Have you ever wanted to be a spy in Virtual Reality? Twisted Pixel’s The Defector not only allows you to travel the world, performing all your spy and action star dreams with a surprisingly diverse campaign and an impressive replayability makes Defector not only one of the most enjoyable single-player story-based VR games, but one of the best value for your money with a price tag of $20/€20
Defector sees you play the role of an operative who is being questioned over a series of events. These act as the frame which will see you travel the world, completing different objectives depending on the mission. From the locations to the gameplay itself, Defector offers a surprising amount of variety in terms of where you go and what you will do. By the time you reach about the halfway point through the story, you start to guess and get excited about what will happen next.
The gameplay does not feel like the standard VR game where it offers one mechanic for the entire runtime. No matter how well it is implemented, it eventually runs its course meaning most linear games either run too long or just don’t offer enough to warrant its price tag.
Defector doesn’t fall into this hole. Instead of one single mechanic delivered well, it offers many different scenarios and freely switches genres mid-mission in such an impressive way. One moment, you are exploring a location, trying to figure out what to do next like a light puzzle title, the next, you are blasting through enemies and trying to get out of somewhere in a frantic series of events, and then after that could be a stealth moment as enemies and drones are tracking you down.
This approach and variety is impressive alone but couple that with the fact that most missions offer a critical moment where the rest of the level branches means there is an excellent incentive for replay value simple from the gameplay approaches and what you will be doing from moment to moment.
Couple that with the list of bonus objectives each mission adds and you’ve got one of the most replayable VR games out there right now. Some of the bonus missions are simple scenarios like killing x number of enemies a certain wait or performing something flawlessly. However, there were a number of times, I would return to replay the level and check the bonus objectives and was completely unaware that something like that was possible. It kept me surprised throughout.
As you complete missions, you will unlock cheats that can be used to further extend your enjoyment. You can implement visual changes like bit colours, monotonal looks to the game as well as some fun visual effects like fireworks and confetti up dispatching enemies.
However, this cheat menu also offers gameplay tweaks to both make you feel more powerful and have fun but also inflict a tougher challenge. Every mission can have whatever unlocked cheat you choose and it once again adds more life and longevity to the game.
One of the most impressive aspects of Defector though is the ability to throw you around and put you in high-octane scenarios without even the slightest sense of motion sickness. From my own experience, I am rather susceptible to motion sickness but never once did it feel it with Defector. I have smooth movement and smooth turning always one. There was no need for tunnels or any kind of support. I was immersed but never disorientated which is a first for a game of this calibre.
There wasn’t a moment that I wasn’t enjoying and a couple of times I caught myself with a big dumb smile on my face thinking “this is cool”. Defector goes beyond being a simply good VR game and instead becomes an essential experience. This is just one of the best games of the year, period