Blaston is a VR multiplayer arena shooter set in an alternate future. Players step into the shoes of one of four character classes and battle it out to see who can be the last man standing. The setup couldn’t be simpler, as all you need to do is select which class you want, then jump into a match with up to three other players or bots. All that’s left to do then is duke it out using a variety of guns, grenades and power-ups.
The first thing that stands out about Blaston is the visual design of both the characters and setting. Each of the four classes – Trooper, Gearhead, Sniper and Saboteur – look like they’ve had a complete makeover since we last saw them in Resolution Games’ Swords & Soldiers series. They all also have their own unique abilities: for instance, Troopers can charge up an energy shield that blocks incoming fire; while Gearheads are equipped with powerful but short-range blasters. Weapons come thick and fast as well; from standard pistols and assault rifles to shotguns, Gatling and more outlandish options such as the Plasma Death Ray. Then there are grenades, mines and rocket launchers to go along with power-ups that can boost your speed, health or damage.
The controls are about as simple as you could get for a VR game: hold the trigger to fire your weapon; press down on the trackpad to use your Dash ability; move around by pointing either analogue stick in whatever direction you want to go; and finally press the menu button on either controller to switch weapons or manage your abilities. All these actions can be activated at once too, so you’re free to jump around while firing off rockets – which is just as much fun as it sounds! Each round starts with players teleporting into the map using their own personalized “transporter”, and each map is set in a large and open arena. There’s plenty of covers to hide behind and jetpacks can be used for an extra burst of speed, but Blaston’s biggest draw is the freedom it gives you. You’re free to move around as much or as little as you like; whether that be performing somersaults and barrel rolls while dodging incoming fire, or zooming across the arena on your jetpack!
Blaston features four different classes which all play very differently from one another: Trooper – Charging up their shield, Troopers are able to block damage from incoming attacks. Their weak point is a lack of range with their weapons though Gearheads – Gearheads have powerful beam blasters at their disposal, but can only fire them at short range. Their Dash ability is also useful for getting up close and personal to enemy players Snipers – Snipers are equipped with sniper rifles that can deal out a ton of damage, but their weapons have a very slow rate of fire. They’re most effective when hiding in cover Saboteurs – Saboteurs have access to both a rapid-fire machine gun and land mines, making them deadly up close or from afar. The best way to avoid being blown up by one of their traps is to use your shield ability, but they’re also equipped with a jetpack which can be used to dodge out of the way.
Since Blaston is designed primarily as an online multiplayer game, you’ll have to go into it knowing that there’s no single-player mode. The focus here is on battling other players in four different modes: Deathmatch – As simple as it sounds – just kill anyone who gets near! Wave Defense – Survive against increasingly difficult waves of enemies until your transporter explodes. Killing everyone will stop additional waves from spawning Capture the Flag – Retrieve the flag and return it to your base while defending it from the enemy team Guardian Mode – An interesting spin on Domination where both teams fight for control over three separate points on the map I was able to try out Blaston with two different teams of four players, and while it’s clear that the focus here is on being a multiplayer-focused experience – there was no single-player option in sight (and even if there was – I’d probably struggle to enjoy it on my own!) – each round felt like an epic battle. One minute we were taking down enemy transporters; the next we were capturing bases for our team; and then we were defending them from hordes of enemies! Controls work well too: you can fire off rounds with either analogue sticks, plus switch out weapons and activate your abilities using the buttons on your controller
Although having only played a small handful of matches I’m still unsure what sort of balance is required between the four classes, there certainly felt like a good variety to choose from and no single class was so overpowered as to feel unfair. Movement is also quick and smooth which helps keep the action intense, and it’s clear that Blaston has been designed with VR in mind as everything works smoothly without any noticeable lag. It’s probably best played on either Oculus Quest or Rift S since both these headsets will allow you to move around freely instead of being restricted by a cord – but for anyone who does have one of those headsets I highly recommend trying this game out!