E McNeill was an early Gear VR adopter, releasing cyberpunk hacking game Darknet in late 2014 for the Innovator Edition of the headset. A year later, he’s back with a demo of his real-time strategy game Tactera.
The game is available as an experimental “concept” in the Oculus store for Gear VR and as a DK2 demo. It features a collection of gunships, tanks and bombers that help you protect your side of a holographic battlefield. As you enter the game, you’re given a choice of weapons, defenses and one of three playing fields.
The maps unfold in front of you like a cross between a classic board game and a Star Wars holographic projection. The real-time strategy game is reminiscent of mobile title Galcon and its sequels.
I tried it on Gear VR and it is fun, challenging and a bit easier to pick up and figure out than puzzler Darknet, which was a winner of the first Oculus VR Jam and awarded “Best Gameplay” at the 2014 Proto Awards. Priced at $10, Darknet is one of the pricier games in the Oculus store with puzzles so challenging very few people finish the game. Tactera was nominated for three Proto Awards in 2015, including “Best Sound Design,” “Best Gameplay” and “Best Independent Experience.”
McNeill told UploadVR he planned more features that will arrive with a full version of the game, scheduled to debut in the first quarter of 2016, on or after the Oculus’ consumer Rift launches. This includes a campaign, new maps, units and, most important, multiplayer.
While the game is a fun concept, competing against another person seems like the ultimate way to play it. I enjoyed Tactera on Gear VR, but the addition of positional tracking on the consumer Rift, which would allow the player to lean around the battlefield to examine skirmishes up close, would be a lot of fun. The game is positively begging for an avatar to be sitting across from you commanding armies to attack your base in real-time, forcing you to simultaneously chat with them and try to outsmart a real person rather than a computer.