SO! MUCH! ‘MURICA!

The Virtual Reality platform is getting more and more creative, and to anyone lucky enough to own a headset it’s an incredible time to be a gamer. Developers have been brainstorming different way in which to drop you into a fully immersed world, many of which are weird and wonderful in their own special ways and to me the medium of VR gaming is becoming less and less of a gimmick. So when Samurai Punk’s The American Dream came to me it piqued my curiosity but almost instantly caught my attention with its strikingly unique aesthetics and its extremely satirically and at some points dark premise, which altogether made my experience a win, but was ultimately hindered by my struggle with this games grasp on the PlayStation Move controller.

The American Dream works as a sort of educational film/theme park ride in the glory days of the egocentric, nuclear family lifestyle of the American 1950’s, and takes a humorously satirical stand point on the USA’s obsession with all sorts of firearms. You go through each significant stage of the human life from being a baby to cleaning your room, playing catch with dad (complete with cringeworthy dad jokes), your first date, prom, your first job, getting married and having children. All these stages work as a variety of mini games in which you deal with all your problems with…..you guessed it, GUNS! With the biggest shocker coming during a romantic dinner where I found myself in a rousing game of Russian roulette (I had my headset on with my move controller pointed towards my open mouth, well played Samurai Punk, well played) At first these delightfully politically incorrect digs at the American Rifle Association and the government itself are comical and even endearing, which is in most part due to the narrative of Buddy Washington a statue of a Golden Retriever with a tinny speaker attached to it but it soon loses its momentum when you reach the halfway point when you start to suspect you’re in some kind of groundhog day situation when each scenario becomes sort of samey. However, the surprisingly dark twist American Dream takes towards the end of the game to me was a welcome addition. The references to the video game landscape and the political climate both past and present are also a notable contribution that helps American Dream stand out in its own unique manner.

American Dream’s art style not bad at all, with a bright and colourful viewpoint that compliments the look of the American 1950’s really well with the white picket fences, 4th of July fireworks and the typical home at the time (just think of the beginning of Fallout 4 and you’ll get the picture) and the people you come across being presented in the form of cardboard cut outs with their blank stares making you think they are looking directly into your soul! The 360 immersions of the PSVR headset is also utilised really well with a good eye for detail on display from the dev team and some highpoints in particular coming from the outdoor segments. The sounds in this game also works hand in hand with the sights well. Unfortunately, in my time I did experience a couple of noticeable glitches as well as my firearms going a little haywire from time to time.

In my experience though I had some solemn grief in American Dream’s execution in its gameplay mechanics. Though sometimes the line between technical issues and just sheer incompetency on part of the player can be somewhat blurry, but I found trouble in the games tracking, and the cooperation between the on-screen weapons and my PlayStation Move controllers but after about an hour or so just to get used to things I found myself being more fluid with the motion of targeting and reloading swiftly (apart from cocking the rifle, sorry guys but that was a consistent hardship) . But from a mechanical perspective, American Dream does have its fair share of imaginative pros, the different ways in which each weapons work and the different ways you yourself must operate them is a highpoint once you have become fluent with each weapon, and wielding your two 1912 Carter Handguns and emptying clips into just about anything simultaneously is the epitome of feeling like a badass. And let’s not forget the wonderfully blunt metaphor of using your shotgun during the er……. copulation stage of the game (again well played Samurai Punk). There are also a few minor glitches resent but nothing game breaking and nothing so bad that it will ruin your experience whilst experiencing this tongue in cheek, politic, gunslingling hootenanny.

THE AMERICAN DREAM IS AVAILABLE NOW ON PLAYSTATION VR. HTC VIVE AND OCULUS TOUCH.

REVIEW CODE WAS PROVIDED BY PERP GAMES