Ever since I first watched Lord of the Rings and subsequently got teased at school for looking like Legolas, I’ve felt drawn to archery. So QuiVR, an archery-based tower defence game, had me excited to don my bow and arrow and live my best elf life.
Starting in a HUB area, a brief tutorial and a practice range introduces you to the intuitive controls. Yet, while the act of loading, drawing and firing your bow feels natural and instinctive, learning the specifics of the game’s often finicky archery poses a frustrating learning curve. Tracking issues persisted during my first hour with the game and my accuracy consistently seemed off, making hitting targets more than a dozen meters away near impossible.
Equally, I found myself becoming strained and uncomfortable after a short while of having my bow arm outstretched while moving my right arm over my shoulder, back and forth to load and draw the bow. After re-calibrating, re-positioning my quiver, and tweaking the settings to offset the bow and lessen the required drawback distance, I felt vastly more at home with bow in hand. Despite these adjustments, QuiVR is a challenging and often exhausting game, best played in short bursts and with the support of online teammates.
Each level consists of stages, each with a gate that has limited health and an orb that must be filled with the souls of your enemies to progress. Shooting glowing blue discs has you teleporting between vantage points, picking off waves of enemies before they can reach the gate while filling your orb. After several increasingly difficult stages, levels end in a strange “follow the cup” game. Here you must track and shoot concealed balls of energy before being rewarded with loot and moving onto the next level where difficulty again ramps up.
Getting into the flow of gameplay is immensely satisfying and pulling off long distance kills and successive headshot is a thrilling, empowering experience. Similarly, coordinating with teammates to most effectively positions yourself and focus on particular enemies makes for a frantic, tactical cooperative experience, particularly as things get increasingly hectic. Varied enemies, powerups and bosses keep encounters fresh and the addictive gameplay loop paired with loot, leaderboards and the thrill of online co-op is sure to keep players engaged to tens of hours.
QuiVR favours function over form with its passable visuals and audio acting to facilitate its gameplay loop. The garish art design also feels like an afterthought, and although the brightly coloured enemies stand out, making them easy to keep track of, clusters of these glowing goons can merge into messy masses, making them difficult to distinguish. While I tend to shy away from multiplayer, loot-based games I can see myself returning to QuiVR’s to keep up my archery skills or for the occasional online game. The game’s Move controls do provide an exciting blueprint for bow and arrow gameplay in VR which would translate perfectly to a more story-focused game in the vein of Falcon Age.
QuiVR is a one-trick pony, but the game’s unique hook of VR archery is addictive enough to keep it compelling. A tough learning curve and the demanding physicality of gameplay make this a difficulty game to get into, yet those who persist will be rewarded with a satisfyingly tactical and tactile experience that is at its best in online co-op.
QuiVR PSVR Review
QuiVR fulfills its promise of VR archery with satisfying, intuitive Move controls. While a tough learning curve makes it a hard game to get into, the joy of teaming up online with fellow archers and honing your skills against the hordes makes for a thrilling gameplay experience unlike anything I’ve played before.
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Reviewed using PS4 Pro.