Virtual reality (VR) has proven to be a great avenue for IP owners to explore when they’re looking to connect with fans in new ways. Prime examples include Owlchemy Labs’ Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality and The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners by Skydance Interactive, servicing fans desire for new content just in a different medium. The latest to follow this path is Olan Rogers’ Final Space series which has concluded after three seasons, leaving fans of Gary, Mooncake, Hue and the rest of the Galaxy One gang yearning for something more. The question is, can Final Space VR – The Rescue live up to the cartoons’ legacy?
In the hands of Knockout League creators Grab Games, Final Space VR – The Rescue drops you in the shoes of either Gary, Avocato, Nightfall, or Tribore on a mission to rescue the beloved, planet-destroying Mooncake. This all-new adventure pits you against a new foe STVN, an AI looking to utilise Mooncake’s extraordinary powers for nefarious means.
There’s a lot to get excited about – if you’re a Final Space fan – as this is an official tie-in. Gary and the gang all sound exactly as they should, with their own character traits such as Tribore’s classic phrasing. The still image cut scenes all look like they’ve been taken straight out of the cartoon and if you’re playing in co-op mode, seeing friends embody the animated cast really does look awesome.
What Final Space VR – The Rescue actually delivers though is a fairly generic shooter that’s very short and noticeably repetitive in single-player. The campaign plays out over three chapters, each one took roughly 30-40mins to complete on the normal difficulty setting. A harder mode is available but there isn’t really anything to encourage you back in, one shot straight through felt enough.
Essentially an elaborate wave shooter as you get locked down in rooms which you have to clear before moving on, enemies come in three flavours. You’ve got the robots (called S.A.M.E.S) with a basic grunt that charges, one with a rifle that keeps its distance (they do actually dodge and dive out the way a little), small annoying bugs which scuttle across the ground then leap at your face and flying drones. Other than the boss sections to break up the gameplay, walking through room after room facing the same basic opponents is a real misfire considering the amount of creatures Final Space featured over its 33 episodes.
To deal with these foes you can pick up a selection of weaponry along the way, a Pistol, SMG, Shotgun, Plasma Rifle and Grenade Launcher. None of them requires ammo and they all reload automatically. The four guns can instantly be reloaded by hitting the trigger at the correct moment. This quick reload feature is common in shooters but in a VR game where you’re dual-wielding, it becomes an unnecessary burden as the bar isn’t always in view.
You can arm yourself to the teeth though. Holding a total of four weapons – one on each shoulder and one in each hand – it’s very easy to switch between them depending on your strategy for each situation. They can all be held with both hands for a better aim yet without any recoil why bother, simply go out two shotguns blazing.
Final Space VR – The Rescue is noticeably lacking other interactive elements. There’s nothing to pick up as cookies to help heal you are automatically collected by walking through them and the same with door key cards. You don’t have to climb anything and there are no grenades to throw, the closest you’ll get is being able to gun butt enemies.
So the single-player isn’t really selling Final Space VR – The Rescue. However, Final Space was never just about one character and it is in the co-op where the experience really shines. There’s a random matchmaking option if you need it although what you really want is a bunch of Final Space loving mates to team up with. Offering clear voice chat – with the settings allowing for fully open or activated by pressing A or X – the experience quickly falls into place as everyone unleashes some Final Space banter.
There is something missing though. And it wasn’t until the third chapter that the realisation struck, it’s devoid of Final Space’s crazy action sequences. Almost every episode seemed to feature Gary and the team doing some death-defying leap down onto a planet or flying into a sun. There’s none of that here. The outlandishness of the cartoon hasn’t been brought over, feeling very safe in comparison to what could’ve been created.
Final Space has a legion of loyal fans and that’s exactly who Final Space VR – The Rescue is being catered towards. If you’ve never seen the show and you buy this as a single-player shooter you’ll be disappointed. It looks good, sounds great and plays well yet there’s so much missing to make this an awesome sci-fi FPS. You need friends who love the cartoon to truly get something out of Final Space VR – The Rescue. Another concern was that there was no teleport to be found and no additional gameplay modes. A co-op like this would’ve benefited from a horde mode or something to keep you coming back for more. Final Space VR – The Rescue had its fun moments but just like the show, it ended too soon.
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