Imagine having a reputation as an intergalactic gladiator. Space and all that is around it is yours for the taking. The battles you would have, the flights that those young gladiators in training can only dream of, and the ability to come back and to tell the tales as only you can. It would be a glorious life to live that is for sure. But does Developer Llyr ap Cenydd show us what it’s like to crashland on an alien planet and try to survive so that you can be around to tell your tale? Let’s find out with Crashland for the Oculus Quest/Quest 2.
Crashland is a VR action horror game set on a hostile alien planet. You play as an intergalactic gladiator who is crashlanding and trying to survive until rescue. In doing so you fight off the creatures of this alien planet that you crashlanded on, gain XP points so you can level up, unlock perks, and alter how the game plays. Sounds simple right? Well, the concept is simple, your survival is not and I will get more into this in a few moments.
The first thing you will notice when you enter Crashland is you will see an options menu where you may want to do one thing. By default, the tunneling (blinders) is on which, for me, makes the gameplay off. You will want to click this option off if you do not want the visual tunneling at all. Now, that you are ready, it is time to crashland on that alien planet and try to master the pistol that you have, Broomstick, Scanner, and Teleporter to the best of your abilities. But you will need to go through the training to get used to everything and things are pretty simple as you would expect them to be. Use the left analog stick to walk, the right analog stick to turn, pull back on the right analog stick to turn around, and push up on the right analog stick to teleport. Just keep in mind, that teleporting is not unlimited and it will come in handy when you are facing these alien creatures from different directions. So use it wisely.
In your other hand, you also have the Boomstick which can shoot plasma grenades once you collect them, but also has a scanner so you can see where the alien creatures are coming from by the moving red dots as well as a countdown timer until you are rescued. During your time on this planet, you will also be able to collect powerups such as rapid-fire among others in hopes of having your survival chances increase so that you can be rescued only to then crashland again. Yep, you read that right, you crashland and trying to survive until you are rescued only to then crashland again.
Now, of course, you want to survive until you are rescued. The concept again is an easy one, the task, well, not so much. Crashland is hard no matter what difficulty you put it on. When you crashland on the planet, you will see your ship which is your home base. You also have a pretty wide area to move on the planet so you can either teleport away from enemies (remember to use them wisely), but there are these red type objects that are spread that when you shoot them, causes an explosion so if you can time it right, that explosion can kill enemies that are near it, but be careful not to be too close of you may receive some damage. So be on the lookout for these and move to them because you never know what or how many creatures are coming. But, it’s a nice assist to have when you need it. Some creatures you can just shoot and others you may need to hit a certain spot. Some creatures will get you with their tongue and basically drain your health away and some may try and electrocute you. So this is not a game where you will just want to stand in one spot and hope for the best, it’s one that you will need to move and hope for the best.
Each mission will give you a description of what you are about to face. Things such as what weapons and perks (such as slow-motion and auto-turrets to name a few) you can collect to the type of creatures you will face and will also show the amount of time you must survive. Mission 2 for example, Arachnophobia, is all about spiders. Some of the spiders for example are small but can travel with others, some are big and like to shoot web balls at you so you can get stuck and not move as the spider is moving around watching your health just drift away, and oh look, more spiders. Then you get the big spiders that seem to be 20 feet tall. These are the ones you hope your aim is good enough for those plasma grenades to stick and just keep shooting at them as you have only 5 minutes to survive in, which when you think about it, is not that long, but it can seem longer. Just remember to look at the timer on the scanner to have an idea and just try to keep moving.
I cannot tell you how many times I died on this level and there were times where I was seconds away from being rescued. It was very frustrating. Maybe it was because I crash landed on this alien planet and that was the reason all these creatures were angry and hostile because I landed on their planet unasked and unannounced, but it did not make me give up, in fact, I wanted to keep going until I succeeded. There was no way I was just going to be stuck on this mission and that was it. Then I looked at the settings and I noticed something and decided to try it. By default, Aim Offset is off. I turned it on and it seemed to help me. That or the number of attempts at this level gave me enough practice to move on. Either way, I was able to move on to see new environments and creatures.
Let’s look at the graphics and sound here. The graphics of Crashland on the Oculus Quest 2 look very sharp and I love the missions where you can see how dusty the environment really is. The smoke from the ship from when you crash-landed is just the right amount where it doesn’t distract you but is a nice effect. The sound is also top-notch from when you are crashlanding to hearing the weather effects of the planet to the gunfire penetrating with each shot into the creatures is awesome and just adds to the overall experience.
There are a few things that I would love to see added. For one, the difficulty levels. Even with the easiest difficulty and having the highest amount of health, will be challenging and at times, frustrating for many players. I know the developer is working on it. And the only other thing I would love to see is more additional levels down the line. For a solo developer who took what started out as a tech demo for the Oculus Rift development kit and made it what it is now for the Oculus Quest 2, is pretty awesome.
Crashland gives us the action and frustration to not give up, but the determination to not let those frustrations stop us from making our dreams come true to the best of our abilities. For those dreams become the ideas which can become the creations of the hopes and dreams of others. And with everything going on in the world today, couldn’t we all use more hopes and dreams in our lives?
Crashland is out now on the Oculus Quest/Quest 2 on the Oculus Store. A review code was provided.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I have some leaderboards to climb and more perks to unlock.