[VR Review] The Only Good Virtual Boy Games, Part 13: Vertical Force

Alex Beyman
Aug 18 · 2 min read

A top down shooter is another weird choice for a VR game. It utilizes the exact same gimmick as Wario Land, your ship moving up and down through different altitudes, or “layers” of the scrolling playfield.

There was just only so much developers could do with a VR platform that couldn’t push polygons for shit. It left them either trying to do primitive 3D anyway like Red Alarm or Niko-Chan Battle, or doing standard raster SNES style games with depth information baked into the sprites and different parallax layers having different levels of stereoscopic separation.

I love the Shmup genre. Tyrian 2000 is probably my favorite, with Gate of Thunder and Super Star Soldier also way up there. But there just isn’t any good reason this needed to be on Virtual Boy. It seems like developers were filling out all the usual genres but struggling to find anything to do with depth perception when polygons were off the table.

I don’t want this to be a review of the Virtual Boy hardware though, or of Nintendo’s often bizarre business decisions. Giving Vertical Force a fair shake on its own merits, it’s a competent vertical shooter with a neat gameplay gimmick. Some of the music is catchy and some of the “3D” set pieces, especially during boss battles, are cool looking.

I give it a 7/10.


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