Ever wanted to beat a T-Rex up with a chancla, while building powerful towers that shoot piñatas, hot sauce and heat-seeking fireworks? Captain ToonHead is the VR tower defense game of your cartooniest dreams.
Publisher: Teravision Games
Reviewed on: SteamVR (AMD Ryzen 7 5800X, 32Gb RAM, RTX3070, HTC Vive Pro, HTC Pro Wireless Kit)
Also available for: Oculus
Cast: Daniel Amerman, Paul Mackie, Brent J Schraff, Samantha Dockser, Bart Flynn, Maria Elena Heredia, Lorena Fuentes Blanco
Developer: Teravision Games
Executive Director: Enrique Fuentes
Producers: Cyndi Ordonez, Paul Mackie
Lead Developer: Nicolas Nieto, Jose Goncalves, Julian Munoz
Lead Tech Artist: Edgar Blanco, Daniel J Lezama
Music: Daniel Zambrano
Captain ToonHead vs the Punks from Outer Space is a fascinating twist on the tower defence genre and an enjoyable and different type of VR game. The game rapidly sets itself up with a quirky story about a janitor named Elliott, who finds himself as the sole survivor of a special mission from Earth and now is Captain of a ship through a string of peculiar events.
The story comes thick and fast in the early stages, setting you up on a mission to fix a toilet. Elliott creates a set of magnetic hammers he calls “Mjolnir” these special hammers, when thrown, return to the owner; they also build and repair devices. Using these hammers, Elliot removes the broken toilet and creates a new one in its place. However, a freak accident occurs in the kitchen in which a broken microwave and a burrito kill your crewmates and leave you alone on the ship with the onboard AI “Janine-5”.
Janine-5 assists Elliott in his mission and quickly promotes him to Captain upon seeing the results of the accident. A large span of time is skipped, and during this period, Elliott designs a costume and takes the name “Captain Toonhead”.
Arriving at the Trash Planet, we engage in our first mission. We find a bunch of energy cubes; they are sentient and begin to tell a tale of horror about being used by Captain Toonheads enemy, Nicholas Voorhees, for malicious experiments. Hearing this, Captain Toonhead feels the obligation to assist these poor creatures and proceed to battle the space punks.
The first portion of the game is a simple tutorial and aims at teaching the player the basics of the game. The tutorial covers the building of turrets, enemy types, rewards, and cash systems. It’s a fun tutorial that lasts for about five to ten minutes in total. Following this, you take the rescued cubes back to the ship, and the story carries on. Janine-5 discovers that they can use the cubes to upgrade gear, and a few more turrets are born. There is a range of turrets unlocked throughout gameplay, and each has its perks, weaknesses, and weird names. Some are better for dealing with air targets, others for ground, some just deal mass damage. Each turret is also a place for you to shoot from; moving from turret to turret allows you to see and shoot from different vantages, while the eagle eye view will enable you to feel and see the entire battlefield. With the right upgrade, you can eventually ride the turrets and defeat the enemies in an exceptionally fun way.
There are many enemy types, and these are continually developing to be harder to kill and more capable of stealing your cube friends. Some enemy types can take multiple cubes during their run. Starting with the cyberpunks and progressing to a Cyber-T-Rex, they were at times a pain to deal with while looking cool. While advancing through the game, the enemies also get upgrades, including shields, armour, speed boosts, and bombs. Building appropriate defences is the key to success.
The game’s goal is to defend the cubes from the approaching enemies, and it starts with one door and one path to “defend” against to achieve that goal. As the game progresses, so does the difficulty in protecting the cubes; with multiple doors, multiple paths, and tougher enemies, the tower defence sections become longer, and strategy becomes key. Upgrades further the progression and better equip Captain Toonhead against the ever-increasing strength of the enemies.
The player’s weaponry is limited, which is an advantage, as switching between them is tight. These weapons consist of the hammers, dual pistols, and granny’s chancla (A type of thong or flip flop). Each weapon has its use. The hammers are used to build and upgrade turrets. The pistols are used to attack enemies; upgrading them reveals weak spots and changes them from single shots to auto and higher damage. The chancla destroys assistance items, like booster rockets, shields, and health bots. It also stuns enemies, and the stunning enemies work a treat working with the turrets finishing them off.
The game has sci-fi music and sound effects. Each turret, gun, chancla, and enemy all have unique sounds. These sounds also help identify enemies at gates when out of eyeline or stolen a cube. The voice acting is well thought out and really adds to the overarching story. While the dialogue can be cheesy, there are many moments where it is touching and funny. The game out of this world tale has a broad scope, and although the premise is plain at first, the later stages of the story bring depth and comedy, there is also something about seeing the radiated crew still hanging around the ship that kept me amused.