Virtual reality has seen some changes over time, and one genre that seems a bit old-fashioned now is the wave-based shooter. In the early days of VR, it was a straightforward and thrilling way to bring shooting mechanics to VR games without worrying about motion sickness. However, in recent years, developers have come up with innovative solutions to motion sickness, giving rise to more intricate and sophisticated games.
Galactic Rangers, in many ways, takes us back to those early days of VR games. It’s a rather typical wave-based shooter that sets you on a platform armed with two versatile guns, one in each hand, which can also double up as shields when needed. Waves of enemies zoom towards you, and you must evade or deflect their incoming shots while embracing your inner Boba Fett to eliminate them.
If you’ve ever played Space Pirate Trainer, Galactic Rangers will feel quite familiar. In fact, it appears to be quite openly inspired by that game. However, there’s one significant twist in Galactic Rangers, setting it apart from most wave-based titles. Your platform, which bears a striking resemblance to a Star Wars landspeeder, races through a massive space battle, weaving around colossal ships and space debris as the conflict unfolds. This dynamic adds an impressive layer of spectacle to the experience.
Witnessing enormous ships warping in and out of the battle as you speed through the debris, all the while engaging in combat with space samurais attempting to board your speeder, is genuinely thrilling. The sense of scale and the sheer chaos unfolding around you immerses you deeply in the feeling of participating in an epic space skirmish.
The game features separate levels, each with its own unique visual design and distinct progression. It’s truly remarkable how this variety in level design, along with a sense of advancement, breathes life into the typical wave-based format. It infuses the game with a vibrant and dynamic quality that sets it apart from your standard wave-based shooter.
However, the game’s limited offering of only four levels is a bit disappointing. You’ll explore all the game has to offer within just one to two hours. While there’s a hint that more episodes might be on the horizon, as of this review, you can only access Episode 1. There’s also a ‘Defence Mode,’ but it confines you to a stationary platform and merely throws different enemy attack patterns at you. Unfortunately, this mode strips away the game’s best elements and feels less polished compared to the rest of the experience.
When it comes to the gunplay, it’s entertaining but somewhat lacking in precision and feels oddly sluggish. This is the first VR game I’ve encountered that seems to grapple with noticeable input lag. Swiftly moving the guns results in a noticeable delay between the positions of your hands and the guns themselves, making it seem like they wobble into place even when your hands have already settled. Additionally, there’s a frustrating lag when attempting to deploy your shields, leading to moments of annoyance when it feels like the game doesn’t respond promptly enough to your input.
When it comes to the core gameplay, I noticed that avoiding some enemy fire felt downright impossible, and there were moments when the screen became so crowded with enemies and explosions that I completely lost track of the action. Additionally, certain power-ups, like time-slowing abilities, didn’t quite deliver the expected edge, leaving me somewhat underwhelmed. These factors come together to paint a picture of a game that’s enjoyable in short bursts but appears somewhat haphazard, with gameplay mechanics that seem a bit underdeveloped.
Unfortunately, Galactic Rangers falls short when compared to Space Pirate Trainer, especially in terms of that crucial second-to-second gunplay. Space Pirate Trainer boasts a smoother and more satisfying experience, with its core mechanics distilled into a supremely engaging gameplay loop. In contrast, Galactic Rangers feels like a somewhat constrained imitation, despite its more dynamic and intriguing environments. It’s a missed opportunity, and I couldn’t help but think that with some polished gameplay mechanics inspired by Space Pirate Trainer and more dynamic environments to traverse, it could have blossomed into a genuinely enjoyable arcade shooter.
In reality, though, no matter how you slice it, Galactic Rangers feels outdated and struggles to compete with the games it heavily draws inspiration from.
Turning to the graphics, Galactic Rangers also lags a bit behind the times. While the levels boast intricate details and occasional visual highlights, like the fascinating gun transformations for different ammo types, the overall presentation appears somewhat soft and blurry. What’s more, there are no in-game settings to enhance the visuals. Explosions and other visual effects come off as rather flat and two-dimensional in the headset, and I was disappointed to witness a significant drop in frame rate during action-packed sequences. It caught me off guard how poorly the game performed on my 1080/Index setup, with noticeable choppiness at crucial moments, proving to be quite distracting.
Back in 2016, with some extra content and a good dose of polish, Galactic Rangers could have stood as a formidable contender. But here we are in 2020, and the landscape of VR gaming has evolved significantly. What’s more, it’s hard to overlook the fact that everything this game attempts has been executed more masterfully elsewhere.
Galactic Rangers stumbles with a noticeable lack of refinement in critical areas and gameplay mechanics that seem clumsily implemented. Coupled with a shortage of content, it’s challenging to wholeheartedly recommend. For those who are relatively new to the world of VR and hunger for a taste of space shooting, it might provide a brief diversion. However, it’s worth noting that there are decidedly more compelling options available in the VR gaming realm.
Final Thoughts: Score of 6/10
Step into the immersive world of Galactic Rangers VR, a thrilling first-person space action game that truly captures the essence of an arcade shooter. Prepare yourself for an interstellar adventure as you venture deep into the cosmos, facing off against relentless waves of space pirates. In this exciting journey, you assume the role of a Galactic Ranger tasked with thwarting the nefarious space pirates. Your readiness will be put to the test!
You’ll get the latest gadgets, but the path you forge is yours to command. Grasp your trusty pair of blasters and engage in an epic battle against ceaseless hordes of adversaries, pushing your limits to survive as long as possible.
Now, when it comes to the price, Galactic Rangers VR comes in at £19.49. Regrettably, this price tag feels rather steep, especially when you consider the game’s limited content and the evident lack of refinement in its core gameplay mechanics. In the same price range, you can acquire far superior and more polished wave-based shooters like Space Pirate Trainer and Raw Data.
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