Spellpunk tries to make Doctor Strange the VR Experience, this early access title shows a lot of potential but has a long way to go to reach that potential. In Spellpunk you cast magical spells and powers by drawing sybmols inside an abstracts and stunning world.
Spellpunk is very similar to another VR title called Unspoken, although that game had Facebook backing it since it was a launch title for the Oculus Rift. In both games you cast magical spells by performing gestures and drawing symbols, although a video game should be reviewed on it’s own it’s hard not to draw comparisons between the two VR titles and with that said Unspoken does a much better job making you feel like a wizard casting spells, since you have at will powers and powers that you need to make gestures for. Spellpunk takes a different approach and makes every spell a gesture spell, this is where it falls a bit flat to me. This method of spell casting makes you just feel like you draw a squiggly line and then shooting a gun, and repeat, over, and over, and over you get it. The bases is there for the developers to make this title an online game that excels but there is another issue with this title, the online component.
VR as it is, is a very niche market and then we get VR in South Africa where it’s even more niche, and as far as I can tell this game uses a peer to peer connection for online matches, so to sit in lobby for 3-5 minutes doing nothing, because there is nothing to do while you wait for a match, and finally just find a game that is very laggy and be booted and gain no xp is a bit of a bummer. There are other powers to unlock but I never got the chance to unlock or use them because it is so rare that I would find a functioning game.
The last thing I want to discuss is the visuals, this is something that I can back all the way, so many VR games try to immerse you in realistic settings using detailed graphics. It’s nice see a game that looks good inside VR and doesn’t rely on insanely detailed or realistic models to drive you in. The shell shaded, abstract, neon nature of the world makes you feel like you have entered this alternate reality. The character designs are also distinct, flashy and interesting, although I would have preferred a bit more customization instead of picking from a list of models.
Although Spellpunk suffers from repetitive gameplay with a lack of variety in ways to cast spells it pulls through with its stunning aesthetic and core concept. The game shows a lot of potential and is a title that should be supported, although it has a long way to go.