Real-Time Strategy, also known as RTS, is a genre as old as gaming. Paired with tower defense games, you have the basic building blocks of any and all strategy titles to hit the gaming industry. Everything from Starcraft, to Command and Conquer takes elements from these two genres.
With the release of PlayStation VR, we've seen a few titles in this category take on new life in the virtual realm. Korix is the next game in that lineup and it boasts some impressive specs, along with tight controls and fast-paced gameplay. Is it greater than the sum of its parts, or does this game botch the execution? Time to find out!
Commence The Epic Space Battles!
Korix doesn't offer anything in terms of story, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I always enjoy a good tale to go along with my gameplay. The only thing we get is an image on the main menu of a planet exploding as ships flee towards the screen.
These same ships seem to appear in the campaign missions, suggesting that they are perhaps on the hunt for a new world, but as far as the enemies go, I just know they're red and that makes them bad guys.
I would have loved to see a story in Korix, but the campaign is really there to train you on the mechanics and prep you for the multiplayer. That doesn't stop it from being immensely fun, but don't expect any lofty explanations for your ongoing conquest.
So, no story, but that's not a deal breaker. On to gameplay!
I'm Never Using a Mouse/Keyboard Again
Korix offers both DualShock 4 and PlayStation Move support. My time with the game heavily spent using the Move. This is because I found it to be one of the most responsive and accurate methods of control in a strategy game. Ever.
Developer Mark Taylor and Stellar VR made the smart choice to use a single Move controller for maximum accuracy, and it's a decision that paid off in spades.
In the game, you'll see a device in front of you that represents your Move controller in real time. It has a crisp screen that shows your base's health and your current energy levels.
It also shows the buttons in their correct positions, which is a small, but extremely beneficial feature. Too often do VR games with move assume you know the placement of the "O" or "X" button on a Move controller, when it's far different that the layout of a DualShock.
A laser protrudes from your device in the game, offering pinpoint precision when selecting, upgrading, and building units. Okay, now that I've gushed over the controls, let's talk gameplay.
In Korix, you have a base and your enemies have bases. Your goal is to balance defense with a strong offense and take out your enemy's bases while protecting your own.
Everything happens in real-time, with enemies coming in waves from the opposing base. When you first start a battle, you'll need to spawn some workers from your base to mine energy from the local resource pool.
This energy will be used to deploy units and build defenses. Your territory and space where you can build is decided by the walls that you place.
While you can place turrets, artillery, and other gadgets on the ground, placing them atop walls is the best strategy to maximize their range. You'll push your borders forward with walls and armaments, and if you're feeling lucky, you'll send your own waves of soldiers, tanks, and other units into the fray.
When your defenses have pushed forward to the point at which they can hit the enemy base, holding the X button at any time will command them to open fire on the enemy base. Otherwise, they'll attack anything that walks by.
What starts out as some casual matches in the campaign quickly elevates to frantic battles as lasers fly from turrets and enemy waves multiply like rabbits.
A strong and aggressive strategy becomes key to victory, but keeping your base from being attacked provides a good balance. The option to push your defenses forward and directly attack the enemy base offers a great way to mold your strategy to your liking.
You can also quickly switch to an upgrade tool with menus that pop out of your controller in-game. Turrets can have up to three barrels and walls can be upgraded into stalwart fortresses.
Rotating the map can be done with a press of the Move button and it's a seamless rotation that gives you several options for how you want to view and manage the action.
It's all very smooth, and very, very fun. That's just the single player too. Korix also offers a full customizable multiplayer suite with options for versus and co-op in equal measure.
Multiplayer offers up to four players at once, with the ability to substitute A.I where needed and set its difficulty prior to the match. You can also decide which types of units and weapons are available for the match, and choose from a variety of maps.
Versus matches become epic battles that span across the entire map as every fights for control. Cooperative allows players to team up and throw everything they have at the enemy.
One really cool touch with the multiplayer, is the way players are represented. You see them as floating polygonal heads of different shapes and colors. You can also see their own controllers as they plan out their own strategies across the map or right beside you.
It adds a sense of presence and competition (or camaraderie depending on the mode) that no other RTS can boast. The option to purchase other types of heads is also nice. They have no bearing on the gameplay, but the cosmetic option is cool nonetheless.
There's also a Skirmish mode for those who would rather stay offline, so Korix really does offer something for everyone.
Low-Poly, but High-Speed Presentation
Korix takes a simple approach to its art style. It's a simple look that calls to mind worlds like Tron or old school RTS games like Darwinia. Don't let looks fool you, though, because this game is an absolute visual treat in VR.
With the ability to render some extra graphical features on PS4 Pro and a buttery smooth 120HZ refresh rate during gameplay on either system, Korix is one of the cleanest and most polished VR titles to date.
The way enemies travel across the map, the sounds of lasers and artillery, and the satisfying way they fly in every direction when a laser artillery shell hits them is pure bliss.
Even the way your walls and defenses crumble when they're defeated is fun to watch. The depth and scope that VR offers lends itself incredibly well to this game. On a 2D screen, this would look decent, but a little bland in comparison.
In VR, though, Korix makes great use of its minimalist style and offers an insanely fun playground of destruction. I would have loved a full-fledged campaign to complement the multiplayer, but what's here is easily worth the price of entry.
Final Score: 8.5/10
A copy of Korix was provided to PS4 Experts for review purposes
Article by - Bradley Ramsey
Insert date - 3/28/17