The wacky first-person VR shooter Robo Recall was one of the biggest reasons I wanted an Oculus Quest headset.
It may have just been made as an introductory title for Epic Games and Oculus to show just what its virtual games and the hardware in its headset could do. But it had everything that makes a virtual shooter game fun and unique: rapid action, bewildering heights, and a simple concept that let you jump right into the action. Shoot the robots as fast as you can if you can't, pick them up and throw them off a building, or pull off their heads with your bare hands.
It still amazes and frustrates me that no one with the power to make it happen has even tried to do a sequel. Thankfully, Hyper Dash arrived and filled the Robo Recall-shaped hole in my life. It's a fast-paced, futuristic VR shooter with all kinds of fun new ways to shoot robotic foes in the face, and it's the kind of experience I've dreamed of playing since I was young.
Our Oculus Quest Game of the Week column highlights recent Meta Quest titles, indie gems, App Lab up-and-comers, or cool sideloaded mods. Games that we didn't have time to review but deserve recognition.
Multiplayer shooters have earned a bad reputation among casual and even some seasoned gamers because it's so easy for people who spend 23 hours a day in front of a screen to game the game. Heavily populated games like Fortnite and pretty much every Call of Duty ever made are filled with people who know every nook and cranny of each stage and powerup system that they can exploit to their advantage. They can score a headshot so quickly that you're lucky to get a full minute of actual play in a single deathmatch. They can make a good game virtually unplayable.
Hyper Dash has its share of experienced players, but it's simpler. Everyone is on a level playing field regardless of their numbered level. Players possess the chassis of a bipedal, humanoid robot that can hold two weapons at one time. No one has special abilities or weapons that only they can use. Everyone can only use what they find or must learn to stick with the default pistols the game glues into their metallic hands every time they respawn.
The movement mechanic is what sets Hyper Dash apart from other multiplayer and team shooters. Most shooter games only let you walk or run. The robots in Hyper Dash can walk and run on their human-looking legs but there are more than just those two ways to move across the maps.
There's something called "Dash" in the game that lets players zip from one spot to another with a limited amount of use until their dash power refills. Everyone starts with three but a pickup in the game can bump it up to five and you have to be careful how you use it. An enemy can quickly evade your aim and target you if you don't have enough dash to counter them.
There are also magnetic, metal rails littered across every level and in every game mode. When you jump on them, your feet glide along the rails like Tony Hawk grinding a stairway rail. Trying to shoot your opponent while sliding by them never gets old. It's a satisfying way to score a point for yourself or your team, and it feels like you're in a sci-fi action epic directed by John Woo.
Anyone can learn and develop their own feel for the levels, the different modes, and the arsenal of weapons strewn about each map. They run the gamut of FPS bullet spitters from the burst rifle that shoots eight small bullets with one trigger pull to the devastating shock pistol. There's a great balance that trades off the right amount of ammo and the amount of firepower depending on which you choose to use and some guns even have alternative firing modes just to mix things up more on the playing field.
The game also lets you pair up two types of weapons so you can mix up your shots You can deliver a damaging amount of power up-close with a short barrel shotgun in your left hand and a bunch of small shots from farther away with a SMG in your right. So you get to live out your gunfire fight fantasy by shooting two guns at once whilst jumping through the air just like Nick Frost finally going full action-hero at the end of Hot Fuzz.
The majority of the game modes are focused on playing with teams. There are only a couple of deathmatch maps that are more closed in with hallways, tunnels, and smaller floors that are easy to learn and don't have unreachable hiding places. The team games are more innovative and offer more than just your basic "Capture the Flag" game. The "Payload" mode tasks each team to stand on a moving platform that crawls along a track. The more of the team's players that are on the platform, the faster it moves.
The offense has to move the platform forward before time runs out. The other team goes on defense by bumping off their opposing robots to stop the platform from lurching forward and reaching the goal before the timer hits zero. Then they switch sides.
When each round ends, the players get dumped into an awards room where the winners get to shoot confetti guns to celebrate their victory and the top player can hoist a virtual trophy over their head and their opponents. There are even the first, second, and third place platforms of Olympic fame. So you can take your rightful place to further celebrate your victory — or just stand on it and pretend you finished the round better than you actually did.
We're in the future now
Hyper Dash is the kind of game I hoped I get to play someday long before virtual reality became an actual reality. Back in the 80s when I started getting into video games and had to settle for my Atari 2600, getting to run around a virtual field and take down robots with a handheld rocket launcher sounded like something that could only happen on an episode of The Jetsons that somehow made it past the censors.
Robo Recall may be the shooter game that made me want to get an Oculus Quest, but Hyper Dash is the one that made me stay on my Meta Quest 2.
Go one in one or join a team and fight in multiple multiplayer modes in this rail-grinding, robot-dashing virtual shooter.
Buy at: Oculus
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Danny Gallagher is a freelance tech, game and comedy writer based out of Dallas, Tex. He's written features for places like CNET, Cracked, Maxim, Mandatory and The Onion AV Club. He's also written material for games produced by Jackbox Games and SnapFingerClick.