Captain ToonHead vs The Punks from Outer Space is a wave shooter/tower defense hybrid designed exclusive for VR by Teravision Games. It’s out now for PC-based headsets as well as the Oculus Quest platform – which is how we tested it.
As with most wave shooters that came before in VR, you play Captain ToonHead from a first person perspective, going up against the alien forces of Nicholas Voorhees – who we imagine to be a mix of Nicolas Cage’s intensity and the murderous tendencies of Jason. The story is a surprisingly integral part of the experience as well, although the setup mostly serves as a premise in which someone’s using “Enercubes” to try and destroy everything you know and love. Cue you as Captain ToonHead, with your assortment of crazy guns to try and stop all that from happening.
As you’d expect from a wave shooter, most of the action takes place from a stationary perspective, though you have the ability to teleport between different turrets on each map – called ‘toonrets’ here for obvious reasons. As you’d expect from the title, Captain ToonHead has a cartoon-like presentation, which can mostly be seen in wacky enemy designs. The backdrop mostly consists of brownish hues on account of the garbage dump of a planet you’re on, but despite a less than inspiring scene it works well for contrast.
Enemies parade across each scene trying to get to the other side, and they’re a pretty colorful bunch of cartoon style adversaries, ranging from robots to T-Rexes and sharks. Your arsenal is equally silly though, as you can expect to launch hot sauce or piggies that explode upon contact – the Angry Birds would love it. As with typical tower defense games, different weapons work better against different enemy types, so expect to switch around quite a bit and for things to get hectic as you zoom across the different turrents on the battlefield.
You build and upgrade your turrets by spending the spoils of war that you get from taking down enemies. You’ll use special hammers to collect loot, and you’ll also use them to add and improve turrets in between all of the wave shooting action. Placing units is really intuitive if you’ve ever played a tower defense game too – just point to a vacant (but predefined) spot, select which type of turret you want there, and before you know it you have a new vantage point available to you. More and more upgrades become available to you as well, and you’ll need them because your default shooter gets increasingly useless as enemies become more powerful.
Bringing the world of Captain ToonHead to life further is its plot, which is brought to life in part with voiceover work and a script that tries very hard to be funny. Some jokes fall completely flat though, but we’ll admit that there were a few that made us smile. It probably didn’t help that the delivery of the voiceovers wasn’t the greatest we’ve heard either – something that’s especially troubling when attempting comedy.
Captain ToonHead vs The Punks from Outer Space is a solid blend of a wave shooter and tower defense gameplay, but also falls into a few familiar pitfalls. While upgrades and more challenging enemies make for a sense of progression, the core gameplay remains the same and starts feeling a bit repetitive after a while. The quality of the story isn’t enough to make you want to ignore that either, so this is a game best played in shorter bursts. Its well implemented mechanics and crazy aesthetic make those bursts fun, and this an easy game to recommend.