Imagine if an alien army attacked earth and ALL of the greatest heroes were defeated. You’d give up all hope and accept the leadership of our new Alien overlords, right? Well, apparently not – you can actually call on the B-Team, a group of unconventional heroes that look to save the day despite their lack of conventional heroics. Desperate times call for desperate measures, I suppose…
B-Team brings quirky VR adventuring to the Oculus Quest, with it sending players on an assortment of missions that take place over three different environments: a jungle, a city, and the arctic. These missions adopt one of three different forms, with each seeing you utilise the four heroes’ abilities and weaponry in an assortment of different ways. You can switch between the heroes freely with the right-stick during missions, with each direction representing one of the four characters.
The running levels essentially feel like an endless runner, with players automatically sprinting in a straight line but having to move to avoid any hazards that are in their way. If you’ve played something like Temple Run before, it’s pretty much exactly the same but from a first-person perspective (and, of course, with the added immersion of virtual reality).
The mechanics of the running levels are pretty simple, though there will be instances where you’ll have to utilise the abilities of the four characters in order to overcome obstacles in your path. The Muscle can punch any aliens or walls that block your way, the Leader can mark targets and call an air strike to take them out, the Ranger can identify the correct path to run through hazardous areas, whilst the Engineer can use their hand-blasters to glide across long distances.
It’s up to you to work out when to switch characters, with very little margin for error in some levels. Fortunately, you start each level with four lives and can collect additional ones as you work through them (alongside medals which you can spend on loot at the main base). It’s a simple but enjoyable formula and it works quite well in virtual reality, with the running levels easily standing out as my favourite in B-Team. You should be warned, though: if you don’t have your virtual reality bearings, the constant running may not sit well with your stomach…
Do you enjoy wave-based shooting? If you answered yes, you’ll be glad to know that you’ll be doing plenty of it in B-Team. However, whilst there’s nothing particularly bad about the shooting in-game, there’s nothing exciting about it either – you just move between a series of fixed positions and shoot at enemies that randomly appear in each locale. Things are made a little bit more interesting thanks to the different weapons that characters have at their disposal and the varied enemy selection will keep you on your toes, but neither really offer anything that makes the shooting stand out in any way. It just felt a little bit too simple, with other wave-based shooters offering more exciting and diverse shooting mechanics.
There is another thing which bugged me: a lack of left-handed controls. I couldn’t find any way to change the hand that you hold your gun in, so you’re forced to shoot at enemies by using your right hand. Whilst I’m sure this won’t upset the majority of the population, lefties like me are going to find it a little bit frustrating.
Finally, the third kind of mission you’ll partake in are ‘rescue missions’. These are the most interesting and unique missions that you’ll find in B-Team, with each consisting of an assortment of mini-games that’ll challenge your skills in various ways. It might be a case of detonating bombs at the right time, cutting wires in a specific way to open a gate, disarming aliens whilst they’re not paying attention, or simply smashing them up with a sledgehammer – that’s just a few of the scenarios you may find yourself in too, with plenty of puzzling elements introduced to spice the experience up.
They’re decent little endeavours for the most part, though there were a few that fell short of the mark. One of the worst involved putting a key into multiple locks and finding the sweet spot to activate them before security was made aware of your presence, which just felt a little awkward and clumsy in design – it didn’t help that the game didn’t really explain what you need to do in each instance either, leaving players to try and figure things out themselves with the pressure of a short time limit. A lack of checkpoints on these missions just made failing in these clumsier scenarios a lot more frustrating, especially since you’d have to go through them all over again if you lose all of your lives…
When you’re not on missions, you’ll spend time back in the home base where you’re able to customise your characters, purchase and open loot-boxes, or just select the mission you want to head out on. In fairness, there are a wide assortment of neat customisation options to unlock which you can use to spruce up each character in your own little ways, though the fact that the game takes place from a first-person perspective did make customisation lose some appeal for me.
B-Team offers a varied and charming first-person experience for Oculus Quest gamers to sink their teeth into, though not all aspects of its gameplay always hit the mark. Sure, there’s nothing outright bad here and there’s certainly fun to be had across its twenty-plus levels, but there isn’t anything too exciting or memorable about it either.
Still, with its decent price-point and neat mixture of gameplay mechanics, B-Team is worth taking a look at if you’re itching to play something fresh on your Oculus Quest – just don’t expect to be blown away by anything that it offers.
Developer: Twisted Pixel
Publisher: Oculus Studios
Platform(s): Oculus Quest