Spuds Unearthed (PlayStation 4) Review

By Luke Hemming 10.06.2020

Review for Spuds Unearthed on PlayStation 4

With the resurgence of VR titles after the initial introductory boom, thoughts often go to first-person shooters, and immersive, large scale experiences when developing new titles. Coming in with a wildly different approach is Gamedust's Spuds Unearthed, aiming to appeal to the real time strategy market, and taking full advantage of the PSVR hardware. Does it butter up the RTS fans, or should it be resigned to the masher? Cubed3 takes a look.

The initial opening offers a lot of promise, thrown into the control seat of a potato overlord, a quick glance around presents a graphically charming world. Reminiscent of some classic PlayStation 2 platformers, colours are vibrant, and every part on the hub world has a lovely amount of detail that continues throughout. Unfortunately, that is where the charm of this title begins and ends. As interesting as the world looks, it's hard to really savour it as, after initial loading, the player is faced by 14 pages of tutorial.

With such a huge bombardment of information, any fun is instantly sucked out of the exploration of all the cool looking knobs and levers laid out itching to be toyed with. The initial tutorial is incredibly comprehensive, but doesn't seem to add anything to experience. Without throwing everything in at the start, players could have been allowed to invoke the try and test method. Tactile learning is incredibly enjoyable, especially with good control given to each of the devices available. By giving a quick window of information when something had been pressed or tweaked, all advice given could have been condensed into more memorable, easier to digest segments.

Screenshot for Spuds Unearthed on PlayStation 4

Gameplay is simple enough, but with all information dedicated to gameplay, it's hard to become invested in the vegetable struggle for territory. Anybody taking a crack at Spuds Unearthed is left to come to their own conclusions as to what is going on and why. This reviewer came to the conclusion that at some point, sentient potatoes started working with either a human of some kind of omnipotent spud overlord to head off world, and begin conquering planets. As time progressed civil war broke out, and now planets are divided between rival potato factions (it actually sounds amazing when reading that back). With a premise with that kind of storytelling potential, just a little explanation as to the where and why would have really improved matters, rather than stumbling onto your own ideas.

Picking a planet to overthrow is simple with a quick grab and loading onto the console. Before departing various different spuds are available for deployment and have to be physically grabbed and sat in place for the journey. It's a fun little feature that adds to the tactile interaction VR titles should be pushing the boundaries of. When battling the same grab action is used to lob spuds onto the battlefield, protecting your domain, and fending off any potential threats automatically. Two cannons are also available to support your troops.

The issue comes when one opposing troop slips through and begins their assault, health deteriorates in a second, and the cannon doesn't seem to reach close enough to be able to dispose of them. With no time to react the game over screen appears in a heartbeat, and no matter how many strategies are implemented, the same result is achieved. Spuds Unearthed does allow for upgrading to make life a little easier in the long run, but with the difficulty so apparent in the early stages, coupled with a lack of understanding or reasoning, it's difficult to want to make the effort.

Screenshot for Spuds Unearthed on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

3/10
Rated 3 out of 10

Bad

VR titles are meant to entice new audiences to experience gaming, for beginners to take delight in the interactivity offered and ensure that a new gamer is made for life. Even ignoring this demographic, seasoned gamers should find pleasure in even the simplest of VR activities. Spuds Unearthed ultimately fails in all respects. There is very little amount of fun to be had here, with overcomplicated tutorials which feel unjustified, and a difficulty spike that is so high and frustrating that there is little to no incentive to continue past the first few attempts. Real time strategy titles could really shine in a VR environment, with simple deployments and issuing of orders, until then, this attempt is best shelved and forgotten.

Also known as

Spuds Unearthed

Developer

Gamedust

Publisher

Gamedust

Genre

Strategy

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  3/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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