Being dropped into the cockpit of various vehicles is one of the most fun and immersive experiences of VR. Whether in competitive arenas or in outer space, throwing on your VR headset and settling into your powerful ship or mech is empowering and fun. Estudiofuture specializes in 3D animation, video production, and VR experiences across educational and entertainment disciplines and their new game, Fusion Wars, is aiming to bring a white-knuckled arena shooter to the Samsung Gear (with an eventual Rift release also planned).
In Fusion Wars you pilot a tank in a futuristic arena with a very Tron-like aesthetic to it. Those aware of the PS VR exclusive, Battlezone, will immediately recognize the aesthetic. There are bright colors and sharp edges with not too many layers to the visuals, so it maintains a degree of simplicity and sameness across the levels. The sound is dominated by laser beams and rapid weapon fire coupled with explosions over the top of a song that is likely influenced by the most recent Tron: Legacy film. It seems a missed opportunity not to at least have a slight design difference and different music on the various levels.
The game has full (required) controller support, so you pilot a propelled tank that you can move forward and backward with your controller’s triggers. You boost and fire with your hands while you aim at your targets by turning your head and you take out enemies with two firing modes you switch between while seeking out an objective. It takes some getting use to, especially when attempting to move, aim, and fire in reverse, but it became second nature overtime.
Within the levels, you take on waves of different types of enemies and even a few boss-like tanks and structures as you return fire and pick up health to stay in the fight. You seek out fusion cores in order to move on to the next level, but you’ll have to take out all the enemy spawn gates in order to do so. The flow of gameplay takes place across four difficulty settings: Cadet, Agent, Legend, and Insane.
Fusion Wars is a co-operative experience on multiple levels. Immediately, the base experience is an online co-operative one and you can fuse with a teammate to create a super tank that one player fires from within while the other drives. In addition to that, the game is cross-purchase and cross-play, so once it’s available on Oculus, players can play on both devices and team up with players on either platform. While listed as only in Early Access right now, the game is mostly feature complete. It’s already looking like one of the better multiplayer titles on the Gear VR and it still has potential to grow further.
There’s a solid effort to tailor the comfort levels to different players via a moderate and high comfort setting in the options. With the moderate option, your sight is dimmed and narrowed as the tank turns and the max setting narrows your field of vision to an even higher degree. I experienced slight discomfort when moving at high-speeds on the middle setting, but none at all on the higher setting though it was annoying to have a reduced field of view when turning. The option can be turned off if you’re better acclimated to virtual experiences with this type of movement.
Right now you have a capable and fun game that doesn’t sacrifice speed and excitement but includes design that makes it a comfortable experience for players at different points of acclimation to VR and on different platforms. I didn’t come across a great many players online, but the eventual Rift release along with the PvP patch should change that in a big way. At is there’s already a solid amount of content available and with the further updates and new players entering the fray from the Rift, the value will certainly be there.