Procedurally-generated VR dungeon crawling at its absolute finest.
In Death: Unchained is now available on the Oculus Quest, bringing with it all the rogue-lite action you know and love from the original along with a few demonic twists. A combination of procedurally-generated maps and randomly-generated enemy positions offers a one-of-a-kind experience that will have you exploring the afterlife for hours as you go toe-to-toe with the damned, collect sacred loot, and earn special power-ups.
Set throughout the randomized levels of Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory, In Death: Unchained has you battling a never-ending onslaught of nightmarish creatures and forsaken souls ranging from temple knights and undead ghouls to hooded archers and miniature pot-bellied demons that are as unsettling as they are deadly. Using your god-like longbow and deadly accurate crossbow, you’ll make your way through an ever-changing gauntlet using a unique bow-based locomotion system.
Instead of using your Touch controllers to teleport to a nearby location, you press the A or X button (depending on your weapon and dominant hand) to select the teleport arrow and shoot your way across each map. Where you go and how you get there is up to you. My latest strategy involves stalking enemies from rooftops and raining down waves of arrows like an angelic Spider-Man before making my way to ground level to clean up any remaining foes.
In Death: Unchained is an entirely rang-based game, requiring pinpoint accuracy using either a heavy longbow or a versatile crossbow. You’re virtual quiver is stocked with an unlimited amount of arrows, so you’ll never have to worry about running dry in the middle of a fight. You can avoid enemy attacks by activating your shield with the grip button. You can also dodge by using the grip on your non-dominant hand to quickly strafe in any direction using the teleport shard.
When facing tougher or larger groups of enemies, you’ll want to make heavy use of your special arrows. These powerful projectiles can be found scattered randomly throughout the map, purchased at in-level Reliquaries (here you can also pick up health and other power-ups), or by looting enemy corpses. Freeze archers in their place with Winter’s Bite, set fire to groups of temple knights with Cataclysm, target multiple enemies at once with Barrage of Needles, and take out far away enemies using the never-miss arrows, or “satan-seekers” as I’ve been calling them.
And you’ll need all the assistance you can get, as the game is not afraid throw you straight into the fires of hell. You’ll begin your grueling journey in the Sanctuary, a lobby area you can use to check the stats of other players, change weapons, and hop through a variety of gates. Starting off you’ll only have access to Purgatory. Here you’ll battle a fair share of enemies in an effort to reach the end of the maze and defeat a beastly final boss surrounded by skilled goons. Sure, there are several “mini-bosses” scattered throughout Purgatory, but none quite as difficult as this ugly monstrosity.
Laying into its theme of heaven and hell, death is a primary component of the In Death: Unchained experience. Game progress is based on an achievement system that updates each run. This means every time you die after achieving a new milestone, the game becomes more difficult. And you are definitely going to die. You’re going to die a lot. Thankfully, each new achievement earned gets you that much closer to new rewards. In order to advance past Purgatory and into Paradise Lost, you’ll need to progress 20% through the game; 40% to enter The Abyss, an entirely new world exclusive to Unchained.
I clocked quite a few hours in Solfar Studios’ original In Death, and while the 2018 original will always remain one of my favorite PC VR experiences, Superbright’s Quest adaptation is in my opinion the definitive version of the game. Fresh content, a brand new game world, and full freedom-of-movement; all coming together to offer one of the best VR rogue-lite looters available on the Quest.
In Death: Unchained is available now for $29.99 via the Oculus Quest Store.
According to a recent announcement by Superbright, the team will be introducing support for smooth locomotion as part of a future update.
Image Credit: Superbright