Fans of VR wave shooters certainly have no shortage of choices when it comes to available games. Robots, zombies, robot-zombies, you name it. Some come with good stories, some come with no story at all. A few even try to bring new life into the genre with unique mechanics. Some have you just shut off your mind and pull the trigger. So, where does MiroWins’ western themed wave shooter, Guns’n’Stories: Bulletproof VR, fit into the mix?
Well, it’s time to find out. With the full release finally upon us and a large content update available, the only thing missing is a bottle hooch. Coming in at a $19.99, join me as I take a look at what the latest wave shooter for the Vive, Rift, and WMR platforms has to offer.
The Long and Short
The concept here is pretty simple. Your grandson is pumping you full of booze in order to get you to tell him a story from your glory days in the old west. Just how much of this story is true is up for debate. But, as long as the booze flows, you are happy to spin a tail of gun fights, overwhelming odds, and damsels in distress.
Instead of reinventing the genre, MiroWin keeps the player entertained with over the top humor and pop-culture references throughout. From rocket shooting drones to enemies sporting sombreros and combat vests, this your typical western setting. In all honesty, this design choice is the only thing that makes this game stand out against other wave shooters. So, it’s good to see that they totally embraced this aspect throughout.
You get three chapters to the main storyline, each with three acts that conclude with a unique boss fight. The total time for the story mode runs just shy of two hours, but you do unlock arcade modes as you complete each act. The recent update also adds six more game modes that have you doing everything from saving booze, to keeping a brothel safe from horney cowboys.
Wave After Wave
The gameplay is fairly basic. Waves of bad guys will attack from every possible angle and you have to shoot them down. You will unlock a new gun type each round and once its unlocked, you have access to it in the arcade mode. The guns are actually pretty silly. At one point you have a crossbow that launches TNT, at another you have a blaster that also fires a gravity-well grenade.
Unfortunately, when you are introduced to these new weapons, you are also forced to complete the level with them. If you’re not a fan of the gun, you’re probably not going to enjoy that level as much as you would if you could just pause and select a gun from your unlocked stock. You can always turn down the difficulty to just blow through the level, but who really wants to be that guy?
Overall, you get a nice mix of levels and the six new game modes add more variety to the mix. The game does have some flaws in the level designs, with some levels giving you absolutely no cover to use. While you can shoot away or block enemy gunfire, this game throws enemies at you like crazy and it feels cheap at times to not have some cover to compensate for this.
Getting A Grip
The controls in Bulletproof VR are solid. Triggers shoot, grip buttons grip and that is about it for gameplay controls. This is a seated or standing game, but I highly recommend standing so you can do your best to avoid gunfire where possible. Besides, it feels way more natural when your dual wielding six-shooters.
The aim does take a little getting used to. It doesn’t feel completely accurate, but this is definitely not a game for precision firing. You will be putting so many rounds down range that it’s extremely easy to get a bead on your targets. The game comes complete with all the basic menu options for sound and graphics, and you can switch out to left handed if you need to. Unfortunately, I did not find a way to re-center the view during gameplay, but I only ran into one or two instances where I would have needed to.
Like a Purdy Flower
Graphically the game looks great. You can tell they had a lot of fun sneaking in all kinds of pop culture references and absurd clothing on the enemies. The first boss is ridiculously funny when he comes rolling out as well. Overall, the polish on the game is really nice and the western theme really shines in the level designs.
The same love in the graphics, extends to the sound design in this game. The voice acting is well done and funny as hell. You get a good range of sound effects that all hit the right marks during gameplay. Even the soundtrack fits in this game. If you don’t like it, you can just shoot the band and call it a day.
At Least It’s Not Zombies
As I mentioned above, I do have a few issues with Guns’n’Stories: Bulletproof VR. The challenge primarily comes from overwhelming numbers. Not uncommon in wave shooters at all. But, several levels leave the player standing right out in the open and that feels like bad design. Yes, you can block enemy fire with your gun, but at a normal difficulty setting, the waves come fast enough that it still feels overwhelming at times.
Having that little bit of cover gives the player a choice to make, and that just makes things all the more engaging. Forcing the player to use a specific gun in the story mode also takes away from the enjoyment. It would have been great to see an option pop up to select your weapon of choice after a minute or so with the gun, or a menu option would have been awesome.
So, the sun is setting and I am riding off on my burro. What do I think about Guns’n’Stories: Bulletproof VR? When it comes down to it, this is just another VR wave shooter. However, the story, setting, and humor make it stand out in a sea of zombies and robots. It doesn’t take long to tell that this was a labor of love for the devs and that shines through the basic gameplay. While this probably won’t capture the interest of players that have had their fill of wave shooters, those of you that are into them will enjoy what it brings to the table.