AGAINST is a VR rhythm combat game that places you inside a film noir crime drama set in 1930s New York City. It features a gritty black and white visual style that's complimented by a generous splash of red gore whenever you slice, shoot, or bludgeon your opponents.
AGAINST features a satisfying variety of weapons to play with. In the Steam Vr demo you get to handle a katana, a revolver gun, and a pair of knuckle dusters for some good ol' fashioned fisty cuffs.
In the game you fight primarily against shadowy mafioso forces with some non-human enemies such as giant snakes and clawed demons mixed in. Some enemies will like to get up close and personal whilst others will try to take you out from a distance with a gun or throwing weapon.
Depending on the attack you may need to dodge it or deflect it, for example, bullets can be deflected using a well-timed parry from the katana.
There will also be a boss character to face-off against at the end of each stage. The end-of-level boss for the demo is a giant spider that you take out using the katana to slice it's legs and a set of revolvers to finish it off.
Enemies aren't the only challenge you'll face however, as you'll also need to avoid obstacles by ducking, jumping and running up walls.
As with many rhythm games, you earn a better score by coordinating your attacks to the rhythm. Other ways to increase your points include slicing enemies in the specific direction shown on-screen or being accurate with your gun shots.
The developers intend to include up to ten different music tracks at launch and three difficulty levels (easy, hard, expert) for each stage.
I played through the short Steam VR demo to get a feel for the gameplay. The demo features both easy and hard difficulty settings, with the hard setting adding more enemies and objects to dodge.
AGAINST felt like playing a mashup of some of my favourite VR games. It had the movement, rhythm and gun action of Pistol Whip, with the directional slashing and dodging mechanics of Until You Fall, and the parkour action featured in the game Stride.
However, that's not to say these elements felt ripped off, instead they are adapted in their own way to create a fun and unique gameplay experience. I found that this tasting plate of different gameplay mechanics gave AGAINST a decent amount of variety packed into the one stage. In one moment I was chopping giant snakes and deflecting bullets using my katana, and in the next I was running up a wall shooting mafia gun baddies in moving cars.
The frequent changes in gameplay were never made to fast for me either, I always felt like the game kept a good pace for me to adapt to every new challenge thrown at me.
Another element I enjoyed were the multiple pathways. At one point I missed a jump and instead of running across a rooftop, I ended up crashing into the front door and going through the building instead!
Granted, the alternate pathway I experienced only lasted a few seconds and didn't take me in any drastically new directions from the original set route but it was still pretty cool feature nonetheless.
AGAINST is a fairly physical game and it did give me a light workout on the easy setting which became noticeably more intense on the harder setting.
I didn't encounter any bugs or issues either, everything felt polished, with the weapons and movement handing well. The soundtrack was also decent and followed the action nicely, giving me a satisfying beat to fight too.
Overall, I enjoyed my time with Joy Way's new rhythm action game and at the end of the demo I was left wanting more. Head over to the AGAINST Steam VR page here to wishlist the game and experience the demo for yourself and let us know what you think in the comments below!
AGAINST is planned for release Q3 of 2021 for Steam VR with plans to release on other stores later, which will hopefully include the Oculus Quest.