After launching Ace Banana late last year, TVR are back with another release exclusive to Playstation VR. Ancient Amuletor is a tower-defense title that sees you defending a set of crystals from waves of enemies, something which you do by attacking your foes with ranged weapons all whilst quickly teleporting your way around different spots on the map. You do this as one of four characters that each have their own unique weapons that demand a different variety of movements with the Playstation Move controllers (which are compulsory – if you don’t own them, don’t buy it). Clear each wave of all enemies and you’ll progress to the next level, with an extra boss battle on offer at the end of each game world. It’s all simple stuff that you’ve seen done before already, but it’s pretty effective within the confines of the Playstation VR headset.
The game features four different characters to use: the dual-gun wielding Katie, the melee puppeteer Park, the spellcasting mage Harry, and the archer Lia. As you can imagine, each of these characters play completely differently in-game and utilise the Move controllers in a variety of different ways. Katie and Lia are probably the easiest characters to use, with their shooting and archery mechanics tried and tested in the virtual reality landscape across various games. You aim your guns and flick them to reload, or pull back with a move controller to shoot an arrow – simple. They both work well in-game though and I had little to no tracking issues whilst using them.
Harry and Park on the other hand offer something a little more original. With Harry, you have to absorb the power from your spell book with a flicking motion and then throw it at your enemies. Meanwhile, Park throws puppets to the battlefield that you can then control and unleash melee damage with by wagging your arms around. Each character plays in a completely different way and whilst it’s easy to quickly establish a favourite (Lia in my case), the fact you can switch between them freely means you can use all of their weapons to your advantage. Be warned though – the constant flailing of your arms can become tiresome whilst playing as some of the more physically demanding characters, so don’t be surprised if you’ve got to take a little break after a short while! All four of the characters are fun to play as though and their assorted weaponry ensures the game stays varied.
Whilst Ancient Amuletor is enjoyable to play though, it’s severely lacking in content. The game is made up of two worlds (Egypt and Rome) that consist of two levels each. These levels are easily beatable in under an hour, with nothing really offered to give you an incentive to return to them again. It’s a lacking return given the game’s price tag; we’ve come to a point with Playstation VR releases that games are starting to become a lot meatier and fleshed out, so paying £15 for something that’s over in under an hour is a bit ridiculous. There are some additional worlds on show in the menu, but they’re currently not available and are due to arrive as DLC in the near future. Whether or not they’ll be paid DLC isn’t clear at the moment, but those who expected a bit more bang for their buck will certainly be disappointed.
If Ancient Amuletor was a launch title for the Playstation VR it might have been easier to be a bit more lenient as far as the game’s content goes, but it’s just not good enough these days. There is variety on offer with its gameplay, but it really doesn’t have the depth to hook you in for the long term. It’s nowhere near a bad game in design, but there are too many better titles with a lot more on offer to spend your money on rather than a half-baked title that you’ll be done with after an hour.
There is one saving grace to the overall experience with the game offering a multiplayer option for up to three players. Ancient Amuletor’s gameplay works well in multiplayer, with the surprisingly strategic quick-paced action really complimenting the use of teamwork. Each of the characters offer something different with their playstyles too, meaning it’s easy for each player to work together and use their strengths as a way to rack up the highest scores. It’s not something you’ll find yourself getting utterly absorbed into, but at least it offers a little bit extra to the overall package.
The game is also pretty to look at with the cartoony style really complimenting the game’s historical setting. The enemies are each charming in design with foes like Mummys and Roman Soldiers quickly filling the screen, whilst the environments themselves are a pretty sight – my personal favourite had to be the Egyptian levels which had an enormous pyramid in the background. Again though, with the limited level choice on offer there’s really not enough variety on offer within the game. It’d have been something if there were a few more environments to explore, but with just the two at launch it’s hard to really feel blown away by the aesthetic.
Ancient Amuletor isn’t a bad by game any means, but it’s simply lacking in content. Whilst the roster of four varied characters is impressive, the small level count leaves a lot to be desired – you’ll easily see everything it has to offer in under an hour.
There is multiplayer on offer that’ll potentially prolong your time with the game, but overall there’s just not enough there to recommend a purchase. There are too many bigger and better games available on Playstation VR right now to make Ancient Amuletor worth investing in.
Release Date: 27/06/2017
Format(s): Playstation VR