Drifter Entertainment's VR shooter Gunheart probably shouldn't be as goddamn charming as it is. But Drifter Entertainment really knows how to pull out the stops with the customization tools, and so Gunheart is freaking adorable. Because it also pits you up against some really heinously hideous bug-like aliens. Which, in VR, is somewhat uncomfortably close.
But the cosmetic choices and "social tools" really do make a difference. There's nothing like pulling out a foam finger to point at the buddy who sat back and let you be swarmed, after all. Plus, because you have so many ways to move, it's pretty tricky tell if your allies are standing or sitting. Which, again, not much of a problem in most games. But it's a nice touch for a VR game that lets you move by strafing, teleporting, or walking. The fact that movement by any of those forms is relatively painless and not at all nauseating is also a plus.
The game world is also pretty darn gorgeous, which helps endear Gunheart to me. I'm a soft touch for well-crafted VR worlds. While you do miss some of the detail thanks to the Vive and Rift's optical sights, the world is designed entirely for VR which allows it to retain quite a deal more depth and character than some other VR titles.
But the world of Gunheart isn'r just pretty. Its also fun. You've got a bar set up as the multiplayer lobby, with areas to change your customization options, and a shooting range. So you can kind of meet up with your friend for to shoot at some targets, then kick back in the bar and hang out. Just, in VR. It's such a simple thing, but it goes a long way to making Gunheart lobbies more entertaining than just a loading screen.
And while they are not my favorite, those bug monsters I mentioned earlier are also impeccably detailed. Gross, but detailed. That said, they die with an incredibly satisfying crunch. The combat is an absolute joy in and of itself. VR shooters are fun, alright? It's a totally different approach to an FPS when you actually need to use your own hands to aim. Gunheart gives you two weapons, one for each hand, and of course, you can combine them into a heavy weapon by crossing your hands in front of you. So, it's got a little bit of that classic gunslinger flair.
The game also has some light RPG elements to level up weapons, which will keep you playing even though the PvE options are a bit slim while in Early Access. PvP is an option, which gives you some more content to work through. However, the game is always online, which might be an issue for some.
Now, because Gunheart is still in early access, the game does get a bit buggy sometimes. You know, with gameplay bugs. Not just the alien ones. However, the dev team at Drifter Entertainment have been releasing patches every couple of months that help patch the exploits and bugs as well as release new content. The biggest issue you might encounter is a drop in performance thanks to heavy server load, which is not ideal for VR. That said, it is still in development, so the occasional problems are par for the course.
While Gunheart is still being worked on, hanging out in-game for the last few months has been an absolute joy. I'm incredibly psyched to see what the finished project is like, because it is a unique property. And at the moment, it has a great community — which can make or break an online game.