Attack Of The Bugs Review (HTC Vive)
For the purposes of transparency, this review was created using a code provided by the company or their respective PR company. The use of a review code does not affect my judgement of the game.
Attack of the Bugs, attempts to bring a mix of strategy and first person shooter to the VR platform. The question is does the game make you feel like you are just killing the bugs with your humanly powers or a professional exterminator?
The game offers a very brief story. The idea is you are trapped down a hole, inside of cursed DVD in a B-Movie nightmare, where you have to defeat the Bug Queen in order to wake-up, and to this you have to survive the attack of the bugs. Ok, not a fantastic story, but it at least puts you in the situation the game is trying to set. In the case of this review, I will not score the story as per usual – because as mentioned above its more just to explain your situation, then tell a story.
What the game really concentrates on is its mix of gameplay mechanics, and making them work as an overall package – and this is what the games does well. As mentioned you are above you are trapped down a hole, meaning you play the game from waist height in the floor, meaning you do not have the freedom of movement. Throughout the rooms you’re placed in are boxes, which you need to get in order to top up your inventory/supplies. You may be asking, how do you do this when you are stuck in the floor?… Well, the game provides you with a grappling hook and you can use this to grab the boxes and drag them to you. So, this becomes a main part of the game, the larger boxes will take longer to real in that the smaller ones, but, brings better rewards. Meaning as it gets more difficult this becomes important in your planning.
The items you will get throughout the game from these boxes are toy soldiers who are an important part of the games objective (we’ll touch on this soon). Then you can get robots, which will serve are stationary turrets. You will then also get a nail gun, which is where the first person element is introduced, as you use these the eliminate the bugs that are thrown at you. In order to get your ammo for the nail guns, these are inside the boxes you collect. Finally the last item you can get is a pesticide spray, this is only a short-range weapon but this can be sprayed on the floor and walls close to you, and will stick around, but be careful as this can harm your soldiers also.
So, where does the strategy gameplay come in? Your objective to progress is to get the toy soldiers you collect into the Bug Queens nest. These toy soldiers and shot onto the floor, these will make their way towards the queens nest – and if required try to take out the bugs on the way. You then have the option of helping these or making sure that you are ready for the bug attacks. You then have the Robots mentioned, and placing these in a tower defence style can be important to your survival and completing your objective. The game also includes a very simple crafting system, from here you can craft a few different types of grenades, but these can dangerous to your own soldiers (as with the pesticide). You can also craft a flamethrower, but as you would expect this is most dangerous weapon for both the enemies and your own troops.
Essentially with the gameplay your objective is to get 10-12 toy soldiers into the Bug Queens lair in order to progress to the next mission, while fighting off the two enemy types (spiders and ants). As you progress the enemies will improve and offer some variety, where they could be wearing some armour or lay eggs. With this being a game in VR, the bugs will come from all type of directions from the rooms – be it any wall or even the ceiling. These will jump directly into your face, and if you are concentrating on something else at the time, it can be a decent jump scare.
The lack of variety in the enemies and the limited arsenal can make the game become a bit repetitive. The team at Empty Clip Studios have tried to make it a bit different by allowing the bugs to take out the power in the room, that then makes you have to use a torch. This means you can concentrate on your objective, but the enemy could be swarming you at the same time, or do you concentrate on the enemies and go back to the objective once the lights are back on.
You can fail in the game, this is done by running out of lives. You are given three lives in order to survive. If you take damage you can replenish your lives/health by collecting apples that are placed around the rooms.
Attack of the Bugs is one of those games where you would not say it looks visually great, but can not turn around and say it looks bad – it hits that middle ground perfectly. One thing I really liked is the easy/clean looking navigation and crafting menu, it really helps the game. The audio is quite basic also, even-though the noise of the scurrying of the bugs can put the shivers down your spine at times. But, the audio or visuals are nowhere near the worst I have seen in VR, or in any way game breaking.
With the way the game places you down the hole in the floor, this means that you can take on Attack of the Bugs from either a standing or seated position, but you will need to recalibrate it to get that position correct (which is easily done). The game is played using one tracked motion controller, which as you would expect from the first person element denotes your hand. Again at the start of the game, you will get the option of what hand you use left or right. Opening the inventory and navigating the menu when doing this is easily done, and it really helps you get the most out of the gameplay.
The game comes with 15 levels, which in total took me around 3-4 hours to complete. At first I thought the game would take no time at all, as I flew through the first half of the levels with ease. Then comes a difficulty spike of a huge proportion for the second half of the levels. There doesn’t seem like there is a middle-ground. This causes a number of deaths, which goes hand in hand with increasing the hours of playtime to complete it. The game also throws an endless mode at you, basically a mode where you have to get as many toy soldiers into the Bug Queens lair as possible, this just removes to targeted objective and the rest just plays the same.
The game is available now for the price point of £5.49. For what the game gives you in the amount of levels and in its endless mode, you can not complain about the value for money in Attack of the Bugs. I can certainly see myself going back and playing the game again.