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Review: Blaston

Very few virtual reality (VR) developers can claim to have a dozen videogames in their catalogue, with even less being able to say that most are of high quality. Resolution Games is part of this niche bunch, having created casual, enjoyable titles like Acron: Attack of the Squirrels and Cook-Out: A Sandwich Tale. And just like these two, the studio continues to focus on multiplayer VR gaming for its latest endeavour, PvP shooter Blaston.

Unlike those videogames mentioned which have a party, teamwork vibe to them Blaston is very different in that regard. Toe to toe with an opponent, this is more like a classic gladiator dual or sword fight; if they were in a futuristic neon arena filled with a variety of guns. Oh and to make the event even more dramatic all weapons fire is in slow-motion so get your best Neo impressions at the ready.

Dressed in suitably flamboyant garb that serves no purpose other than to display your current taste in cyberpunk fashion, matches are a simple two-round affair. All you have to do is deplete your opponent’s health bar twice to win. No easy task when you’re standing on a platform a meter or so wide and you’re getting peppered with an array of projectiles from small shotgun-style pellets to giant pink orbs of death.

As mentioned, Blaston isn’t about superhuman reflexes, bending and twisting like a ballerina around glowing buckshot because it’s all in slow-mo. While the projectiles come at you at a snail’s pace you’re free to move around however you wish. This process then creates a strategic dynamic between trying to avoid getting hit as well as returning fire in rapid succession, making for short intense battles which are thoroughly engaging.

All players start with six standard weapons covering the basics such as quickfire pistols, shields and shotguns. These all appear around your platform – not all at once – as each will have a specific recharge time. There are no reloads to worry about, holstering or any of the normal mechanics you’d expect as Blaston is all about energetic arcade action. All the weapons have a select amount of ammo and once they’re empty throw them away – or better still at your opponent as the weapon can still cause damage or remove incoming projectiles.

After a few bouts, its time to head to the shop as this is where Resolution Games begins adding some much-needed depth to the experience. Levelling up will begin to unlock new goodies with a massive amount of guns and character liveries to choose from. These can be purchased via the credits earnt from each match or you can drop actual money on ‘Blasts’ which can then be turned in credits if you so wish. Once a few guns are unlocked it’s then easier to mix up your strategy, a load of big guns may seem great but if they take ages to recharge then you could find yourself defenceless.

The developer has also managed to tackle the issue with finding opponents fairly well. There are two options before any fight, hit the ‘Dual’ button to dive right in online or setup/join a mate. The former is the main entry point into Blaston and will probably match you up with a bot if no human players are available. If someone suddenly does appear then you’ll be notified, instantly winning the bot match before heading into a proper fight. On the other hand, you can set up a match with a friend in a similar fashion to Resolution Games’ other multiplayer titles, create a room and you’ll be given a code for your mate to enter, simple.

It’s that simplicity which works so well in Blaston’s favour. Unlike Ironlights which also has a slow-mo fight feature as well as a stamina bar altering the pace, Blaston is all about getting stuck in and trying to do significant damage as quickly as possible. There are no frills or other fancy mechanics to contend with, making it easy to pick and play for anyone. Plus there’s little no need to worry about nausea, as it’s all body movement-based. See a shot coming towards you then step out the way – no leaping mind, that’s likely to cause some damage.

However, Blaston is very repetitive and feels even more so against the bots. They don’t seem to have a difficulty setting – unless it’s based on your experience level – so they became fairly easy to dispatch after a while. Like any multiplayer, hopefully, that changes in time as more people join in. There’s also only one arena at the moment, it would’ve been nice to add a bit more variety in that respect.

Blaston is another one of the great examples that can only be made in VR and a perfect fit for Oculus Quest. The fast and furious gameplay is instantaneous, grab a gun and shoot it, with the real enjoyment coming from dodging all over the place. It’s like you’re in a sci-fi dodgeball tournament without the worry of a ball smacking you in the face. Plus the studio has managed to give it that wow factor with some really eye-popping aesthetics. If you’re looking for a deeply engrossing experience this isn’t it, Blaston is more suited to quick-fire gaming sessions.  

  • Verdict

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