A GEARVR NEWS RETRO GAME REVIEW
Omega Agent is a jet-pack flying game released quite a while ago now. Despite that, it’s a game that to this day still has teeth. The 3D-Depth is good, the graphics are good, and it’s quite a challenging action game. This title requires a lot of gamepad interactions with multiple buttons needed simultaneously to pull of the wacky stunts and jump through the hoops this game literally makes you in order to prove yourself. I will let the game describe itself more in its own words:
At first, I felt the game was rendered pretty simplistically inside the actual city and not really my style. But then I saw that it was deliberately set in the 1960’s and that this simple flat design actually makes sense visually and I agreed with it after that. And then only a few minutes later, I was becoming amazed as I realized this game had something most other games on GearVR really don’t have: draw distance. It’s really astounding.
Looking down over the city from the mountain top, you can still see every last building, there’s no fogging or clipping, it’s just a solid world. That really helps in VR, solidity can be just as important as 60 FPS is important. I’ve seen quite a few amazing GearVR games that still clip off in the distance and that really hurts immersion, but this game is solid.
I do have one beef with the graphics, however . When outside in the city, things look great, but when you go underground, I sometimes felt the game became more cartoony looking, with less detailed objects, less use of polygons, looking quite bad in some places. How could they put so much effort into the outdoors but neglect to beef up the indoor areas as well? It feels they didn’t put as much effort in the underground parts as they did in rendering the city. It is the meat and potatoes of this game, after all, but one might argue that underground, you don’t have to render an entire city at 60 FPS, so why not make the underground a bit more fleshed out, too? To add a far richer experience to the world they’ve created here. I often find myself bored on the indoor missions, wishing I was back outside where the nice view is.
Omega Agent does have a solid frame rate at all times, despite pushing an entire city’s worth of landscapes and pretty boxes (i.e., skyscrapers). They even took the time to render a fully-fleshed out jet pack all around you and it’s quite cool to fly around in, which takes us to our next point.
This game is really fun. You have to control so many aspects at once, from vertical thrusters to some intense forward-pushing mega-thrusters (that really punch it when you call on them) to rotation (your orientation). Sometimes you must manipulate all of those controls at once as you race through the challenges they’ve set to test your mettle. Are you an amateur, or are you an … an Agent? The game requires you to grow a lot in order to find a good answer to that question. So … will you actually ever become an Omega Agent?
Only time (and a lot of motion-sickness medicine!) will tell. That’s because this game is capable of ringing your bell at times, of making you feel queasy with so many forces at play at once. For example, in early missions, you must dart around some buildings 50 meters off the ground while turning perfectly to the right, then thrusting forward as you turn left and thrust at just the right moment to hit the ring. All of this must be done in under 28 seconds to get even one star. I tried it a dozen times, but I could never beat 28 seconds. It was always 33 seconds or something … close, but no cigar. At that early point in my spy adventures, I felt I might never become an Omega Agent. The game wasn’t just hard, it was almost impossible, or so it seemed.
But I actually ended up liking the difficulty of this game, because it dared me to improve myself in order to succeed and become an elite spy. I found the challenges were also really well paced, with each mission only slightly harder than the previous one. It’s like they created all the levels, then rated each mission (found which ones were harder), then specifically re-ordered all the missions when designing the game to cause them to increase in a perfect escalation every time. I remember how the game DRIFT (also for GearVR) was easy for about 3 levels, but then level 4 was almost too hard. And level 5 definitely was too hard! Jeesh. Those devs I think could have taken some lessons from FireProof Games on how to escalate game difficulty in just the right way.
There are also two different modes, a Freeflight Mode and a Mission Mode. If you want to advance the game’s quite varied plot, you can take on a mission. But you need to earn your stars or you can’t open up the further missions down the line. In Freeflight Mode, you can take your jetpack out for a test drive and get to know its nuances and flight controls better through some rigorous practice.
Fly to the top of the mountain and set her down with a nice view of the city below. I could stare at that amazing VR view for a while, but it’s too bad there isn’t a Multiplayer Mode so you can bring your girlfriend along to have a make-out session … on top of Blueberry Hill! Because the mood here really is just right for bringing a friend in to fly around with you and see the sights together. FireProof Games could offer a few M.P. challenges to keep the competitive spirits high, too. Give us some lasers and let us shoot each other out of the skies. Watch your friend do a face plant into the buildings or on the pavement below. Or … if it’s your girlfriend, you just shoot bean bags and crash land in some giant pillows haha (gotta keep things “nice”…)
While I don’t think such a Multiplayer inclusion would benefit the actual Mission “story line” much (as you are rather selfishly pursuing your goal to become an Omega Agent), I do think the Freeflight Mode would be way more awesome with another pilot linked in with you. Perhaps through Oculus Social, or perhaps by selecting one of your “Friends” in Oculus Home Store’s new Friend aspect? Either way, would FireProof Games even want to go back and add in a Multiplayer Mode just for Freeflight Mode? Who knows. I doubt it would be that hard for cool coders such as these and it would really help GearVR to keep getting as many Multiplayer aspects into games as possible. But not every company is an “OZWE” offering M.P. features into their games long after the game has set sail. But one can still dream, can’t we?
Omega Agent might have come out a while ago, but it still plays like a new game. It has stylish graphics that are, for the most part, good enough to astound at times, yet also disappoint at times, too, as with the underground elements. The 3D Depth is pretty good, but it isn’t the best I’ve seen, although having the jetpack HUD in front of you and all around does help a little.
The game will make you feel motion sick at times, especially after a marathon of extreme maneuvers on a level or challenge that you just can’t beat. You’ll end up giving up the game before you give up the mission. You just have to, when you feel that sick. But for rush that comes from flying above and throughout a fairly-large cityscape, it’s worth some motion sickness in order to have this kind of an experience at all.
This review was written a week ago now and at that time, I had never found anything out about the options for the game because the loading screen is literally full of so much information, you just can’t process it all and I was always too eager to get into the game. After I posted this article, I got a ton of messages indicating that I could change a lot of things about the game from there. These included “being able to turn off the sky-box grid that you can see” and that’s great because it was a little annoying. The game’s graphics seemed to have improved greatly due to this one settings change. Then I learned you can “rotate via swivel chair” and instantly, the aspect of Presence in the game improved a lot! Being able to control the rotation took down the difficulty of trying to do it by finger, with so many other buttons already in play. And this one change removed all motion sickness for me. Long story short, I rated this game 7.5 before, but now with these changes, it feels so much more awesome than before. I really feel the devs should’ve defaulted to these settings as they are the best ones for getting the most Presence possible with the least motion sickness. The score of this game must now be changed to reflect the improvements these great changes made!
I think the price of $9.99 is now an excellent price, well worth the money given everything this game offers. Although at least some multiplayer aspect would be awesome if they think they can swing it. If FireProof Games added in Multiplayer for the Freeflight Mode and let us challenge our friends to a race or a Deathmatch of some kind, I imagine that would be incredibly fun!
If you want the only jet-pack experience on GearVR, and are willing to make the changes I’ve made to reduce motion sickness and improve the look of the game, then Omega Agent is the just the game for you.