Castlestorm VR is Zen Studios’ second outing on Playstation VR, and it follows a formula similar to their VR adaptation of Pinball FX2 which came out last year. And, just like that title, it’s another fun game that Playstation VR owners will want to take a look at.
Pinball FX VR wasn’t radically different from the non-VR version of the game, but it used virtual reality to great effect. The actual pinball action was very much the same as before – the one exception being that you were standing at a table with the freedom to look wherever you wanted using head movements. That’s not exciting, but Zen Studios added elements to the world in which you were playing that just wouldn’t be possible without VR. Playing a Walking Dead table, you’d have a girl hiding under or next to your table while one of the undead spent his time looking for her.
Castlestorm doesn’t seem to lend itself too well to virtual reality either when you look at the basic gameplay – it’s a 2D action strategy classic from the PS3/X360 era that has stood the test of time well despite staying true to its 2D roots. The visuals in the new VR version very much mimic the look and feel of the recent PS4 version in this sense as well, but the added depth and the freedom that head movement brings certainly add a new dimension to the game.
While the main game hasn’t changed much at all (though it does include all the DLC that was released since the original Castlestorm release), the presentation that surrounds it did get a lick of VR paint. Menus and cutscenes now play out in a virtual movie theater of sorts, which creates the illusion that you’re witnessing a story from an era long ago before the perspective changes and you view things from the battlefield – from the side, as you always did in Castlestorm. Thanks to VR technology, this now creates the feeling that you’re watching the action unfold inside a meticulously crafted miniature medieval fantasy world – one that you float above or peek at like a being in control of it all. The perspective is more hands-on and closer-up this time, to make better use of VR – this is especially clear for those who are used to playing Castlestorm with a more zoomed out perspective that allows you to see the entire battlefield at once.
The gameplay itself is identical to what Castlestorm players are already used to – defend your keep, destroy the oncoming hordes and/or their stronghold while you’re doing it. It’s still every bit as addictive as it was all those years ago, which is no small feat when you consider how populated the genre has now become. Does the VR element warrant another playthrough and another purchase though? That’s tricky, because you’re not getting much new in terms of gameplay, but at the same time it’s the kind of gameplay that is rock solid and part of a game you don’t want to miss. If you already have Castlestorm and want the added atmosphere that VR brings to it, you might consider picking this up. If you never played Castlestorm, then this is the version you’ll want to start with. It may not be the best VR game out there and VR was probably used to better effect in Pinball FX VR, but it’s still an excellent game – one that’s now available in VR.