‘Arcane’ Is A Frantic Wave Shooter Featuring Swords And Shields Instead Of Lasers

by David Jagneaux • December 21st, 2016

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve written about a VR wave shooter. At their core, they’re all the same. Most of them don’t let you manually move yourself around, locking you in place. Enemies attack from a multitude of angles, racking up the stress and intensity. You often have an assortment of weapons to fight back with. In some cases, you might even have different levels and environments to look at over the course of the short experience. If you get more than an hour or two of novelty out of it, that’s rare.

Arcane from Offpeak Games more or less falls into all of those same buckets. There isn’t a whole lot of depth here, but what it lacks in originality, it makes up for with polish and striking visual detail. Since it doesn’t take place in some sort of sci-fi hellscape with lasers and robots, that automatically sets it apart from the majority of its competition.

Rather than shooting down your adversaries with guns, you’ll deflect fireballs, swing massive swords, and duck behind your magical shield. Arcane is a game that trades futuristic weaponry for the fantastical and whimsical environment that looks like something ripped out of the pages of a book based on Merlin.

Instead of simply asking you to survive, as you play through the game you’re slowly progressing to the top of a mountain. That lends a certain degree of progression to the experience, ensuring that you feel like you’ve accomplished something as you play, even if it’s still just a simple wave shooter at its core.

There isn’t a whole lot of enemy variety right now and other than swords, gauntlets, and shields, there isn’t much weapon variety yet either. But for a cheap experience that employs a relatively fresh take on the tired VR wave shooter genre, Arcane gets the job done as long as you’re not completely burnt out on wave shooters at this point. If so, it doesn’t quite reinvent the wheel. There’s no multiplayer and no fancy features to really pique your interest.

arcane-vive-weapons

You might be thinking that the name Offpeak Games sounds familiar, and that’s because this isn’t the first VR game from these developers. Previously they released Valiant, a horseback jousting multiplayer-only title. By shifting focus to a low-poly art style, focusing on single player action, eschewing locomotion, and honing in on core gameplay mechanics, Offpeak has pivoted to a very different style of VR game.

While Arcane is technically a full release and is not an Early Access title, unlike Valiant, plenty of updates are still on the horizon. The roadmap on the Steam page outlines new weapons such as a battle staff, new boss battle, new enemies, leaderboards, and more.

arcane-fireballs

If you’re interested in seeing if this magical wave shooter can cast its spell on you, Arcane is available on Steam with official HTC Vive support for $9.99 with a 20% launch window discount.

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  • Ethan James Trombley

    Enticing but I have like a million wave shooters lol. I’m hoping wave shooters start to look more like Arizona Sunshine or Raw Data in 2017.

    • You and me both. Arizona Sunshine is so good with so much to do. I just wish that horde mode had more levels or some defensive building elements of some kind to really expand the depth.

      • Allan

        I’m with you guys. I got 10 or so Oculus Touch games at launch and Arizona Sunshine really stands above them all.

        • Yeah, that ugly blink teleport makes it outstanding.

          • Allan

            Disagree. Hate locomotion in VR.

          • of course you do. I bet you dream of playing project cars or battlefield with blink teleport… 🙂

          • Allan

            Of course not. But you’re an annoying fellow. So instead of arguing with you. I’m just gonna block you, and we’ll leave it at that.

          • ok. let’s leave it at that. You’re a blockhead.

          • CMcD

            I like blink in vr so the solution isn’t to talk down blink it’s simply to talk up providing BOTH movement options for all vr titles moving forward.

          • Had both options been available I would have bought the game.

  • David Lazarek

    PSVR please. 🙂

  • VR Wave shooters emerged because of the nausea hysteria… Also a cop-out in terms of game design/complexity. Lazy/unimaginative devs can churn them out without having to bother about map design.

    I don’t buy any wave shooters these days.

  • GroovyMonster

    Ah cool, because we really need more wave shooters. :/

  • unreal_ed

    This is what we need more of in VR: more interesting, innovative interaction designs.

    Here I’m talking specifically about how the swords are used to create new ways to play by slicing the air. You could do it in flat games, but it would probably just feel like a regular shooting weapon.

    Other examples of this are Punch Bomb, another VR wave shooter but there you punch floating bombs to send them flying at stuff, and ROM: extraction, where you move by properly throwing an orb around .