While Dick Wilde may not be the flashiest or most complex of the games on offer for the PSVR, it is undeniably a hell of a lot of fun. By marrying wave-based highscore chasing gameplay with some of the best tracking I’ve experience so far in VR period, the game manages to do a lot more with what it’s got than other games in the same genre.
So much of what makes Dick Wilde pop lies in its great level design and stellar understanding of the hardware it’s on. Each level consists of several waves of increasingly formidable swamp creatures which must be dealt with using one of the variety of homemade weapons available. The game starts off easy enough in its first stage. There’s a definite learning curve in these opening moments but once you get acquainted with the viscous swamp beasties’ attacking patterns, it’s easy enough to land a fairly decent score. All of the stages beyond this become challenging very quickly indeed. This steep difficulty spike may be off-putting to some players but is never unfair. It is very easy to die in Dick Wilde, taking hits from certain enemies can fill the screen with various fluids, obscuring your view and often your ability to shoot. With a little practice though, the game really opens up and the challenging nature present throughout gives it added longevity compared to other VR titles.
Dick Wilde revels in it’#s deranged hillbilly aesthetic. The titular character is pretty messed up, unlikable even but it’s all presented in such a tongue-in-cheek manner that he never grows too tiring. The array of weapons offers up a real variety of different possible playstyles. There’s a shotgun/shield combo, dual-wield paintball guns and even harpoon guns. Each weapon has a primary and secondary function allowing for experimentation during play. The weapons are homemade by Dick himself so are imaginative to say the least, but all of them are viable options meaning that you’ll likely settle on a different favourite to other players.
Visually Dick Wilde is about as pretty as it needs to be. a cartoonish artstyle certainly eases the drop in resolution from moving to PSVR and textures are crisp throughout. The enemies are all easy to make out, even at long distances and because of the accuracy of the tracking, it’s easy to feel like a sharpshooting badass. There’s little variety in locations but what is offered is charming enough. Beach locales and swamps feel different, breaking up the gameplay which can sometimes get a little bit repetitive after a while.
What drives Dick Wilde along is its absolutely impeccable controller tracking. Playing with two move controllers, I never once experience problems with the jittering or movement issues which plague most VR titles. It’s refreshing to have each weapon behave exactly how you expect it to, allowing for a surprising level of control and accuracy. Blasting a golden carp out of the air hundreds of feet away feels great every time and deaths always feel earned and fair.
In terms of content theirs a fair amount on offer here. Several levels of different difficulties are available to play solo as well as against 3 other players. There are a multitude of leaderboards for each weapon on each particular stage so it is likely here where players will get the most out of the game. Some of the dialogue can come off a little stilted and sometimes even tone-deaf. Lines about experimenting on animals paint Dick as a bit of a shady character, but perhaps that is the point. It’s difficult to literally embody a character who makes you cringe so much. The rest of the sound design is very good indeed. Before each level I would stand bashing my shotgun against my shield hyping myself up for the approaching battle. The way the environment responds to the player’s actions is really solid, a fact really reinforced during the menu segments where you can play around in Dick’s shack.
Dick Wilde is not the prettiest or most complicated game you can buy for your PSVR headset but it absolutely nails what it is trying to achieve. Solid tracking and controller options make the game an absolute joy to play and the enemy variety and wacky environments more than make up for the unlikable protagonist. In terms of a solid, fun and challenging shooting VR experience, there aren’t many which could go toe-for-toe with Dick Wilde.
You can check out an recent interview I did with the CEO of Bolverk Studios here, and make sure you stay tuned for all things Dick Wilde.