With each new generation of gaming, visuals are continuing to look even better and better, but games like Minecraft and even the recent Dragon Quest Builders have adopted a more classic voxel based style that has helped to set them apart from the rest. Combining this with the new PlayStation VR technology is an interesting idea, as the simple designs help to overcome some of the headset’s graphical limitations, and that is exactly what Geronimo Interactive has done with Pixel Gear.
Pixel Gear is definitely one of the most simplistic games released for PSVR so far, as it utilizes a very easy to learn arcade approach to its gameplay. Players can choose from one of three levels, though only one is unlocked at first, with each really not being all that different from the other two. The first two are especially similar, with one being in a farm like setting and the other being outside of castle, though the third level that is set in an icy region at least feels a little more unique.
The goal of each of these three stages is to rack up as many points as you can in a score attack style while defeating a number of waves. Players are required to use a PlayStation Move controller here, which is used to represent some type of gun in the game. Unlike some games where you are specifically holding the Move controller forward in an aiming motion, you can grip it more casually as the aiming target is shown at all times with a red line of sight.
Pixel Gear features a first person perspective like most games for the platform, where you can turn your head to view the area. Technically you can turn around fully if you want, but you will only need to be concerned with the left, center, and right sides. The movement of the line of sight via the headset is very fluid and the control of your weapon of choice feels superb.
At the start of each stage, you start with a regular pistol like weapon that has unlimited ammo. As you destroy more enemies though, you will eventually see ghosts appear on the screen with yellow coins below them that you will want to shoot, with a lot of them coming at the end of each wave when a chest opens.
After each wave, you will have the chance to cash in these coins on one of three rotating options, which include three additional weapons, ammo upgrades, and even double golden coins in the next round. You also have the option to buy nothing and save up for after the next wave as well. This can be very important, as having ammo for more powerful weapons like an automatic rifle and a grenade gun is helpful against larger hordes of enemies.
Each stage plays in almost the exact same way, with enemies slowly coming after you in the aforementioned waves. These creatures definitely follow a Halloween theme, with skeletons, flying bats with pumpkin bombs, mages, and Frankenstein-like monsters among the bunch. Hitting these enemies with headshots will typically kill them instantly, or in the case of enemies like the armored knights will take their helmet off first, leaving their head exposed.
Pixel Gear offers players four difficulty levels that range from Easy to Crazy, though the latter is not unlocked right at the start. There is not a big difference in these difficulties other than the enemies coming out at a somewhat faster pace, but they are still rather easy to take down with some clean head shots.
Each stage plays in almost the exact same way
Across all three stages, you will face off against five waves of the same basic enemies, which gets boring pretty quickly. There are a few enemies introduced in higher waves, but the overall variety is very weak. Once reaching wave six however, you will square off against that stage’s boss.
The boss fights are definitely the most fun parts of Pixel Gear, though they are still very predictable with their patterns. By targeting the boss in their vulnerable spots when possible, between taking down regular enemies as well, you will eventually defeat them and get a stage complete screen with stats of your performance.
One very odd part of Pixel Gear is that the main screen makes you specifically choose Single Player, but there is no other choice available. Multiplayer is supposedly coming in a future patch, but you would have thought that either they could have had it ready for launch or have somewhere in the game that mentions it is coming in the future. With the game’s current setup, it’s just more confusing than anything.
Pixel Gear is an example of a product that feels more like a demo than a full fledged game. The actual shooting mechanics are integrated quite well giving you a good feeling of control, but the slow pace and lack of content lead to an overall disappointing experience with Pixel Gear.
- Available On: PlayStation 4
- Published By: Oasis Games
- Developed By: Geronimo Interactive
- Genre: Arcade
- US Release Date: October 20th, 2016
- Reviewed On: PlayStation 4
- Quote: "Pixel Gear is an example of a product that feels more like a demo than a full fledged game. The actual shooting mechanics are integrated quite well giving you a good feeling of control, but the slow pace and lack of content lead to an overall disappointing experience with Pixel Gear."