After all the great reviews for Vertigo 2, I decided to play Vertigo Remastered VR. I figured it’s short and good background to get into Vertigo 2. There’s no doubt it’s an indie game, but the level of VR gameplay is impressive. It’s all even more impressive that it’s a one developer game nailing better VR gameplay than many AAA studios.
Vertigo Remastered is Visually an Indie, but Gameplay is AAA
Arms and hands are fully modeled, which is a a plus. There are no legs though. No legs is not strange for many VR games, but weird when walking past a mirror. Not all the graphics are bad, there’s definitely plenty of nice set pieces with decent lighting and particle effects. Although still simple cartoon style, I do love the weapon models. A very fun sci fi look to them.
Gameplay is King
Even AAA studios cut corners and include simple graphics at times. The real greatness in VR revolves around the gameplay and Vertigo Remastered outdoes some studios with hundreds of employees. Most of the Virtual Reality interactions are done so well in this game.
Simple interactions like pushing buttons, sliding security cards, climbing ladders, moving levers, turning valves, etc., are boring in non VR games. This game takes the strength of hand controllers to turn these interactions into a big part of the fun. There’s smooth locomotion for movement, but the Teleport wand is a necessary and fun part of gameplay.
That Teleport Wand is expertly crafted. The vile on the bottom fills up with orange teleporter juice for upgrades (damage, teleporter distance, accuracy, etc.). The purple globe effect is great. I do like that after aiming at a teleport spot, I’d pull the globe to my face to see where I’m going like viewing through a portal. Bringing it closer to my face completes the teleportation. It’s a great teleport mechanic.
Vertigo Remastered’s Weapons are Simple, But Great
The weapons were also all top notch. Love the look and “feel” of the energy pistol. Great how reloading involved no cartridge, but rather a venting of the overheated gun with a button press. The energy wand was a nice melee weapon like a lightsaber. My favorite is the Assault/Sniper rifle duo.
It’s satisfying to physically slide the switch on that gun to go from rapid fire to single accurate shot with scope. Great taking long range shots, then a quick slide of the switch to take out crowds closer range. The only thing better is the energy chain gun I held in the climax. That Terminator style massacre of security bots was very satisfying.
Puzzles are Just Better in VR
Physics based VR puzzles are fun in Vertigo. Some revolve around run of the mill switches or valves, but fun in Virtual Reality. The more interesting puzzles are delightfully weird, including a giant grub powered door lock. Very weird stuff, but in a good way.
Vertigo Remastered Includes Unique Boss Fights
Another big gameplay strength for the game are the boss fights. Some are quite annoying at times, but inventive. On the annoying side was a giant angler fish alien with tentacles. Trying to bat away those tentacles while avoiding energy eye shots was a test. Took a few tries.
To contrast that boss fight, the giant oily slime eyeball thingy was a blast. I’d dodged waves of oil sludge and oil worms, while jumping from platform to platform. The blast is exactly how I took him down too. That fight stuck out with me, but all the creatures varied between weird aliens and sci fi robots.
Zulubo Productions is an Army of One
I previously mentioned some simple graphics contrasted with fantastic gameplay. What is infinitely more impressive is that the entire game has 1 main developer who also handled the music and artwork. Zulubo Productions revolves around 1 person, Zach Tsiakalis-Brown. He credits high school friends with helping with ideas, but he did the work.
It’s crazy that one person created a game that’s more fun than so many bigger studios could manage. The graphics don’t seem so bad with this in mind. It also amplifies how well done the gameplay is. There’s still some janky bits to movement and interactions, but again, a single developer.
After finishing Vertigo Remastered and seeing all the reviews for the sequel, I can wait to jump in Vertigo 2.