Hardlight Blade Review
Yes! It's finally here! My childhood dream come true, VR game with lightsaber combat. The game is free to play, with no monetization whatsoever and while that may be to protect the creator from the wrath of the Mickey Mouse, it is a shame. Maybe with some monetary incentive, he would expand the gameplay slightly and make the game a tiny bit more filled with content. Right now, the whole game is just a single room with endlessly spawning robots trying (very successfuly) to kill you. That being said, I have already spent several evenings playing this game, so that speaks for the enjoyability of the core game loop. I should warn you beforehand, I really cannot be objective with this game and I will forgive it a lot. So let's get right to it.
The graphics is very clean and simple. There are hardly any animations, textures or anything of sort. Sound effects are rudimentary, music catchy, but I could go with a bit more tunes. Unfortunately Oculus Go doesn't allow recording gameplay with sounds, and even going live on Facebook only grabs your mic and 360*360 video, not the game sounds. All the customizability the game provides is a selection of blade colors.
The game starts with a very basic start screen, where you can choose the color of your
lightsaber, ehm, hardlight blade. After hitting the starting box, you get attacked by very slowly floating robots with spikes. You can move using your Oculus Go controller's touchpad and fight by waving your controller as you would with a real lightsaber. The movements takes a while to get used to, but after a few gaming sessions, I found myself moving subconciously. Quick tip, imagine your thumb resting on a analog stick and move it in similar fashion. After the first couple waves, enemies start spawning with increasing speed and variations on weaponry. You can slice and dice enemies in any direction you wish, deflect blaster fire and saber swings. You can't stab, but that may be due to the 3DoF limitation of the controller. There is not much else to say about it.
I do have a wishlist of features that I would love to see in this game. First of all, I would love to be able to throw the blade like the disc in Disc League. Force would be nice, but probably hard to do with limited buttons on the controller. Other weapons, such as hardlight staff would be a great addition to the game and improvements to the AI of the enemies would go a long way. Last but definitely not least, I wish there will be a multiplayer version of this game in the future, preferably ported to the not-yet-released Oculus Santa Cruz. Even in case the developer won't release any updates for this game, I will be watching closely what he is up to in the future. He seems to have a knack of quickly releasing very promising-looking game prototypes and I would be thrilled to see, what he could do with a proper budget. I love what he has done here and I will surely follow his career anywhere it takes him. You can follow him on twitter @RJdoesVR.