When do you know you’ve gone too far? When your hobby turns into an obsession and your clockwork creatures start taking over Victorian London. Set in 1892, the story of SteamHammerVR: The Rogue Apprentice is one of raving madness and obsession with gears, mechanisms and setting an order to the lives of the people of London.
SteamHammerVR: The Rogue Apprentice from GamestormVR released on Early Access last year and has now gone out of EA to release on Steam for HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. The roomscale wave shooter combines unique weapons and an intriguing narrative to bring something new to the wave shooter genre. Not to mention the well-crafted steampunk theme. I could see the meticulous details the developers incorporated to really get that viVictorianra steampunk feel.
Check out the trailer below:
There are eleven locations in this the story mode, starting with the streets of Victorian London near an Irish pub and ending at Professor Rattwurm’s manor. The story starts out with me in the streets of London while the professor’s clockwork rats swarm the streets, his voice urging people to give in him through loudspeakers on their backs. Another person called Doctor Obadiah Springhorn then rescued me from the streets aboard his Airship called the ‘Horndenburg’. He then introduced himself and told me that I will protect the people because I am now the SteamHammer.
No idea how this happened, but sure let’s go with it. I could then go to the training room to test out all of the weapons he created. Luckily, none of them have bullets – it would have been a shame to have ended up like the Hindenburg, before we could even defeat the guy trying to take over the city. I liked the story and most of the acting is good, though the voice acting of Professor Rattwurm sounded cheap and nasal at times.
So while the story mode takes a while to complete, it still only offers about three hours worth of gameplay. Luckily, the developers also added an arcade wave shooter mode, called Seek & Destroy Mode, for replayability. In this mode the goal is obviously to see how many points and combos you can get before you’re overwhelmed. This mode takes place in four different locations, including the streets of London, a ‘Bar Room Brawl’ in the Skillington Arms, the ‘Big Ben Bash’ and the Tower of London.
SteamHammerVR Offers Unique Weapons and Combos
I enjoyed that I could equip different weapons that would combo well together. Some of the most fun I had in SteamHammerVR was trying to figure out which combinations would work well together and against which enemies. These weapons include things like a sawgun, a magnet gun, a tesla gun that shoots lightning, and a steamhammer that punches enemies using a steam mechanic. So there’s lots of good variety to choose from and I could also earn upgrades for them as I completed the levels. A cool feature that goes with this is the addition of voice commands that the developers added.
These are simple one-word commands that lets you switch between the weapons without having to look down at the controllers to do it the manual way. Which is good since there are also a lot of different enemies and switching between weapons quickly is sometimes needed in order to defeat them. The fighting got extremely crazy sometimes where the air around me would turn completely white with explosions as I killed the oncoming clockwork creatures. This was very disorientating at times since I could basically see nothing during those flashes and so just kept swinging blindly, hoping I hit something.
Fighting Off the Waves
I basically stood still in one place for most of the game, though it does offer limited teleportation at least. Certain spots in the environments are marked by magnet-like objects which are set at intervals to which you can teleport. While this still feels limiting – especially in an environment such as the streets of London – it’s still better than just standing in one spot the whole time. The teleporting also served another purpose. Sometimes I had to get near a certain location to help people who were trapped or being overwhelmed by the clockwork creatures. Also, there were times when my steamhammer would just bounce off of the enemies, or when I tried to hit one enemy with another using the magnet they would also just bounce off each other. Meaning the swarm could quickly become unmanageable since I struggled to actually kill the clockwork creatures.
Another thing that felt a little debilitating at times during the fighting was the fact that some of the enemies, especially in the beginning, are small. So I had to keep looking directly down while fighting them, which meant that my headset kept slipping forward.
However, besides these few small nuances, the gameplay was satisfying and intense – I didn’t encounter any bugs either. So if you’re looking for a polished steampunk themed VR game then make sure to give SteamHammerVR a try.