Korix

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PSVR

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

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