On-the-rail shooters aren’t all that common in VR. Don’t get me wrong – there are plenty of on-the-rails VR games, and plenty of wave shooters out there (some would even argue too many) but the two mechanics haven’t been combined that often actually. Enter Naked Sun. An on-the-rails shooter that brings you to the enemies instead of you having to wait for them to come to you. Which fits into the story of Naked Sun because, in it, you are a rebel fighter trying to infiltrate this alternate Earth’s capital, Mexico City. So you enter the city on a cargo train and have to face the robot military on your way towards completing your mission of bringing down the city’s automated defenses.
Naked Sun has released for HTC Vive and Oculus Rift on Steam at a $15.99 US price tag. I took a look at this on-the-rails shooter, using a Vive, and found that the game is the perfect option for people who are new to VR but while the game certainly impressed me with its clean-cut visuals, it lacked the sort of immersive aspects you’d want in a VR game. While I’m happy that we didn’t have just another a wave shooter on our hands, the immersion could have been amped up through some new interactive elements.
Instead, I was left gliding along, while shooting at enemies in the distance, with no real feeling of threat right in my face. Which is a little disappointing because you want some feeling of reality in your virtual reality and interaction and engagement is a big part of that. Even so, I could appreciate some of the combat elements in Naked Sun and the addition of hazards that need to be taken care of on the train track along with the various enemies was a great decision on the developers part. It helped create a sense of urgency because I had to shoot down those hazards before they reached me along the track.
Check out my gameplay video:
Naked Sun is great as an arcade title and I can easily see people play it with their friends in VR arcades, or maybe even at home. Simplicity is probably the most prominent feature in Naked Sun and it comes through in the clean futuristic visuals, as well as the pickup and play gameplay. There’s no character progression in the game, but rather, its progressed by the short story accompanying your journey into the city, towards the eventual resolution at the end.
This feeling of simplicity is carried over to the weapons you use in Naked Sun. I would have liked a lot more variety, given most of the game is very scripted and there aren’t many different types of enemies in the game. However, the game equips you with two pistols for dual wielding, a shield that can be activated with the left controller and a rocket launcher that can be activated with the right. Both the shield and rocket launcher are bonus elements that need to be recharged after every use, so it’s mainly up to your shooting skills with the two pistols.
Developer Door Z Studio produced a polished title with good pacing and action-packed combat that will, undoubtedly, be an enjoyable arcade experience. But the simplistic nature of Naked Sun paired with the lack of true player engagement through various elements in the environment does pull this game down. Even though there is a bit of interaction through various structures that you can shoot down onto enemies, this doesn’t really make up for the overall lack of oomph that you want from a VR game.
Even so, if you’re a big fan of VR shooters and have been looking for something new then Naked Sun should be right up your alley. The game is available now on Steam for HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.