We have all thrown a coin in an arcade machine to see who can get the highest score on games I can only describe as dodge-em-ups. Games where your objective is clear, to get as far as you can whilst dodging obstacles like walls and beams. A simple premise indeed but a fun one which can separate the boys from the men. The Collider 2 from ShortBreak Studios builds on this premise, giving us a light speed arcade experience whilst also giving us a purpose, to destroy the alien mothership from the inside.
You’re straight into the action as soon as you choose a mode. Missions take you through a wide range of assault courses which start off relatively easy but increase in difficulty as you progress via a Super Mario Bros 3-type map. The missions may differ but the gameplay never changes as you whizz your ship through the different areas of the mothership. The Collider 2 is VR compatible if you’re lucky enough to own a HTC Vive or Oculus Rift, but I felt my Xbox 360 controller more than did the trick for me. No buttons are needed except to use your ship’s boost ability. “But wait!”, I hear you say. How can you take down a huge ship if you can’t shoot? Well, you can, except you don’t need to press anything. As enemies and certain objects appear, a targeting crosshair appears on your HUD which requires you to move it over said objects, only then does your ship fire automatically. This is essential during the few exciting boss battles you will encounter throughout your journey.
To really test your supposed cat-like reflexes, Endless Clash Mode is the place to be. This acts similar to the endless runners you find on mobile devices. In The Collider 2, however, the speed goes to breakneck speeds which will get you eventually. It’s a great mode to compete against friends or on the online leaderboards and even weekly tournaments.
The Collider 2 gets extremely fast, sickeningly so. It certainly tests your reflexes and if you’re using VR, it’s not for the faint hearted. I haven’t used this capability myself as I do not own a headset but if it was mind blowing for me playing the conventional way, VR would easily melt my brain without a doubt. It’s like being on a runaway rollercoaster in which the only way off is to make it to the end or crash. There are power ups to assist you in maintaining control or zipping past a few obstacles whilst you collect in-game currency which allows you to buy new ships, customisations, and enhancements. There is plenty to play for here.
From the starting launch pad as your ship sits waiting to fly to the zipping tunnels and the bosses, The Collider 2 looks great. The quick journey to the mothership which triggers when you select a mode is a nice trip through space which ended with my ship entering an entryway located on the side of the big dreadnought. It’s a cool animation that succeeds in getting the blood pumping before things go hyper speed. Once it does, it’s tough to admire the sights as things get fast very quickly, but it’s a breathtaking ride that will keep you on the edge of your seat. I happily plodded along the allotted pathway set before me during the first few missions, it was only later when things became faster and faster that I needed to really knuckle down, trying my best not to blink. The gaps in the walls came in all shapes and sizes with sections topped off with closing walls requiring use of the ship’s boost to speed on through it. It constantly kept my attention knowing full well that looking away for one split second could mean failure. The Collider 2 makes great use of the Unreal Engine 4, and I didn’t notice any frame rate drops or rough graphics.
VR use means controlling the ship with your head. I can’t see how this could be beneficial to a game like The Collider 2. Switching to first-person view increases the immersion, sure, but moving the ship with your head seems….silly. I mentioned before that I can’t comment due to not owning a headset so I will leave that out there, it’s pure speculation.
Developer: ShortBreak Studios
Publisher: Techland Games
Platform: PC, VR
Release Date: 19th April 2016