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Hands-On: BlockStar VR Is A Colorful Action Shooter That Plays It Safe

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Inspired by retro classic Arkanoid, BlockStar VR marks Immersive Division’s first original VR game. Going hands-on with the Meta Quest 2 version, here are our full thoughts from EGX London 2022.

Certain genres naturally fit VR better than others. Odd exceptions occasionally challenge this but between hits like Half-Life: Alyx and Superhot VR, there’s a reason VR shooters remain king. It’s a crowded market but by taking inspiration from classic arcade games, BlockStar VR attempts something different. This doesn’t always land but Immersive Division’s chaotic debut is certainly vibrant.

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Described as a “VR shooter that tests your reflexes and accuracy,” BlockStar VR’s premise is simple: shoot waves of blocks.  Across the 40-mission story mode, there’s 12 modifiable guns available that you can equip with lightning beams or plasma shots, alongside “crazy” power-ups like shot bouncers. There’s depth to this customization and potentially fun combos to be found. Beyond the campaign, there are two additional modes, challenge arenas and party mode. However, I couldn’t access either during my demo.

After selecting your loadout, it’s time to begin. Moving across a set platform, blocks arrive in waves but blind shooting isn’t advisable. Some are indestructible, while others have multipliers. Reloading only requires pointing your guns at the floor but BlockStar VR doesn’t take long to get busy, so don’t waste bullets. Success criteria differs between missions, giving you one main goal such as not missing a set amount of blocks. Side objectives are also present to provide an extra challenge, such as finishing missions with a set amount of HP.

With its varying wave patterns, BlockStar VR kept me on my toes. It has potential and while I didn’t experience this directly, expect “occasional WTF moments.” Beyond its colorful visuals, block placements in missions feel fluid and the loadout system has potential. All that said, I can’t shake the feeling that I should like it more than I actually did. This demo never gripped me and though gameplay feels functional, it also feels safe compared to other VR shooters. That isn’t to say it’s a bad game, but that moment where everything clicked never arrived – maybe I need more time with it. 

Immersive Division’s debut game has potential but right now, it just isn’t there for me. BlockStar VR doesn’t have a confirmed release date but will launch for $29.99 on Meta Quest 2, PSVR, Pico platforms, Pimax and PC VR via Steam

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