I first heard about Edge Guardian prior to its release and being the fan of punching that I am, I was eagerly awaiting its release. Up until its release I had been playing World VR Party’s boxing mini game, as well as the Super Punch game in Pierhead Arcade, so I was extra excited to finally have a game which focuses entirely on punching. I had high hopes, and am happy to say I was not let down.
In Edge Guardian, you are the defender of the fringes of reality itself, which is quite fitting for a virtual reality title. Your enemies come in the form of cubes. That’s right, reality sucking cubes with a small red box representing their face. A red box is what you must punch to destroy the cube. Be sure to aim your punch precisely because if you miss the red box, not only does it not count as a hit, it will also reset your combo multiplier. As you progress, you will face enemies with up to 5 red boxes, meaning you must punch the cube once for every red box. For instance, if the enemy cube has 3 red boxes, you will have to punch it 3 times before it is destroyed. Along with the more challenging cubes, you will also face more and more cubes in general, along with some interesting boss type cubes that will keep generating even more cubes until you destroy them.
Along with punching, you are also able to pick up defeated cubes and use them as projectiles. This allows you to take out a few cubes before they reach your platform, which is a huge help as the enemy count goes up. They also extend your combo multiplier if they hit, but will reset it if you miss. To pick up defeated cubes, simply point at them and pull the trigger. Then to shoot, keep holding the trigger and click the trackpad and they will rocket out towards wherever you’re aiming. The dev was thoughtful enough to include the option to use the grip button to launch instead of the trackpad, which can be changed in the settings menu. Shooting cubes is also the only way to defeat the boss type cubes as they do not approach your platform but stay stationary about 15 feet out of your punches reach.
Now for the edge! The platform you stand on is special. In the story of the game, we don’t know if it’s a future or past time, we know very little about the world we are fighting for. However, we do know we must stay inside the bounds to stay alive, so it’s safe to assume the world is now radioactive and your platform is the only thing protecting you from the harshness of reality.
Your platform allows you to create energy edges that act as defense walls and will fry any cubes that make contact with it (1 edge hit = 1 punch hit, so if the enemy has more than 1 red box, 1 edge hit will only destroy 1 of its red boxes). This is where the strategy really kicks in and things get interesting. You have a limited amount of energy edge to use and reuse. As you draw an edge, your energy edge source is depleted. Once that edge is destroyed, it’s added back to your source. To create an energy edge, you simply point at the ground on your platform, pull the trigger and draw. A blue “edge” appears wherever you targeted. Note that when you create an edge, it will reset your multiplier.
Enemies can come at you from any direction, a full 360 degrees, thus things can start to pick up quickly, making the energy edges a crucial tool in warding off the cubes in directions you’re not facing. You will find that throughout the game you are constantly, strategically drawing and redrawing edges in between punching as many red faces as possible.
In Edge Guardian you are also provided a companion of sorts, named Hex. Hex is a small, “cute” AI cube who is essentially your guide, but also provides a radar of incoming enemies. This comes in handy when trying to keep track of the baddies positioning around you. He also keeps track and displays your current score and the health of the reality you are guarding. He has a unique robotic sense of humor and tends to be a bit hard on you, so don’t let his witty quips get you down, he’s only an AI after all. Hex definitely adds some welcome quirky fun to the game.
The visuals are nicely polished and fit the games aesthetic perfectly. The game’s performance is fantastic and should run great on even minimum requirements. The audio is handled well, especially so since it was recently overhauled with new, much better punching sound effects and an additional 40 lines of dialogue for Hex.
Hypothermic Games, the developer, has kindly provided a content roadmap, as the game was released in Early Access. This is something only a handful of developers approach properly, and one of the first things to jump out at me about this game. The smartly planned update schedule provided on the Steam page and the Edge Guardian website describes exactly what content will be coming in future updates, which really shows the amount of thought put into the game as well as the devs’ commitment to the project. When you factor in the price, at $6.99, Edge Guardian may be one of the more polished VR titles currently available at such a great price point. Granted, you’re not getting a story per se, and it does fall under the “Wave Based” genre. But if you like punching, cool Sci-Fi premises, and quirky AI humor, then Edge Guardian is a perfect title for you to jump into and start throwing punches.
Edge Guardian manages to deliver great content at a great price.
Check it out for yourself on Steam: Edge Guardian $6.99