Rogue Ascent’s main feature is utilizing the hand-tracking technology of the Meta Quest 2. So, going into Rogue Ascent, I thought this would probably be a demo. But, oh, how wrong I was - this is a complete, rogue-like, unique experience. I’ve never played a game quite like Rogue Ascent in VR; it’s a breath of fresh air on the VR platform.
Gameplay: Rogue Ascent is a rogue-like shooter set in a futuristic world, and as stated before, the featured mechanic is the hand-tracking technology. To hold your gun, you simply make your fingers into a gun. Then, you pull the trigger by moving your index finger. It’s simple yet effective and intuitive. There is a tutorial to walk you through how to play the game, which I suggest going through because there are other abilities besides shooting. But I picked up on the mechanics quickly.
Shields are another skill available to you. You activate your shields by holding your fists in front of you. Not only do the shields provide protection, but it also bounces bullets back at your enemies. Turing your left wrist will open up your tools. You can scan for enemies by pinching your fingers on the radar. The radar scans the immediate area and shows you the icons of enemies around you.
Moving around in Rogue Ascent is easy. You put your hand in front of you to move to the circle on the square you want to move to. What is impressive about the movement is I never got motion sickness.
Finally, you have your special ability. This is activated by looking at your right palm and squeezing it. All these features are intuitive, and much thought went into how these would work with the hand-tracking technology.
In Rogue Ascent, you go through procedurally generated levels on a space station, which makes each run feel different. In addition, each level will have its own objectives. For example, sometimes, the objective is to clear out the enemies. Other objectives include finding red crystals throughout the level. Once you find the crystals, you’ll unlock the elevator doors by completing a puzzle similar to the game Simon. There are quite a few different types of objectives, and because this is a procedurally generated game, each time you play will be unique.
There are also a wide variety of enemies in Rogue Ascent. One of my favorite moments was when a bounty hunter was tracking me. Not only did I defeat him, but I got his weapon too. Speaking of weapons, there are a ton of different weapons in this game. Each gun will have its own abilities. You can purchase guns from vending machines, find them in crates scattered through the base, or craft a new weapon by combining two guns. If you like the gun you currently hold, you can modify it at crafting benches to level up its abilities.
Finally, there are boss battles in Rogue Ascent - these battles are intense. Much like a boss battle in a console game, you’ll need to learn the boss's patterns to defeat it.
Aesthetics: Rogue Ascent is a beautiful game. It utilizes bright neo-colors that play into this sci-fi futuristic world. And the music is so good; it adds an element that makes the experience feel like you’re playing an arcade game.
My only criticism is that I wish there were more to the story. There is a narrative in Rogue Ascent, and the writing is funny and well done, but I would like to see these characters fleshed out more. It’s a minor aspect because it doesn’t affect the gameplay, but there’s potential to create a universe around the characters in the game.
Final Grade: A+
Do yourself a favor; get Rogue Ascent if you have a Meta Quest 2. It’s a unique experience, and playing Rogue Ascent feels like playing VR for the first time again. The game is deep, and each run will feel different outside of some standard checkpoint areas like mini-bosses and final bosses. In addition, there is Twitch integration, which has the chat native in the game - it’s not something I tried during my review of the game, but for those of you who like to stream, you can do so by just using the Meta Quest 2. Your Twitch followers can also help or hinder you during your run.
Review code provided by the publisher