When it comes to virtual reality, shooting games are to be expected because it is a genre well suited to the platform. In this medium shooters evoke memories of standing in a local arcade and playing light gun games, where you’d point at a screen and aim as your character moved forward through each scene. Pixel Gear is a game that should be perfect for the PSVR but it is incredibly short and it doesn’t have much variation to it.
Pixel Gear is one of the games on PSVR where you are required to use a Move controller, which simulates a gun. The control scheme is simple in that you aim with the controller and press the trigger button to shoot, with square taking care of reloading and circle activating a weapon’s special. I will say that the gunplay in Pixel Gear is really accurate and feels pretty weighty too, though there are only a few weapons to choose from. You have the basic pistol, a submachine gun, sniper rifle, and grenade launcher.
You could cycle through using all the weapons but with its unlimited ammo and great stopping power the starting pistol is easily the best weapon in the game. Getting headshots with that gun is easy which takes out most of the monsters in one hit. The submachine gun and grenade launcher are okay for dispersing crowds, while the sniper rifle got no use after its initial unlock. I was a little impressed when I brought the scope up to my eye to look through and spot enemies, but the sniper rifle feels useless compared to the pistol.
There are only three levels available in Pixel Gear and each follows the same formula. You’ll have a number of enemy waves with ever increasing numbers. After each wave ghosts and angels float up towards the sky with some ghosts carrying bonuses like gold coins. Ghosts do appear periodically during waves allowing you to get ammo or other bonuses. In between the waves there is a quick chance to upgrade a weapon, get some health, or more ammo using the gold before going back and shooting at the fray.
You do not move from your spot in Pixel Gear with enemies instead coming toward you from a 180° area. There are a number of enemy designs but outside of the end level bosses each can be dispatched with a few shots, though the bigger they are the more bullets they require to be destroyed. On normal mode there is really no threat as the waves shuffle around ignoring you for the most part, firing off a shot now and again which can be destroyed by shooting it. Hard difficulty is where the real challenge lies as more enemies appear and take notice, with projectiles coming in from all sides at a faster rate.
The three end bosses offer the only real change of pace in Pixel Gear though, each having its own weak points that need to be hit to defeat it while you also keep away the smaller monsters. However the bosses aren’t a huge challenge and even with them a playthrough on normal difficulty takes just under an hour. You could replay the stages to improve your rank and unlock the various trophies rewarded for killing a certain type of enemy a number of times, but the truth is Pixel Gear gets very boring very quickly.
I’ve played a lot of different titles using the PSVR since it launched and Pixel Gear is a game that underwhelms. It’s voxel style graphics look decent in the setting but after just a few rounds you’ve experienced around 90% of what the game has on offer. I felt myself getting bored before even completing the first boss, and while I think the designs are good they feel wasted here.
Pixel Gear is the first VR game I have felt underwhelmed by. Once the initial awe of looking around a voxel world wears off you’re left with quite a dull wave shooter that lacks any depth to it. The whole experience takes an hour to see and bar raising the difficulty or trying to beat a score there really is no reason to go back. Yet it has some of the most responsive shooting in a VR game which is one of the sole highlights, which other developers should take note of. It just feels like Pixel Gear needed more time and content before being available for purchase.