Under Cover is a VR love letter to light gun shooters classics and I like it a lot
We have all probably wasted a lot of money playing a light gun shooter game, like Time Crisis, in an arcade before, right? Under Cover is just that, a VR light gun shooter that you can play in the comfort of your own home and the best part, you will not waste any money. It's simple, beautiful and one heck of a good time!
The game can be played either solo or in co-op with a friend, but the way the whole co-op system is kinda weird. If you have a friend who is playing the game, it's all good and dandy since you can join them by entering their specific, I guess, matchmaking code. I, unfortunately, have no friends that play this game and the lack of a server browser where you can see and join other players or even a simple "Join Random Match" button feels like a missed opportunity, so keep this in mind.
Anyway, playing solo with your partner being controlled by AI works just fine. Before you start the campaign, you can choose which character you want to play as, either Red-Eye or Magnum, and what path you want to take during the missions, either path A or B. These characters play virtually the same, if you use the default gun. But if you choose their other unique gun, things are a little different. Red-Eye's unique gun is an automatic pistol, high fire rate - low damage, so you just hold the trigger and you will empty the clip on the many enemies you will encounters. As for Magnum, her unique gun is well, a magnum revolver, tiny clip/magazine - high damage like you can one-shot headshot most of the enemies. These two unique guns plus the two slightly different paths you can take during missions and the highscore system add a lot to the overall replayability of the game.
The gameplay in itself is really simple. Just like the classic light gun shooter games, it's entirely an on-rails experience meaning that your character will move and position themselves in specific points in the level and then you can shoot at everyone and everything that appears in front of you. Once you kill everything, you move on to the next point and so on. To reload the gun, you need to duck and since this is a VR game, if you are playing standing you need to physically duck. Well, that's not entirely true cause immagine doing that, like squating a bajillion times to reload your gun, you would just basically die. You would have a godly ass, but you'd still be dead. No, here instead of a full on squat, you just have to do the smallest squat, like you just start to squat and the game immediately picks that up and places you behind cover where you are mostly safe from any incoming attacks and reloads your gun. Then you can pop out again and well, shoot down the hordes of enemies that appear in front of you. The game keeps track of your accuracy, how many bullets you fired etc. so the better you do, the higher your final score.
Shooting feels quite nice with gun sound effects and great haptic feedback on the controller. The bullet feedback is also great as enemies will practically ragdoll and fly away when you headshot them with the revolver or with the other pick-able weapons. Yes, there are a lot of different weapons pickups you can find and shoot for a limited time like SMGs, AR, Shotguns etc. Great care has also been put into the whole alert system for when enemies are about to hit you with both visual and audio cues, so you know when to duck behind cover. Oh there are also a couple of boss fights or better say one boss you fight four times. As for the difficulty, while it's not impossible like Time Crisis was, it still can be quite challenging at times. The game throws a lot, like a lot of enemies, at your face so you need to be constantly shooting and looking out for incoming fire and duck to safety. Yeah, you will sweat a little bit when playing Under Cover and that's good.
As for the story, yeah it's there and it's the usual "evil megacorp is doing a bad thing and putting the whole world at risk so it's up to you two to put a stop to it", but in all honesty, I didn't really care about it. I was there for the shooting and that didn't disappoint. The same can be said about the presentation, I liked it a lot. Under Cover has a really cool low-poly artstyle with pixelized textures, think Minecraft, but very colorful and vibrant. The levels are also big and detailed with lots of destructible environmental objects. It was fun to shoot at pretty much everything to see what could be destroyed, even though that hurt my final overall score.
I really enjoyed playing Under Cover on my Quest 3. The game is simple to play as you just point and shoot and duck to reload, but at the same time challenging and quite satisfying. Would I have liked to see more variety in enemies, more unique boss fights and maybe even some unique abilities? Absolutely! But what is there, justify the price of admission. If you are a fan of light gun shooters, definitely pick this up. Thanks for reading!
The game was reviewed on a Quest 3 using a review copy provided by PR. Under Cover is available on Meta Quest.