In one of the trailer parks where I lived as a child, there was an acre-sized wooded area that was a fantastic place to build forts and play war games. It was basically a small loblolly pine forest with trees over 100 feet tall and pinecones that scattered the ground year round. Although the main function of these pinecones, which were several inches long, was to keep the trees’ seeds safe until it was time to germinate, our imaginations quickly turned nature’s little reproductive vessels into grenades.

One of my favorite games was collecting all the grenades (i.e. pinecones) in my fort and then hiding there until an enemy tried to invade my space. Usually the enemy was my younger brother and he’d take cover next to his own hoard of imaginary explosive weapons.

Pinecones aren’t exactly the easiest thing to throw because they’re relatively lightweight so it’s difficult to impose much force. Also, it’s not like they really hurt that much unless they hit you in the face, but regardless of the location of impact, it was understood that a direct hit meant you were injured or dead. Occasionally we’d find some cardboard boxes to use as shields or we’d throw sticks at each other when we ran out of pinecones.

These days I play with imaginary weapons, explosives, and shields in immersive reality. Some games, like One Hamsa’s Racket: Nx or Ready At Dawn’s Echo Arena, are incredibly fast-paced physical sport games, while others require a bit more strategy, patience, and stealth.

Resolution Games’ Blaston reminds me of the pinecone wars we had in the trailer park.

Bullets are delivered in slow motion, almost like trying to lob those pinecones, but there’s still challenge involved as Blaston combines the old-fashioned concept of dueling with modern immersive technology in a unique, fun VR game. The game requires stealth and patience as well as movement and quick responses.

About Blaston

Released October 8, 2020, Blaston has been around for over a year and the playerbase continues to grow thanks to active involvement from the developers and early Blaston adopters. It’s a polished game that has an overall “very positive” rating on Steam and an 83% five-star rating on the Oculus app.

Oculus Store describes Blaston as a Matrix-like experience where you’ll “duck, dodge and weave like Neo” in the “competitive slow-motion bullet-hell.” Features include:

  • Ability to duel players in real-time from around the world
  • Collect weapons of increasing depth as you level up
  • Ability to create your own strategic weapon loadout
  • Ozo Lounge – A social area where you can hang out, play arcade games, fist-bump to start a friendly duel, play darts & take photos that can be uploaded to the community Discord server.

One of my favorite aspects of Blaston is the virtual audience on each side of the dueling area. Their subtle movements and appropriate responsive sounds are appealing and the virtual audience presence adds a great vibe to the atmosphere. Resolution Games dev team has done a fine job with the character models, artwork and color combinations for this game.

In addition to the traditional immersive experience, players with a bHaptics suit can also experience haptic feedback on the Oculus version of Blaston.

Interview with Mathieu Castelli

Several weeks ago Mathieu Castelli, Resolution Games’ chief creative officer, took time out of his busy schedule to chat with me about inspiration for Blaston, the negative community reaction to the possibility of ads, and more. Check out this interview for some insider information about Blaston!

Game Updates

Regular updates including “Crackdown” (June 21, 2021) and “Quick Draw” (Sept. 30, 2021) have received incredibly positive response.

The Quick Draw update is a seasonal mode featuring an old-fashioned showdown in the dusty land of the Greatstone Valley and players have only the “Deadringer” (basically a revolver) to defend themselves. Normal dueling mode offers a variety of weapons, but in this mode it all comes down to the quickest draw in an immersive environment modeled after the wild west.

The Blaston Arctic Blast update coming December 9 will feature a new weapon and chilly-looking character for the winter seasonal mode. Resolution Games has a lot of cool updates planned for the future, but this one will be available very soon!

Esports

There’s an established competitive scene for Blaston supported by the community and developers. Held most weekends, events feature particular challenges and prizes such as special skins. There have also been cash prizes, bHaptics suits, and subscriptions to VR Trend magazine.

In addition to dev-sponsored tournaments and Blastzone Challenge events on the weekends, the community hosts Blaston Fight Nights, a weekly community VR gaming competition.

Keep an eye on Blaston social media as well as the tournaments and events channel of the Blaston Discord server for more information about upcoming events.

Connect with the Community

Inevitably when I’m reviewing games there comes a time when I have a question that requires me to reach out on social media, typically a community Discord server. The tone of responses can often indicate the atmosphere of a particular community and it’s always nice to encounter pleasant discussion and helpful players or devs willing to answer questions.

On the Blaston Discord server, replies from both players and developers have been helpful and polite. Currently there are 3,750 members in the server and it’s incredibly active, which indicates an expectation of continued growth of the playerbase and fellow dueling enthusiasts.

Community members also put effort into attracting new players by talking about the game, streaming, and creating YouTube videos. Check out some of the most active Blaston content creators:

As always, we recommend that players also connect with community members through their preferred social media platform. Ask questions, share your stories, and post screenshots of your Blaston experiences. Official Blaston social media links:

Seated Accessibility

I play seated and for this review I’ve played several times over the past year on an Oculus Quest 2. Recently my avatar has been too close to the podium and despite resetting the floor level numerous times, I couldn’t adjust the height. The devs are looking into this, but think it might be an issue with my Quest rather than with the game. Either way, I mention it because there’s an easy fix.

FaintBeep, a player on the community Discord, suggested that I try the “raise view” option in Quest Experimental Settings. Once I toggled that on, it fixed the issue immediately so I’d definitely recommend this easy fix if other seated players are struggling with being too low on the podium!

What’s Next

Resolution Games has a history of developing well-made experiences such as Demeo, Cook-0ut: A Sandwich Tale, and Angry Birds VR: Isle of Pigs. Fans of Blaston and other Resolution Games experiences might also enjoy Ultimechs, coming in 2022.

Players will compete for glory as giant mechs that require speed and precision as they attempt to disarm and defeat their enemies with rocketry in an immersive sport arena.

Where to Purchase Blaston

Blaston is $9.99 and is available on PCVR as well as the standalone Oculus Quest 2 headset.

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