little issues like this with any VR game, but they are non-existent in Pixel Gear.

This has led many of my fellow gamers to claim that the Move issue is one that can be fixed through software, and not something inherently wrong with the tracking on the Move controllers themselves.

The developers at Geronimo Interactive have cracked the code, because I was scoring headshots with my pistol left and right. It makes for incredible satisfying gameplay when the tracking is so accurate.

The submachine gun and the grenade launcher also sport excellent tracking. The only real issue I encountered was the sniper rifle. It has a fully functional scope on it, which you can use by raising the gun towards your eyes. This is an awesome feature, but getting the Move’s glowing orb that close to the VR headset’s tracking lights can cause some jittering to creep up on you.

That being said, looking down the sights of a sniper and taking out an enemy across the level is one of the best feelings I’ve had thus far with PSVR. At some point in each wave, you’ll have the opportunity to shoot ghosts, some of which are carrying items that you’ll earn when you hit them.

Angels will appear as well, and shooting them costs you points, so be careful. During the upgrade screen, you can purchase ammo for your guns, double your coins for the next wave, or even unlock new types of ghosts that can trigger debuffs on your enemies.

Once you get to the boss in each of the game’s three stages, you’re treated with a towering enemy to take down. During these fights, you’ll block enemy attacks with careful shots, and hit their weak points when they appear as circles on the body of the boss.

It’s good, simple fun, that’s made all the more satisfying by the excellent controls.

Pixel Art and Perfect Pricing

Pixel Gear

Quick looks at Pixel Gear will warrant comparisons to Minecraft as the 3D pixel art looks very similar. This style works surprisingly well in VR. The intense depth and 3D makes the enemies pop out at you, especially the bosses.

The game pairs this look with a retro soundtrack that’s nothing less than a treat for the ears. While Pixel Gear doesn’t have a ton of levels or a huge amount of depth, it is priced at a cool $10.99, with discounts for early adopters.

While more levels, a story mode, and perhaps additional weapons would have been welcome, what we have here is an excellent showcase of how accurate a VR shooting game can be. At the asking price, this is the perfect experience for new VR owners. The pitch-perfect tracking alone makes this worth the price of entry.

Final Score: 8.5/10

Article by - Bradley Ramsey
Insert date - 10/24/16

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