Jeff Pobst admits that it’s probably not a new Rift owner’s first thought to go out and buy a tower defense game, but Defense Grid 2: Enhanced VR Edition proved to me how compelling a tower defense game can be in VR. It’s a tabletop scale strategy & puzzle, building game where you’re trying to stop all of the waves of aliens before they steal all of your cores.
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Hidden Path Entertainment has integrated a lot of really interesting information visualizations including a heatmap overlays and a point progression graph so that you can compare yourself to your friends. These are some very interesting visual cues that enable to track your progress and efficacy of your decisions over time, and one that was difficult to implement but dead simple to understand.
There’s also a very simple interface that even supports the minimalist input of using an Oculus remote, and Jeff said that they wanted to have a limited set of simple verbs and actions you could take. This allows you to get deeply immersed within this beautiful levels and while completely focusing on the strategic gameplay.
One of the more delightful surprises is that Defense Grid 2 integrates a hidden object mini-game that encourages you to fully explore and look at their beautiful miniaturized levels in great detail. You can switch between the third-person tabletop view and a first-person tower view in order to watch the action up close, but also get a lot of new perspectives on the different levels.
I had a chance to catch up with Jeff Pobst, the CEO of Hidden Path Entertainment, and the Oculus Game Days event. I was struck with how excited and passionate he was about this game, and it’s one of those games that actually works really well within VR even if it’s not a genre of game that you immediately associate with wanting to play in VR.
Jeff says that there’s anywhere from 14-15 hours worth of gameplay in addition to the many difficulty levels, and a variety of different puzzles and opportunities to cultivate your strategic decision-making skills. Defense Grid 2: Enhanced VR Edition is an Oculus launch title with a comfortable rating, and sells for $29.99.
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Theme music: “Fatality” by Tigoolio