I’m a big fan of dungeon-crawling adventures and I love PlayStation VR, so naturally Trickster VR: Dungeon Crawler appealed to me from the get-go. I mean, traversing across multiple environments and killing Orcs with a huge variety of weapons? Count me in. Add to that the fact that it offers support for online multiplayer and I was sure it was going to be something special. In fairness, it does manage to deliver a lot of entertainment too, though a lack of variety sees it falling short in some areas of design.
Trickster VR sees you working across an assortment of environments, all to kill as many Orcs as you can and complete the objectives that are given to you. You’ll find gold and earn experience points along the way too, though you don’t level up in the conventional sense – instead, it’s based upon the weapons you use to defeat your enemies. It’s like a first-person dungeon crawler, though with less of a focus on collecting loot and more on killing Orcs.
You’ll control the game with two Move controllers with one assigned to each hand. Movement is easy enough, with the face buttons turning your direction on one controller and the Move button on the other controlling your movement. The game deserves some credit for offering a lot of depth with its movement controls, with everything from the movement speed, the angles you turn at, and even the addition of a vignette in place to ensure players can find a control method that works best for them. PlayStation VR gamers can find movement-heavy games a little daunting when they’re getting used to the headset, but Trickster VR has plenty of comfort options available to ensure everyone will have an easy time getting to grips with the game’s dungeon-crawling.
One of the game’s best features is the assortment of weapons that are available. Whilst you start off with a basic bow, throwing daggers, and sword and shield, you’ll eventually unlock great swords, dual swords, hammers, crossbows, and even a magical fire-shooting staff. All of the weapons come equipped with a special move which gives you a quick and powerful attack when you catch yourself in an awkward situation, whilst you can also upgrade their stats as you level them up to make them become more effective at slaying Orcs.
Best of all, each weapon is mapped perfectly to the Move controllers, giving you full freedom to swing and attack at your foes with ease. Alternatively, if you’re using the sword and shield you can protect yourself from incoming attacks with one hand and slice away at enemies with the other, which never stops being satisfying throughout the entirety of the game.
However, whilst combat in the game is certainly satisfying, it can be a little clumsy. You’ll often find that your attacks don’t always damage your enemies even if they do connect, whilst combination attacks don’t always recognise either. It’s an issue that’s more common with melee weapons as opposed to ranged ones, but it did cause frustration during some moments – especially when you’re inundated with enemies. Trickster VR can certainly be relentless with the onslaught of enemies it sends your way, so finding that your attacks aren’t effective when surrounded could be a little bit of a pain.
For the most part though, it’s fun to take down the Orcs. There’s a decent variety of enemies to take down including traditional warriors, archers, mages, shielded enemies and even hulking berserkers who’re quick to unleash their rage. One thing I appreciated was the variety of their attacks, with some focusing on simply getting up close to you and others taking you down from afar – those ranged assaults were the most satisfying to deal with though, mainly because you’re able to hit at any incoming arrows or thrown axes before they connect with you. I’ll tell you now, there’s nothing more gratifying in Trickster VR than quickly slicing an incoming throwing axe out of the air before it gets you and then quickly taking down your assailant with an arrow volley.
You progress through levels by clearing any objectives and then activating the portal at the end – easy. The only problem is that there’s not a whole lot of variety to the game’s levels. Sure, you’ll see a few different environments, but they all manage to feel the same with a simple re-skin being the main difference. If there was more variety in their design it’d be something, but you’ll see most of what Trickster VR’s levels have to offer after just an hour or two of play.
It ends up being its biggest problem, because it leaves the game feeling very repetitive. You’ll unlock additional levels with different objectives and difficulties, but they all end up feeling the same – it’s typically a case of just killing Orcs, finding treasure, and leaving. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a terrible cycle thanks to the fact you continually unlock new weapons to use, but I just wish that there was a bit more variety as I worked my way through the game.
One thing that makes the experience a whole lot better though is the online co-op, with up to three players able to work together to tackle Trickster VR’s many levels. I had a hell of a lot of fun playing through the game with a friend, with the addition of an extra player not only adding an extra tactical edge to proceedings but also allowing for more exciting battles against the Orcs. I played through a ton of levels in co-op, with my focus on up-close melee assaults and his ranged approach making us close to unstoppable at times. Fortunately, the addition of extra players ups the difficulty and amount of Orcs you face, so it doesn’t necessarily make the game any easier – it does make it a lot more fun to play though and certainly made the repetitive nature of the gameplay a whole lot more bearable.
I quite enjoyed my time with Trickster VR: Dungeon Crawler, with the great selection of weapons and neat combat mechanics coming together nicely to make for some entertaining battles with the Orcs. However, there’s a lack of variety in the level design that saw me growing tired of the same old gameplay formula after just a couple of hours of play, with most following the same design pattern and rarely offering anything distinct. Sure, they get a re-skin as you progress and do become tougher, but you never find yourself doing anything new.
At least the entertaining co-op options make it a lot more fun though and I had a blast taking down Orcs with a friend. Battling against the Orc threat with a couple of buddies is a heck of a lot of fun and the best way to experience the game, though if you’re planning on going solo it won’t take you long before you tire of Trickster VR: Dungeon Crawler’s repetitive dungeon-crawling formula.
Developer: Trickster Games
Publisher: Trickster Games
Platform(s): PlayStation VR (Reviewed), HTC Vive, Oculus Rift