The PlayStation VR (PSVR) ecosystem is extremely different from the ecosystems of the Rift and Vive. Whereas those other two, more powerful, PC-based VR devices see multiple releases per week and several shovelware tech-demo style launches every day, each and every PSVR release feels like something worth taking note of. Most of the games released on Sony’s headset, even if only a couple of hours long, typically offer more polished and varied experiences when compared to single game mechanics milked for quick cash on Steam.
So while you might end up waiting longer for new releases on PSVR, they’re typically worth the wait. Korix definitely qualifies for a similar feeling in that regard. We first learned about the real-time strategy meets tower defense hybrid all the way back in August of last year and have been patiently waiting for the chance to dive into the tactical warfare ever since.
Korix is a clever little game. It’s at once a real-time strategy title while also satisfying the tower defense itch so many people have. On top of it all though is a free-form sense of experimentation as no two matches ever really play out the exact same way. While each map is a grid with slopes and curves that give it a unique layout, you’re also in charge of freely placing walls around the levels and building units and structures as matches progress. Nothing is ever predefined.
At the core of the game are your workers that gather resources from nodes and return them to your base, similar to most other RTS games you might’ve played, but instead of just building units and attacking your enemy, you can also construct walls to place lasers. This ups the complexity because you can connect walls together and form barricades or mazes to slow down enemies and force them into bottleneck situations.
It’s a stark contrast to other VR strategy games like Tactera, which is all about maneuvering ships in combat, or AirMech Command and Brass Tactics, which each employ more traditional, non-tower defense gameplay. The system works well — especially in multiplayer with the floating avatar heads — and the campaign is a meaty 3-5 hours long, plus skirmishes and multiplayer. There aren’t a ton of people playing yet, but ideally that will change over time.
The worst thing about Korix is the introductory experience for new players. The tutorial consists of tiny, barely readable text on the controller-mapped device in your hand and unit types and advantages are never really outlined with much clarity. I had to play the opening mission twice just to finish it because it was unclear how to do certain crucial things. This results in a bit more trial and error than it should, but once the pieces come together it gets intense.
The entire game is playable either with a single PlayStation Move controller or with a DualShock 4. Due to the way the LED light tracking with Sony’s camera works I’d recommend the Move over the DualShock if possible. You select items and units by pointing with your controller, so using a wand-shaped device is much easier than a gamepad.
Difficulty ramps up well and the first time you drop a nuke on an enemy is one of the most rewarding feelings I’ve had in a VR strategy game. I wish the visuals were bit more inspired as the flat, simple Tron-like presentation comes off as a bit lazy, but it doesn’t detract from the experience as a whole.
Korix delivers intense real-time action with an intuitive way to control the chaos. Multiplayer is a real blast as you can see each other’s floating avatar mask to really make it feel like you’re occupying the same space together. The new player experience could use some work, but there’s enough depth here to keep strategy fans busy for a while.