Arena fighters seem like a perfect fit for VR but surprisingly there really aren’t that many on the Oculus Store. Swords of Gargantua fixes this with one swipe of its huge sword.
Released in June 2019, the sword and shield fighting game has already had a fair few updates, including the recent (and very welcome) Tesseract Abyss adventure and developer Yomuneco Inc have published a roadmap for even more content over the next year including full player vs player mode. So what started as a fairly simple player vs CPU arena game has already blossomed into something far better.
The introduction to the game is a grand piece of lore that introduces you to the world your character inhabits, the gods that took over and turned it into a warzone and the rebellious one that is pinning their hopes on you, as a human, to save the planet. After this impressive opening with wide open battle scenes it’s a little disappointing to find that most of your battles will actually take place inside a basic arena with 4 walls and not much in the way of scenery.
Your first task is to pick up a sword and practice but pretty soon you’ll be facing off against a range of enemies who all use different fighting styles. Your main aim is mostly the same, though; use a sword, and optional shield, to parry their blows and then strike them at opportune moments, moving around the arena floor like a boxer while you do this. When it’s just you against one enemy this is fairly easy but add in 3 at the same time and you’ll be having to watch your back as you concentrate on the guy in front, which can lead to a few hairy moments.
Clearing the room will give you several options to skip to later levels or continue one-by-one and you’ll also be able to buy new swords, objects to throw and shields. With 30 weapons on offer, all of which have different strengths and weaknesses and will suit different fighting styles, this is the main area of progress for the game.
While the character models are nicely designed and there are a variety of enemies, the same cannot be said of the arenas you fight in. Some effort has gone in to making these look less like just a grey box, with a few corridors in the distance, some arenas having centrepieces etc but generally you’ll be looking at a mostly grey colour palette and boring walls which is a real shame given what other games have managed on Quest. It doesn’t affect gameplay at all but it would have been nice to have some sort of outdoor environment, even if it was a little fake looking.
The lack of the continuation on the story front is also a disappointment. The build up at the beginning from the initial cut scene looked like it could have made for an interesting story to play through. The adventure mode does add a little of this in but it would have been good to feel as if you were making a difference by injecting the parts between levels with a little more story.
What Swords of Gargantua does well is the fighting, swordplay feels weighty and accurate and there are plenty of options to move and dodge as well as parrying and blocking. Movements are smooth and even moving around the room is given a boost for those who suffer from motion sickness, thanks to a blur effect in play (which can be turned off in the menu). When PvP launches this will vastly improve the game, though we’ll have to wait for the summer for this update. For now, though, this is a good, solid combat game which gives you a great feel of using swords and shields against increasingly powerful enemies.