The QuiVR of today is not at all like its predecessor. When I first played the title, it was a single map of walls that required frantic defense. Enemies came in waves, as players lept from spot to spot on the self-contained map searching for ways to stop the big bads before they burst through your castle walls.
Today, the game is an epic project that features puzzle tiles and elite enemies with upgrades galore and objective-based gameplay. It’s great to see the developers have achieved their vision and released a finished and polished game.
However, a small subset of players misses “that ol’ feeling” they got when playing QuiVR’s base game.
That’s where QuiVR Vanguard comes in. Let’s figure out what this game is and whether you need it.
Vanguard calls itself a “bite-sized” experience. That’s an excellent way to phrase it from a marketing perspective. Players feel like QuiVR is the complete experience, and it is. Vanguard is more like a challenge, or a horde mode. It’s a single game mode, but it has some depth to it. Enemy waves are different every time you reload the map, but certain beats remain the same (like bosses).
Vanguard is also a remix of the original map. The layout remains the same, but the new enemy types from QuiVR have made it into the Vanguard experience. The same shooty-looty system that QuiVR players love makes a return in Vanguard too. After a few hours, you can customize your character to dish out punishment any way you want.
Additionally, drop-in-out multiplayer means the flow is never interrupted. You can easily find a game or join an existing match. Furthermore, difficulty scales as more players enter the fray. Exploring multiplayer is an entirely different kind of Vanguard experience.
So, what are the main differences Vanguard has with its predecessor? For one, the game only has a single map that won’t change much. Only waves change, so gameplay is very focused on eliminating enemies efficiently. Players can also learn the map layout and where the best shots will be at various chokepoints.
QuiVR is far more like a mission-based approach, with players encouraged to explore and play less defensively. In Vanguard, enemies storm your gates and the game ends. However, QuiVR’s map changes continuously. You can never rely on certain things to happen, but you can learn to recognize patterns that signal a particular boss or puzzle is coming.
The way players acquire upgrades is also different. In QuiVR, players need to end a session to gain upgrades and loot. In Vanguard, players can pick up loot between waves and customize their approach dynamically.
Both games have world-class bow physics. I found QuiVR to have one of the most familiar-feeling archery physics systems I’ve encountered in VR. Tension, arrow drop, and accuracy all feel spot on in the QuiVR series of games.
With Vanguard, old-school QuiVR players can get back the nostalgia they crave using the optimization and improvements the QuiVR team learned expanding the base game. While the two have very different focuses, they are so closely related that we feel Vanguard is genuinely a part of the QuiVR experience.
Existing players got Vanguard for free on release, but the bundle of both games is around $20 as of writing. Worth the costs for two very different experiences set within the same universe.