Aeon is a single-player VR shooter for HTC Vive. The game throws you straight into the action, where you need to against wave of robotic opponents using your sword, two heavy caliber pistols and the ability to slow down time ("Bullet Time") to avoid incoming attacks and even grab and slice projectiles and enemies to pieces. Sounds like Raw Data or Robo Recall, but Aeon brings some really cool tricks in terms of character AI and how your in-game body movement.
Let's start with the character animation. Aeron plays in the first-person perspective. However, unlike many shooters in this genre, you only get to see your hands and weapons. This is done because the body movement isn't tracked and trying to create an unrelated movement can negatively impact the immersion. This is because the player notices that his body movement isn't aligned with his character's body in the game, which creates this disconnection between the real and virtual and this can be annoying and even cause discomfort for some. This is why some games support various body-tracking hardware that can track your body movement.
What the developer 'Illusion Ranger' did was using an algorithm that uses the headset and controller position to re-create the body parts movement. This advanced IK helps increase the immersion and makes you get a better feel of the virtual character you play within the virtual world.
The gameplay is really cool, fast and furious. The developer wanted to bring a more interesting gameplay experience by adding various gameplay mechanics into Aeon. For example, shooting an enemy in different parts and a different distance will affect and damage the enemy differently. You can really feel enemies blowing up to pieces when you shoot them with your heavy caliber gun. You can use your sword to cut enemies and weapon's projectiles to pieces like you do in Fruit Ninja, just slice your enemies into pieces like butter—so freaking cool.
Furthermore, there is the really cool "bullet time" slow motion effect, which just slows down time, allowing you to catch and bounce projectiles towards an enemy, block bullets and even cut bullets into pieces using your sword. This slow-motion effect was done really well in Aeon because of the great attention to the details, particle effects, and animation (especially the character and weapon's animation). Bullet Time really looks and feel amazing well in this game. The Bullet Time and the enemy's reaction to your shots really elevate the whole shooting experience and take it to a new level. You can really enjoy putting bullets into certain body parts and just watch the enemy's body reacts to those powerful shots. It makes you feel like a powerful killing machine and it translates really well both in terms of mechanics and visuals. Just so you know, you don't have any cool down on the slow-motion ability, you can use it as often as you like.
The game sports some really impressive visuals. I've mentioned it regarding the particle effects, but the entire game just looks amazing. I've read on Steam that the developer didn't have a lot of funds to build huge levels and invest in hundreds of different character models, so instead, they put their focus on making sure the nailed the shooting and slashing mechanics right. That being said, the developer did mention that it intended to add more levels, new types of monsters and even new weapons based on your feedback.
The game also offers a replay value with a "Hard mode", which unlocks after you finish all the levels in the game. In this mode you have less health and the enemies are smarter than the Normal mode.
In my opinion, the game can really benefit from more content. I've read people comparing that to Robo Recall, and I can understand that this is done because of the quite similar gameplay mechanics, the robot characters and the way your hits impact them, and the game's relatively high price tag. Let's not forget that Robo Recall was developed by Epic Games, so I think that doing the comparison might do this indie developer unjustice.
I think that overall it's a very good game with a potential to become even better with more frequent updates. Maybe it's just me, but I also think that a competitive multiplayer mode can be so cool. Just being able to slow down the opponent's projectiles (those who are coming in front of where I am looking), dodge them or reflect them back can be so cool. Maybe it's too much to ask at this point, but if this is done, it can really make the game appeal to an even broader audience of FPS fans.
Image credit: Illusion Ranger