An unexpected, but pleasant, consequence of VR has been the reinvigoration of unfashionable genres. Developers committed to the format are exploring fresh ways to tackle old ideas, exploring the new possibilities of the tech while adapting to its limitations. Just as Until Dawn: Rush Of Blood exhumed the lightgun shooter, and Secret Sorcery’s Tethered revisited the god game, Korix rebuilds the RTS from its foundations with the help of an intuitive interface, clever controls and an admirably robust challenge.
In conceptual terms, it’s nothing new. Each mission involves harvesting energy from a nearby crystal, constructing defences, assembling an offensive force and destroying your opponent’s base. Its battles take place on tiled stages, suspended in space against a backdrop of polygonal planets. Workers and soldier units may be nothing more than diminutive cuboids, but the adorable miniature tanks and aircraft you’ll command on later sorties have the tactile appeal of board-game pieces. The minimalist aesthetic means the action runs smoothly, even when your opponent sends out waves of invaders of two dozen units or more.
It’s vital you keep your workers protected. If taken out of commission, they’ll regenerate, but the delay will leave you with little energy to build new units. There seems no point investing in soldiers: having waited until we could send out a group of six, they were wiped out within seconds of reaching the enemy base by a fresh swarm of rival units. Even tanks are vulnerable to the sheer weight of numbers the AI pumps out, unless you hold back enough energy to send several at once. Your best bet, then, is to build walls to push deeper into enemy territory. Each new wall must be within a certain distance of the previous one, but they’re a cheap way to gain ground, and you can place lasers, artillery and pace-slowing pulsars on top, using your energy reserves to strengthen fortifications and upgrade your ordnance. They can also be used to funnel enemy groups towards your most powerful guns, while simultaneously delaying their arrival at your base.
The difficulty curve quickly steepens – perhaps too quickly. An assault on two fronts seems just too much for your meagre resources, especially when one crystal is depleted, forcing your workers into a long trek to a storage unit to harvest from another. Its extortionate cost will leave a sizeable hole in your defence budget. It’s the kind of balancing act that defines any halfdecent strategy, but here the scales are too firmly tipped in the AI’s favour. Still, that’s no issue in the thrillingly tense PvP skirmishes, which is where Korix may convince you VR is the ideal home for the RTS.
Earlier levels can be replayed with newly unlocked units in Skirmish mode. But the scoring system seems flawed, rewarding you for sustaining a battle long enough to destroy lots of enemies, rather than prizing efficiency