Blasters of the Universe is a virtual reality bullet hell, wave survival, space shooter, and if that hasn’t sold you already, we’re not sure what will. Although this is far from the first shooter on PlayStation VR – with the likes of Shooty Fruity, StarBlood Arena, RIGS: Mechanized Combat League, Farpoint, and Until Dawn: Rush of Blood all available on the platform to date – this is definitely one of the better experiences.
The game is set in the 80s, where you take on the role of an arcade store owner who has just received the latest arcade console, Blasters of the Universe. Of course, as the store owner, you must set the high score so all of the children who come to play the latest and greatest arcade will leave disappointed. This entails you getting assaulted by wave after wave of vicious aliens that will fire projectiles in your direction. Luckily for you, only your head is vulnerable to the bullets, so you’ll be physically ducking and dodging to ensure you avoid taking damage while also returning fire. All the physicality certainly gets you working up a sweat. Along with the ability to dodge, you also come equipped with a rechargeable shield in your left hand that can be used to block any missiles you may not be able to dodge.
There are only four levels in total unfortunately, each lasting between 5 and 10 minutes, with a boss concluding every one. Although four levels doesn’t sound a lot, there's also a harder difficulty to play on once you’ve finished it on the default setting, and there are also online leader boards for you to compete for those all-important high scores.
Every stage takes place in a sci-fi setting where you’ll be fixed on the spot, only able to turn your head to look around. The enemies will approach from in front of you and occasionally to your sides, so you’ll definitely be turning your head a lot as there is no way to rotate without actually moving. This is no bad thing, however, as throughout our playthrough we felt we had all the movement we required to be able to spot enemies quickly and pick them off with ease.
Blasters of the Universe requires two motion controllers to play and uses them very effectively throughout. With one acting as a gun and the other as your shield, it’s vital that the motion tracking is spot on to ensure that the player is able to progress. From the moment we picked up the controllers, we couldn’t believe how precise and smooth the tracking was. We were able to hit precise headshots on aliens without a hitch, and even when moving the controllers in front of the headset, which often causes some hiccups in other games, it worked perfectly well. How this silky smooth tracking has been achieved is beyond us, but we hope other PSVR developers are taking notes.
The best feature in the game is the ability to completely customise your gun with different modifications. With a total of seven different guns and a whole load of totally interchangeable modifications to choose from – laser sights, shotgun spread, explosive shots, recharge reload, etc – the different combinations are practically endless. It feels great selecting what parts are going to make up your gun and trying it out in the firing range before entering a level. It gives you that extra sense of freedom that other shooters definitely lack.
Visually the game has gone for a charming 80s cartoon style with lots of bright colours and abstract shapes. That combined with its upbeat and fast-paced trance music creates a very frantic environment, perfect for the bullet hell space shooter which it hosts.
Blasters of the Universe is an absolute blast to play with silky smooth motion control and headset tracking that allows for precise shots to be pulled off with ease. The 80s cartoon style visuals, combined with the trance music, create a charmingly frantic environment for a bullet hell shooter to be set. Although its runtime is short lived, the quality of its gameplay makes Blasters of the Universe a very worthwhile venture.