Korix Review

I typically shy away from real time strategy games. I don’t hate the genre, but I just don’t do very well with them. My typical strategy is to spend as much time building defenses. When I’m ready to send out a small squad to scout the area, that’s usually the moment when the enemy comes rolling in and crushes everything I held dear. Even when I decide to play aggressively, such as pumping out as many combat units to win by attrition, they are easily wiped out. Even on the easiest settings, the AI has no problem mopping the floor with my paltry units, which is usually enough for me to seek out cheats. Pathetic as it sounds, that was the only reason I was able to finish Dune 2000 and Warcraft 3.

Now that we’ve established me to be grossly unqualified to review an RTS game, what I like about Korix is its simplicity. Seasoned strategy hounds would snigger at its basic design, which gives you all the basic, necessary tools to wage war. It’s not “Baby’s First RTS,” but it is straightforward and inoffensive: you’ll launch a strike against the enemy base by sending out workers to harvest energy which is used to purchase offensive (soldiers, tanks, airships, mechs, and rockets) and defensive (turrets, artillery, anti-air) units. Defenses can be upgraded to be more powerful against an escalating enemy force. Only by steadily creeping forward towards the enemy base by placing walls and stationary defenses will you get close enough to attack and destroy it, ending the level. The early stages present simple, one on one skirmishes. Later levels test your strategic and management mettle against multiple bases.

Korix’s existence as a PlayStation VR title is what gives it a high cool factor. As a matter of fact, VR was made for strategy games like this. Whereas playing an RTS on a computer monitor gives you the feeling of an armchair general, doing it in VR puts you right in the action as the eye in the sky for a map that floats just inches away. You’ll look really cool using the PlayStation Move wand to place units on the ground because the wand is represented in-game as some sort of futuristic hand tool. Placing units is easy and fun: just point the laser sight on the grid you want to play the unit on and pull the trigger. Playing Korix with the PlayStation Move is intuitive, comfortable, and great fun.

My only complaint about unit management with the PlayStation Move is that I wished for more direct control over units. Turrets and artillery can focus their fire on an enemy base as long as it is in range and you hold down the X button to concentrate their fire. It’d be nice if I could just issue the command and let them do their thing so I can focus on putting out other fires. Soldiers, tanks, airships, and mechs won’t wait for commands after their built. Instead, they wander over to the other base stopping only to attack other targets if they get in range. It’d be nice if I could divide up my units and assign them roles, like patrol, scout, strike, and defend. .

On paper, and in play, Korix is an accessible strategy game that doesn’t do anything to innovate. That said, it’s a great game for beginners wanting to get their feet wet. The low polygonal design of the game assets doesn’t lend itself to visuals that are “flashy.” Soldiers and workers are represented on the map as blue and white cubed rectangles. Tanks, airships, and mechs are more defined, but their solid, primary color design makes them look more like 3D printed tabletop accessories. The thing is, this visual design works because it accommodates the limitations of the PSVR hardware. My chief complaint with an otherwise cool tech is that PSVR runs at a lower resolution than the Oculus and Vive. As a result, games never look as crisp and smooth as screenshots on the PlayStation Store might suggest. The low poly style looks great, even at a lower resolution, and I found that the “fuzziness” inherent to PSVR games wasn’t so pronounced.

Though it is basic, Korix is a great game to play in VR because it’s real time strategy games couldn't be a more perfect use of the medium. At $20, the game offers a fair amount of content spread between an offline campaign and skirmish mode. There’s also multiplayer, where up to four players can play against or with each other against human and AI players. Sadly, no one was playing so I didn’t get a chance to try it out. That’s probably for the best though. I can’t fathom going against a human player--I’d be ripped to shreds! Korix is a great entry level RTS that uses the technology of the PlayStation VR in a spectacularly immersive fashion.

Librarian by day, Darkstation review editor by night. I've been playing video games since the days of the Commodore 64 and I have no interest in stopping now that I've made it this far.