Title: Acron: Attack of the Squirrels
Developer: Resolution Games
Publisher: Resolution Games
Genre: Action, Arcade, Social
Platform: Oculus Quest
Age Rating: PEGI 7
Release Date: 29/08/2019
Price: £14.99 – Rapid Reviews UK was very kindly provided with a review code for this title.
I was very excited when I first learned of Acron: Attack of the Squirrels. Finally, an Oculus Quest game that my whole family and I can play together rather than taking turns watching one another moving erratically and bumping into stuff. Of course, there are a few other Quest games that allow for multiplayer with only one headset, though Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes is the only one that readily comes to mind. Unlike that game, where the non-VR players search through a printed manual to assist the headset wearer, Acron delivers actual video gameplay to all in involved.
Via a smart-phone app, two to eight players take on the role of a squad of squirrels trying to steal acorns from the one VR player, who is playing as a tree. The two gameplay types are very different and offer variety when passing around the headset in a party setting, which will be welcomed because both are varying degrees of boring and frustrating.
I am Groot
Playing as the tree is fairly straightforward – protect the acorns at your base by throwing objects at the encroaching squirrels. Being a tree, your movement is limited to a small area but your height allows you to see the entirety of the battlefield, making it that much easier to pick-off those rascally rodents. You have three types of ammunition to choose from: sticky sap ball, small but fastball, and large but slow ball. They’re always available and are as easy to use as throwing a baseball. In fact, they’re easier than throwing a baseball as there’s some kind of aim assist that guides the ball to the enemy, providing you’re reasonably on target. Tree mode is essentially a stationary shooting gallery.
The squirrel side of things is a wholly different experience and where the meat of the gameplay resides. As mentioned earlier it’s played on a phone/tablet and can be downloaded for free via the Apple/Android store. It resembles a third-person shooter with the camera trailing behind your character low to the ground, as squirrels tend to be, and is a nice juxtaposition to the overhead presentation of the tree gameplay. The goal is to transverse a mostly open field toward the tree at the end of it, grab an acorn, and return it to your base/starting point. There are power-ups spread about to help you in your effort but mostly you’ll rely on the special abilities exclusive to your class.
Acron offers four different squirrel classes to pick from: The Quick Squirrel has the ability to run fast for short bursts. The Carpenter Squirrel can build platforms to bridge obstacles and tree high scaffolding for teammates to use. Miner Squirrel can dig short tunnels all around the playfield, routing players to the acorns free from the assault of the tree. Lastly, there’s a squirrel that can deploy a pumpkin for teammates to take cover behind. These four classes work great in conjunction and providing you have enough teammates, the strategic opportunities are abundant.
Controlling your squirrel is handled like most phone games with traditional controls overlaid onto the touch-screen. It’s not ideal but is good enough for a party game like this. Graphics and audio are adequate. No one is going to win an award for them but like the controls, they’re good enough. I’m assuming graphical and audio fidelity is kept at a bar low enough to ensure compatibility with the various smart devices the game will run on. It’s not ugly but it is low-tier. The silver lining is that the game runs great. I experienced no hiccups or slow-down at all though I was running it on a very powerful Samsung Galaxy 10.
While I’m sure a lot of work from a lot of talented people went into making this game there were a few things that kept me from enjoying it. The tree portion of the game is fun for a while but lacked enough depth to hold my interest for more than a few rounds of gameplay. The squirrel/smart-phone portion had me wanting to throw my phone out the window. For whatever reason, the game doesn’t allow for the camera to turn around. This is fine when moving forward toward the acorns but once I had one I wasn’t able to change my view toward the base. The view stays the same! Backing-up through a level while dodging tree bombs is not fun. Add to that one hit kills that respawn me back at the starting point every time and my frustration level grew from squirrel-sized to tree-sized quite quickly.
Of course, this is a party game and is meant to be played with lots of people – up to eight apparently. With that many people playing I would’ve been less of a target and had more strategies available to me than I did with just one other teammate. It wouldn’t fix the issues I have with it but it would’ve made it more bearable. Plus the fun of a party game is mostly derived from the people involved yucking it up together on the same couch.
Make like a tree and…
The replayability of Acron: Attack of the Squirrels for Oculus Quest is low. There isn’t a lot of depth to the gameplay or class selection and there are only a handful of levels, none of which really differentiate from each other. Add to that that it’s a local-only experience that needs others in the same space to play and I don’t see it getting much playtime after the initial playthrough.
The asynchronous gameplay between a suite of smart-phones and a VR headset in real-time is a powerful idea that developer Resolution Games has now proven to work very well. This template could be applied to other games in so many new and exciting ways that I get almost giddy thinking of it. In this instance, however, it misses the mark.
- All images provided by Resolution Games. Reviewers experience did not match the high quality portrayed.
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can purchase Acron: Attack of the Squirrels from the Oculus Store on the following link, https://www.oculus.com/experiences/quest/2345082335516570/