PlanTechtor is a tower defence game. You stand in a fixed point and defend your castle from the invading forces at all costs. Developed and published by FunnerSoft, LLC, this VR title has been released onto the PC on the 27th February 2019. You can play this title on the following platforms: Oculus, Vive and Windows Mixed Reality.
As stated, this is a tower defence game. You start off with the basics of how to play this game: what does what, how to use each set of weapons and what works against which type of enemies. As an example, your weapons are as follows: pistols, bow and arrows and rocket launchers. With these three sets, it’s up to you to see how best to utilise them in any given situation. Smaller, faster enemies are best handled by the fast shooting pistols, bigger enemies are tougher and will require stronger attacks, such as from your bow and arrows, whilst even bigger enemies require the use of the rocket launchers to dispatch them effectively. All of these weapons can be switched between during gameplay, which is a nice touch, but planning and strategy are also an element in how to play this game.
The more you play, the more you’ll soon realise that even though your weapons are plenty strong, they’ll soon be ineffective against the hordes. This is where power-ups and additional attachments start to appear. These include area of effect attacks, such as fire and poison, weakening your enemies to make them easier to dispatch. It does this well. The power-ups are a nice level of detail to add complexity and strategy to any tower defence game. Without them it would become a game on how fast you can spam the attack buttons. With each new power-up comes a choice on what loadouts you combine to best tackle any level before you. Choose a loudout that doesn’t work well, you can go back and try again with a different loadout until you find one that works for you. This adds endless choices to any given level and can add a competitive edge when you have friends over all trying to outdo each other on any given level.
The visuals are simplistic and yet oddly charming. It feels akin to the cel-shaded genre of games, such as Borderlands, Jet Set Radio and the like. The backgrounds and enemies are colourful and can easily be recognised. Attacks are satisfying to watch as they smash through the enemies, especially when you have modifiers attached and see the damage they do in real time, making for the planning of attacks easier to co-ordinate.
My biggest concern for this title is the camera system. Now, it does say on the Steam Store that a room with a 360 degree tracking system is required. This, for me, is an instant red flag. Not everyone has the room space or the capabilities to have a room dedicated to VR. No matter which way you slice it, VR gear is not cheap, and having the game require additional cameras to the initial setup can get costly. A mode for two cameras would have been nice to see as then I would have been able to play comfortably. My setup is the basic Oculus rift pack, two cameras front facing either side of my monitor. For most games, I have no problems as this setup works fine, and I can enjoy various VR experiences. But with this title, I’m limited to how my cameras track me, and for the most part, I was ending up trying to attack enemies that slipped past me and when trying to attack them, I wasn’t being tracked because of the lack of a third camera. This made my time playing frustrating as I was constantly failing due to the tracking issues.
Also, when playing the title, navigating the menus felt clunky as my hand needed to touch the start buttons in menu icons to activate them. Most VR titles have a wand-like mechanic where you can point at any given target and interact with it. This would have been a preferable feature to include in this game since without it I found myself knocking over items on my desk or hitting someone on the couch because I was leaning over to press the start menu.
In my conclusion for PlanTechtor, it is a fun game with many aspects I enjoyed. From the endless weapon loadouts to planning out my strategy to tackle multiple levels, these gameplay aspects are appealing and what make a good tower defence game great by keeping it fresh, and stimulating. But, the problems of the VR tracking can be overwhelming at times, and it ultimately somewhat ruined this experience for me. A two camera mode would have been nice to see for people playing on a VR budget. All in all, it was good game to play, but the camera issues need fixing for it to be more accessible to players who don’t have dedicated room spaces.
Developer: FunnerSoft, LLC
Publisher: FunnerSoft, LLC
Platform: PC- Oculus, Vive, Windows Mixed Reality
Release Date: 27th February 2019