The Arcslinger is a first-person shooter developed exclusively for Google Daydream platform. You play as a mythical gunslinger, fighting in a cyber western world against the vicious and greedy Gold Smoke and his barbarous gang. Gold Smoke sole purpose is to harness the power of the Arc for ultimate power over the planet. You are the only one who stands between him and his vicious goal.
The Arcslinger is developed by Big Red Button Entertainment, which employs some very talented veterans from Naughty Dog, even the founder of the company itself, Big Rafel was an art director at Naughty Dog and was working on projects like Jak and Daxter, Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, and Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric. You can no understand why the expectations from this title were very high, and I got even more excited when I've heard that this is going to be a Daydream exclusive title.
The game plays as a gallery shooter in which you need to take out enemies that emerge from different directions. The gameplay is played int levels, each level has 3 waves of enemies. You need to clear all the enemies on the level before you can move on to the next one.
To be able to deal with the ongoing battle, you need to make sure you obtain items like health packs (by shooting them) and coins which are dropped when you eliminate, and also use Arc upgrades that gives your gun some super abilities. Each art ability can be activated by using a swipe motion on the Daydream touchpad in different directions, like performing a certain gesture in order to activate each one and one of them. Sometimes it feels a bit tiresome to perform where you just want to shoot and not concentrate on performing any 'complicated' gestures, but it adds another layer of gameplay mechanic that makes this title interesting as a whole.
There is a total of 15 environments/levels to clear up. You have only one life and if you die you need to start the entire game all over again. I'm sure that newcomers wouldn't like that so much, and I personally would have preferred having a checkpoint of some sort. I've read on Reddit and on Google Play that some players have shown their frustration over this game design choice.
I really liked the graphics in the game, it somewhat reminds me of Overwatch: vivid cartoon-style visuals buffed up with a great touch of humor. The character design, voiceovers (by Nolan North, Jessica DiCicco, and others), funny animations, and the hilarious sound effects really make the experience hilarious and the whole experience even more enjoyable.
The Arcslinger really demonstrated the capability of Daydream in delivering a great VR experience, especially as a shooter, which many people probably wonder how it would be like playing a shooter on this emerging new mobile VR platform.
It's the combination of several game design elements that I've mentioned above that makes The Arcslinger a great Daydream title that any Daydream phone (and headset) owner should try out. There is one issue of starting over when you die that raised a concern among some players.
The Arcslinger also demonstrates the Daydream potential of delivering great VR gaming experiences. It's, overall, a very polished and immersive experience from a developer that I'm sure will bring even more amazing titles for this new Daydream platform in the future. There is also no need to worry about any discomfort because your in-game avatar is completely stationary.
If you are looking for a great challenging action-shooter Daydream game, you should definitely get it.
Image credit: Big Red Button Entertainment, Inc.