I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve written about a VR wave shooter. At their core, they’re all the same. Most of them don’t let you manually move yourself around, locking you in place. Enemies attack from a multitude of angles, racking up the stress and intensity. You often have an assortment of weapons to fight back with. In some cases, you might even have different levels and environments to look at over the course of the short experience. If you get more than an hour or two of novelty out of it, that’s rare.
Arcane from Offpeak Games more or less falls into all of those same buckets. There isn’t a whole lot of depth here, but what it lacks in originality, it makes up for with polish and striking visual detail. Since it doesn’t take place in some sort of sci-fi hellscape with lasers and robots, that automatically sets it apart from the majority of its competition.
Rather than shooting down your adversaries with guns, you’ll deflect fireballs, swing massive swords, and duck behind your magical shield. Arcane is a game that trades futuristic weaponry for the fantastical and whimsical environment that looks like something ripped out of the pages of a book based on Merlin.
Instead of simply asking you to survive, as you play through the game you’re slowly progressing to the top of a mountain. That lends a certain degree of progression to the experience, ensuring that you feel like you’ve accomplished something as you play, even if it’s still just a simple wave shooter at its core.
There isn’t a whole lot of enemy variety right now and other than swords, gauntlets, and shields, there isn’t much weapon variety yet either. But for a cheap experience that employs a relatively fresh take on the tired VR wave shooter genre, Arcane gets the job done as long as you’re not completely burnt out on wave shooters at this point. If so, it doesn’t quite reinvent the wheel. There’s no multiplayer and no fancy features to really pique your interest.
You might be thinking that the name Offpeak Games sounds familiar, and that’s because this isn’t the first VR game from these developers. Previously they released Valiant, a horseback jousting multiplayer-only title. By shifting focus to a low-poly art style, focusing on single player action, eschewing locomotion, and honing in on core gameplay mechanics, Offpeak has pivoted to a very different style of VR game.
While Arcane is technically a full release and is not an Early Access title, unlike Valiant, plenty of updates are still on the horizon. The roadmap on the Steam page outlines new weapons such as a battle staff, new boss battle, new enemies, leaderboards, and more.
If you’re interested in seeing if this magical wave shooter can cast its spell on you, Arcane is available on Steam with official HTC Vive support for $9.99 with a 20% launch window discount.