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HTC's Front Defense is a solid shooting gallery for the Vive

HTC's Front Defense is a solid shooting gallery for the Vive


Like Job Simulator in a warzone

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If you were expecting HTC's first game for its Vive headset to be a revolutionary, platform-defining title, I can only disappoint you. Front Defense, developed by "internal startup" Fantahorn Studio, is a World War II shooter that places you behind sandbags to fight off the onslaught of soldiers with an array of weaponry. At least on its Computex showing, there's no attempt made to solve the problem of long-distance movement in VR, or to provide any degree of structure or progression.

That's not to say it isn't a lot of fun. There's an element of absurdity to the proceedings at first — half the challenge of the game is in learning how to use your motion-tracked hands. You can pick up a rifle in your right hand and load a magazine with your left. You can pick up a grenade and hold it to your teeth to take out the pin before throwing it. You can load a bazooka by stretching to insert a rocket in the rear end. These actions aren't always the easiest to perform under fire, and sometimes it's as if the sedate office chaos of Job Simulator has been transported to a warzone.

But the demo as set up presents little penalty for failure; standing up and getting shot simply turns the screen monochrome slowly enough to give you time to take cover. It made me think that a more realistic spin on the concept could be truly intense, forcing you to spend more time in hiding as you scramble to find ammunition. Maybe a harder mode in Front Defense could be it, but the game's arcadey vibe — you literally see points appear over enemies' heads as you kill them — makes me think that's not the aim. Still, consider this game a solid proof of concept for hiding behind sandbags in virtual reality, and a competent first step in HTC's plans for exclusive Vive content.