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Top New Climbing Game
Move over ‘The Climb’ there is a new top climbing game in VR. And it’s called Rampage VR, wait… no sorry, it’s actually called Mighty Monster Mayhem. But Rampage VR is what it is. We were lucky enough to chat with Level 13, the guys behind Mighty Monster Mayhem (we’re calling it MMM now ok? I’m not typing it again), at the VRLA convention, and whenever someone mentioned Rampage they seemed sheepish and dismissive, but they shouldn’t be. MMM is only as derivative of Rampage as Rampage is of Godzilla. Big monsters smashing through a city, sure, but that’s not a copy written concept, in fact at worst, it’s a genera. Turning that idea into a VR experience is nothing short of inspired.
Be Ready to Really Move
MMM nearly broke my monitor, knocked out my toddler, and nearly destroyed my Rift, a few times. It demands movement and it demands ferocity. It does not allow for artificial turning like some games, you have to move naturally, and you have to wave your arms around like real Monster. I cracked my kid in the head trying to bowl a chunk of building into a tank squadron. I smashed my monitor so hard I can’t believe it’s not ruined and ripped my precious Oculus right off my skull trying to vigorously raise an apartment block.
Don’t go thinking I’m one of those guys stuck with a small play area, I have the perfect setup. A completely clear 12 x 12 foot room with 3 sensors perched high in the corners for maximum coverage. My PC sits behind me on a desk crammed into the built-in cupboard for maximum floor space. My default forwards position facing away from the desk so the headset cable runs down my back, completely out of the way. It’s just the level of movement required to play MMM properly does it.
Nothing in VR, nothing at all, gets you moving this much. Not cover shooters, not escape rooms, not sword and shield RPGs and not even the aforementioned ‘The Climb’ requires this much vertical movement, even this much horizontal movement. You have to reach down to grab and gobble the hapless citizens, you have to swing high and put your back into throws to even have a chance of taking out a single helicopter, let alone a squadron. This is full 1-1 movement with no magical assisted throwing power.
Locomotion is handled with the single BEST system I have yet encountered in VR. You place your hands by your sides, squeeze the grips, and by merely swinging them back and forth you move forwards. It’s brilliantly natural and seems to completely counter motion sickness. Jumping, similarly, is achieved by holding your hands out, squeezing the grips, and thrusting down and backwards. Launching you off buildings and into the air. And… there is no fall damage, you’re a giant monster not a fragile schoolgirl!
Freedom is almost absolute. There is a magical boundary around each level but short of that, if you think you can do it, chances are you can. You can climb buildings as fast as you can move your arms. That being said, catching the cord trying to power-scale a skyscraper is how I snatched the cable and ripped my Oculus right off my head, so do be careful. If you jump off a falling building fast enough you CAN grab onto the next one in mid air. In ‘The Climb’ when you move your head to close to a wall or ledge you get a black screen and a message saying “Your face is too close to an object you fool move away!” but not here, there is no need for it. I bought the game, if I want to clip through a building with my face I will, if it hurts the realism, I can stop doing it all by myself, I’m not a child!
So do I have anything bad to say about MMM? Sure, the graphics are a bit basic and all the levels are pretty much the same. There are hidden genetic codes to find that unlock the other ‘characters’, but they are all just cosmetic changes. The buildings get bigger and more complicated, and the military ramps things up quite well, but the objective pretty much remain the same: destroy 10 of this and eat 5 of that. It’s also worth noting that while I had very little issues playing this room-scale game on the Rift, the hands of my monster did appear to be at a rather funny angle, and during an earlier build of the game I couldn’t even pass the tutorial because of a glitch. Sometimes the controls are a bit wonky, on the Rift at least you use the same trigger for climbing as you do for clenching a fist to smash with, this often, and rather frustratingly, results in you grabbing a building instead of smashing it.
There is no real story to speak of, but your internal monologue is voice-acted to great effect. A nerdy scientist pushed too far uses the science of genetics to fight back. It’s terribly cliché but that’s kind of the point. In it’s defense, the game makes no bones about this fact. At the start of the first level, he starts with your basic super-villain speech, but then gets bored half way through and literally ends with “blah blah blah”. It’s may be a cop-out; the classic comedy cheat of “hanging a lantern on it” but it just fits perfectly in a game like this. Sometimes a cheap trick is just the perfect solution.
No Monster Smashing Here!
So as you can see the small ‘faults’ MMM does have, are at the very least acknowledged. Level 13 gave us free codes for MMM and we really appreciate that, but don’t think for a second this is why they get a great review; we also got codes for Twisted Arrow and as you can see here we pretty much slammed that game. No, MMM is quite simply deserving of praise. If you look it up on Steam, there are not even enough user reviews to garner it a rating, and this is a tragedy. It has a smart concept, a decent length, plenty of re-playability, and as of a recent patch even multiplayer! For the genius locomotion solution alone it should be respected, and at $15 it’s an absolute steal. This game deserves to be on every VR gamers list! Go grab it now and leave the boys at Level 13 a review so others can find it.
Final Score: 8/10 The best climbing game in VR, with bonus smashing stuff!
- Exhilarating action
- Brilliant locomotion solution
- Self-aware humor
- Basic style
- Controls can be clunky
- Levels mostly the same