American Dream is pitched as a World’s Fair ride created by a US gun manufacturer, predicting what life could be like if only we were more attached to our guns. As a full blooded American, I was right at home strapping into a campy Disney-esque ride through Charlton Heston’s deepest fantasies.
Coming from an Australian development team which includes zero Americans, I couldn’t wait to see Samurai Punk’s simulation of a gun-loving, 1950s USA.
Not only is the Melbourne-based team set to rain down commentary on American culture, they’re more than willing to mess with a gamer’s expectations and instincts along the way. You’d see that coming once you remembered they’re the creators of Screencheat.
I played the PAX East demo for American Dream on the Oculus Rift with Touch controllers. Samurai Punk are hoping to release on the HTC Vive and PS VR, as well.
The setting for the demo works perfectly for the current restrictions of VR (wanting to keep the player seated and focused straight ahead).
There are three basic forms of interaction within the game world. The first two are related to your pistols:
- First, you can shoot at objects (duh).
- Second, you can press buttons by either poking with the barrel or slamming down the butt end of the pistol grip.
- Lastly, you can move your head to catch or grab food items.
This was my first time using the Touch controllers, but I’m struggling to think of a better fit for their shape and grip. While describing it here won’t do it justice, the simple act of reloading was one of the most satisfying aspects of playing the game.
Once you’re out of ammo, you simply hit a button on the ride’s armrest to send a fresh magazine launching in slow motion in front of you. You then tilt your gun sideways and backhand chop at the floating magazine to load it into the butt end of the gun.
It’s video games and guns, so the shooting has to be solid. Aiming down sites and firing the hole through an unfinished bagel took a few shots for me to realize that closing one eye still helps, even in VR. Mechanically, it all worked.
While this demo is just a taste of what’s to come, the two trailers and images on the game’s official website show glimpses of expanded levels, guns, and gameplay that we can all look forward to. I’m excited to see where Samurai Punk takes us on the wild American ride.
Their tentative release date is scheduled for late Summer or early Fall of 2017.