After having previously reviewed Rift, Vive and PC titles on this blog, I now turn my attention to the recently released Oculus Quest version of Swords of Gargantua from I-Illusions. Now that all Quest games are available via the new Oculus Store, it’s about time! While you can find a list of all current Quest games here, there are many more with pending updates for full release.
I’ve been itching to try out the latest incarnation of this game since I first played it on Rift years ago at PAX East. It has had several iterations on other VR platforms before making its debut on Quest yesterday. While there is no official designation yet from Oculus as to what “generation” this game falls under, here’s my interpretation:
Oculus Quest = “Gen 2”
As such, I consider Swords of Gargantua to be a “Gen 2” title and will reference it as such throughout the review. For those that haven’t heard about this game before or tried it on other platforms (like me), here is what this game entails:
You play as a human mage who has been imprisoned by an evil wizard in his castle. He reveals himself near the end of your sentence and tells you he wants to make a deal…he’ll let you out if you can defeat his golem army which roams nearby. You accept and are teleported outside where you see several gargantuan swords protruding from the ground around you. Each sword has a color and pattern to it, and each color denotes the corresponding enemy you must defeat with that specific sword. The pattern on the sword will also give you hints as to what moves you should be using in order to overcome your foe. It’s really quite simple once you figure it out.
In this sense, Swords of Gargantua is sort of like a timed Quick Time Event (minus the buttons). You have to follow the patterns presented on each sword in order to properly battle your enemies which consist of rogue mages, griffons, golems and other beasts. While I personally do not consider QTEs “fun”, they can be enjoyable when done correctly in VR…and this game does them very well!
The graphics on this game are somewhat of an 8-bit style. I would say they are at the same level as some early PlayStation or Super Nintendo titles (not quite “Tetris Attack” but near). While some may claim that doesn’t make it look good, I personally loved the graphics and felt they were done very well for this type of game — especially considering there is no discomfort associated with them whatsoever! The colors pop nicely and the various beasts you will encounter all have their own unique look that makes them memorable. For example, one enemy looks like a stone golem that spews fireballs while another creature looks like a giant mantis who shoots lasers from his head.
This game doesn’t really try to scare you in the traditional sense of spookiness or being creepy, but it does have some tense moments that can catch you by surprise. One moment I had numerous griffons chasing me which unexpectedly reminded me of Jurassic Park. Another time I was attacked by a bunch of mages who just popped out from everywhere before flying around the map trying to avoid my attacks. It really makes the game immersive having these types of creatures appear randomly throughout each battle.
So what’s not to like? Well, there are a couple of things…
First off, the controls take some getting used to. The idea is simple enough… point your sword where you want it and swing for the fences! The tutorial teaches this method very well, however, in practice, it becomes an issue because it’s too sensitive, causing you to swing at the air even when directly in front of your opponent. In order to overcome this issue, I had to recalibrate my controller a few times before finally getting it right. I’d say after around 20 minutes of playing I was able to adjust and start doing better, but it still didn’t feel as precise as I would have liked.
Another thing that bothers me is a lack of a deeper story mode or more complex gameplay features. There are a few secret items here and there that give you new abilities, but they seem rather basic and aren’t really necessary anyway since each battle is pretty straightforward with no real reason to use certain attacks unless “the pattern” tells you so. Any RPG player knows that the more complex and customizable your abilities are, the better.
Finally, there is no multi-player functionality whatsoever which was a huge disappointment for me as I had hoped to play with friends or randoms. Even if it couldn’t be traditional multiplayer, at least allow us to compete against NPCs in some way…or even let the swords of Gargantua fight each other! This would have been an awesome mode and either option would’ve given which this game sorely lacks. It’s such a bummer since things could get so heated competing over who gets to attack next!
Well, what can I say? I enjoyed my time with Swords of Gargantua despite its few drawbacks. It has very fun battles filled with intense action and a cool 8-bit art style that looks very nice. While it can be a bit frustrating at first, you learn to deal with the controller sensitivity and the lack of a deeper story mode isn’t so bad once you get used to it. In short, if you enjoy battle simulations and light-hearted fun adventures then I definitely recommend giving swords of Gargantua a try!
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