Oculus Quest is the first high-end standalone VR headset for consumers. It was finally released to the public in February 2019 after nearly three years of development, with a retail price of $399 USD. I have spent much time since its release having fun in multiplayer matches on War Thunder, but also playing other games not available on GearVR or Oculus Go such as Ace Combat 7. However, there are many games for this new platform that is worth checking out and Warplanes: WW1 Fighters seems like a promising game by developer Three Fields Entertainment.
I’m happy to say that Warplanes does indeed live up to the promise of being an enjoyable aerial combat game that uses full 360-degree freedom of movement in zero gravity space! You have the freedom to move your head around as you would normally do in a high-fidelity FPS game, and can fly in any direction without worrying about gravity interfering.
This is a brief review of Warplanes: WW1 Fighters for Oculus Quest that mostly focuses on gameplay features and mechanics. I have not yet done a deep dive into all the available single-player missions or multiplayer modes the game has to offer. In this article, I’ll discuss what makes Warplanes one of my favorite games currently available for Oculus Quest, and make mention where I think it could still improve. First things first though, let’s get started with an introduction to the series!
The title screen from Warplanes: WW1 Fighters for Oculus Quest shows a few well-known aircraft from World War 1. The Great War was an unprecedented war that saw the use of airplanes in combat for the first time, and it is often called “the first air war”.
There are three single-player missions available to choose from: Training, Dogfight and Bombing Run. Training takes place in a virtual hangar with an instructor giving you instructions on how to play and fly your plane through different manoeuvres. You can proceed to train by pressing A on your controller when you’re ready. Afterwards, there will be an option to go back and retry each lesson if you missed some important information during your playthrough; this is a great way of reminding players who may have forgotten everything they learned! I tried all lessons multiple times because I wanted to make sure I remembered how to fly and shoot at the same time, which wasn’t easy!
The Dogfight mission is where you’ll find yourself in a fight against enemy planes. You can choose your plane before entering battle by pressing Start on the main menu and going to Multiplayer > Custom Match. There will be three different types of teams: Allies (blue), Central Powers (red) and Elite (yellow). Once you’ve chosen your team, head over to the Plane selection area where you can pick one or two planes of your choice. Only one plane is allowed per team however so it’s important to coordinate with your team and pick complimentary aircraft for maximum effect! The game modes you can play here are – Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag and Conquest.
Ace Combat 7’s multiplayer mode is similar to Warplanes in that you have a variety of different planes available to choose from. In both cases, players must coordinate with their team before engaging in combat to know what plane they should take into battle. If two players choose the same type of aircraft then it’s important for them to discuss a strategy beforehand instead of assuming someone will be able to cover your back as you engage an enemy! By the way, in Team Deathmatch there might not only be real player opponents but also bots on your team who can assist you by shooting or downing enemy planes as well as those on the opposing side. This makes Multiplayer Custom Match a great place to test out your skills and find the planes that work best for you!
Pride of place goes to Solo Survival where you can test yourself against waves of enemies in a free-for-all deathmatch. There’s also Team Survival, which is Team Deathmatch with AI opponents to take down. Once you’ve landed at least one kill during either mode, an enemy Stormbird will appear and things will get quite hectic very quickly… I haven’t played online multiplayer much yet because there’s only one matchmaking option available: Quick Match. If there are two players looking for a game then it’ll be assigned to both of them, otherwise, they’ll have to wait until someone else joins the queue or choose another game mode altogether if they’re not interested in this one. The only other option I would have liked to see was a Custom Match lobby where players can set up their own game and invite others who were looking for a Multiplayer session as well as vote on the next map available at random. This way there would be more opportunities for players to play their favourite modes and not just “Quick Matches”. It makes sense that Quick Matches are set up randomly because it gives people with varied interests and tastes an opportunity to join each other’s adventures! Once you’ve created your own lobby, however, I think the best thing would be to let people vote on which mode is played next by selecting from a list of all available options instead of assigning them automatically like we’ve seen so far in Oculus Quest.
I mean it’s fine if you enjoy spending time on your own but these are VR games which are more immersive when played with others or at least by yourself, not against the computer -there’s no blood running through its veins after all! This might be a great opportunity for developers of Oculus Quest multiplayer shooters to learn from other apps that have lots of online matchmaking options available.
There are two planes you can choose from initially: the first one is the Sopwith Camel piloted by Rico Rodriguez in “Just Cause 3” and “Just Cause 4”. It has four machine guns for shooting down enemy planes as well as Gatling Guns so it excels at close range combat. The second plane is called the Fokker Dr1 Dreidecker and is a German triplane first flown during WW1. It packs two machine guns and one light cannon as well as rockets to take down airships, planes and tanks alike.
What I like about Warplanes is that you can play it solo against bots or with real players online in team-based matches. You also might want to play as the pilot of the enemy aircraft for a change (or as many as there are on each side) because we all know how hard it is to shoot oneself down! Last but not least, you can literally walk around your ship while playing -this feature allows more freedom than just sitting inside the cockpit! When compared with other Oculus Quest multiplayer games Warplanes: WW1 Fighters doesn’t really have much content to offer yet but it’s still in Early Access so hopefully, there will be more surprises in store!
I mean, you can’t have too many friends in VR if they’re sitting in the same room with you otherwise what’s the point of being able to see them through a headset? There are quite a few games that support online multiplayer for Oculus Quest already and I’m sure developers will come up with even more ways to play outside our living rooms this time around. Warplanes is one of those rare titles that allow solo players to enjoy themselves as well so let’s hope it gets better over time because right now when its multiplayer modes are played with bots instead of real people, it becomes quite repetitive after a while. What I liked about Warplanes is that you can actually walk around the plane while playing and this feature has a lot in common with games like “Elite: Dangerous” and “Minecraft Earth”, one of which requires Oculus Rift and Touch Controllers while the other features Android-powered smartphones instead.
You also might want to play as many enemies as there are on each team if you’re not in the mood for shooting yourself down although it’s too easy to do so when you’ve watched how enemy planes fly from such close range! All things considered, I wouldn’t recommend picking up Warplanes at this moment because it doesn’t offer enough content yet but if you don’t mind flying solo vs bots then go ahead and give it a try!