Space Merchants: Arena VR (Oculus Rift)
Intro: The year is 2510. Time of exploration and colonisation of new planets, bringing chance for new life for many people. Humanity entered the second half of the millennium with hope to end long-lasting conflict between federal Army of Seven Stars and pirates of Black Flags fraction. In the last decades both sides suffered terrible losses in mutual fights and now the Black Flags members are scattered in the outer parts of the galaxy. We will yet lose many lives, colonies and planets before the war will be over. Join the heroes of Army of Seven Stars and become a respected legend among your peers.
Review: Space Merchants: Arena is a futuristic space themed dogfight that is mostly all about the online multiplayer action. While there is a little bit of a storyline that goes with the game it is not needed at all, but I suppose it does help to set the mood of the theming. The idea is pretty simple, play in one of 3 game modes. The first is called battle and it’s kill or be killed, everyone for themselves. The next is Team Battles that pits red team against blue team and the last one is Training which gives you a chance to play against some bots and learn the ropes (which is hand due to the total lack of a tutorial).
Playing against human or Ai opponents you build up both skill and money than you can then use to buy ship upgrades and even a new ship. The good news is you can do pretty well even at the start. Just a few kills here and there as well as collecting some cubes for skill points and money, give it enough time and you will soon be powering your ship up to the max. Playing on 4 different maps: Faarlands, Tristar, Jupiter and Naussike system there are global leaderboards for score challenges and it even has cross-platform gameplay meaning you can play all the Steam VR players.
Verdict: While some players might see this as a poor version of EVE: Valkyrie, I found it a lot easier to get into. OK, so it doesn’t exactly hold your hand and the online matchmaking is terrible, it doesn’t feel as serious as EVE: Valkyrie meaning it was a much more relaxed playing environment. The slower pace of gameplay and lack of complicated controls makes it more fun than you might think. For the price you pay, I think you get great value for money from it and I just hope the online community keeps active for a while at least.