Blasters of the Universe

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Blasters of the Universe Game Poster Image
Fast, fun VR action lets you dodge virtual bullets.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

An argument could be made that the story is about confronting a bully, but even that's pretty much an excuse to give players something to fight against.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Player is hero of story, and villain is bully-turned-virtual god "Grandmaster Alwyn." Alwyn (aka "Allen") has a backstory more fleshed out, but hero is a blank slate meant to be filled in by player.

Ease of Play

Simple controls, small number of stages, but there's a reason these types of games are called "bullet hell" shooters. Aiming, shooting while simultaneously dodging endless stream of enemy fire is far from easy.

Violence

While action is fast-paced, nonstop, with streams of bullets whizzing past player's head at breakneck speed, it's not a graphically violent experience. TRON-esque VR art style makes game feel more like a futuristic shooting gallery, with enemies simply bursting into flashes of light, disappearing.

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Language
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Blasters of the Universe is a first-person VR shooter available for download on the PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift, and HTC Vive. The game, while easy to control, has a high degree of difficulty, especially when trying to dodge incoming fire with physical movements in a generally limited space. The story, such as it is, involves fighting back against someone who lets self-perceived power and sense of importance get the best of him. There's not much sympathy for the villain, and the player is essentially there as a tool to fight back against an overinflated ego. The game's art style fits the virtual reality setting, projecting the sense of living inside a game. As a result, the nonstop action is flashy and colorful, but isn't graphic in its presentation of the violence. Parents should be aware, too, that virtual reality equipment makers don't recommend VR experiences for kids under 12 due to the potential impact the technology may have on younger players' physiological development.

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What's it about?

In BLASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE, Allen Fitzpatrick was your average, everyday loser. The unemployed slacker spent all his free time at the local arcade. Here, with gaming skills matched only by his massive ego, Allen ruled his little kingdom with an iron fist. When the arcade got its latest VR addition (also known as Blasters of the Universe), Allen took it for a test run -- and ended up getting sucked into the virtual realm. With a whole new world to feed his power trip, Allen Fitzpatrick gave way to Grandmaster Alwyn, a virtual god for a virtual world. Enter the Blasters, a group of digital heroes whose sole purpose is to wipe out every trace of Alwyn's corruption and teach the bully a lesson once and for all.

Is it any good?

This VR action game provides a short yet thrilling arcade-style experience that will make you feel like a superhero, even if it's only in short bursts. Blasters of the Universe will give you a hefty dose of adrenaline with each shot that you fire and dodge in real time. See, virtual reality games are meant to be immersive, interactive experiences that create a whole new world of action and adventure around you. The actual reality of VR, though, is more like a roller coaster. Sure, things are happening around you, but you're just along for the ride. Then comes a game like Blasters of the Universe, a fast-paced, action-packed shooting gallery full of ducking, dodging, blocking, and blasting that puts you firmly in the driver's seat.

Blasters of the Universe has a colorful but basic art style, filled with bright neon that's stereotypical of virtual worlds and fitting for the campy story it puts forward. The controls are generally intuitive, easy even for newcomers to pick up and play, though the insane amount of incoming fire and enemy minions prove to be a challenge even for the most skilled gamers. And while dodging enemy bullets might make you feel like Neo in The Matrix, it can get a little exhausting and disorienting over time. This is one VR experience you'll definitely need to play in shorter bursts ... which works in the game's favor, as it's a relatively small overall package. With only a handful of levels to its name, the game risks feeling repetitive, but with so much going on, it's usually hard to notice. Instead, Blasters of the Universe seems to channel those classic quarter-gobbling arcade days of yore, with a new VR spin that's well worth the price.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about virtual reality. What are some of the positives and negatives of VR gaming? What are some other benefits VR technology could (and does) offer society?

  • Talk about bullies and how to deal with them. What are some reasons that people bully others? What are ways to avoid becoming a bully and to deal with bullying when you see it?

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