There are four different types of critter, each with a special power like sprinting, digging tunnels, generating shields or building bridges. A more seasoned team might work to provide cover with shields and bridges while one player burrows beneath them. In one particularly proud moment, I crept around the left side of the map while my teammates successfully distracted the enemy on the right.
It’s telling that, in one session I played, my friends initially complained that the squirrel side couldn’t possibly win. The tree’s ammunition comes thick and fast and, with a sturdy aim (which seems ever so slightly assisted), can seem overpowered. But, as we kept playing, the conversation changed to the point where tree players were losing more often than not.
In fact, the game’s balance is often dependent on level design. Some courses, like a multilayered set of ramps or one with a lake that rises and empties, are necessary additions to give VR players a leg up. When pitted against fields with barriers that pop up after the push of a button, the odds are stacked the other way. Overall the mix is pretty even-handed.
A shame, then, that there are only a handful of levels, all of which you can see through pretty quickly. Acron’s undeniably light on content and I feel like it could benefit from more character classes and ammunition types too. Having said that, I’ve rarely felt ‘done’ when enjoying the game with others, although also not especially compelled to revisit it with the same group. That is, at least, not without any new content to see or a long stretch between play sessions. True that’s a negative in some respects, but it’s also the kind of existence popular games like Jackbox and Mario Party enjoy.
Crucially, though, the game doesn’t have to be played locally. Yes, Acron was designed with couch play in mind, but players from across the world can join you too. Playing with my colleagues on the other side of the globe over voice chat was the perfect workaround when I wasn’t able to arrange a local session. The only obvious downside is being unable to switch the headset over. I’d welcome some sort of in-VR phone emulation so that people that have paid for the game can replicate the couch experience on the fly, too.
Acron is something of a delight, then. Certainly not an epiphanic bastion of VR immersion, but a hectic hassle of shouts and screams that exposes the platform’s more playful side. Played with friends, it’s a wickedly entertaining package that will have you passing the headset in rapid succession. There’s a slickness to the production and design here, one that removes much of the baggage of other VR party games. Even as VR headsets start to become more accessible, Acron is remarkably light to the touch.
Acron: Attack of the Squirrels is available from today on Oculus Rift, Quest and HTC Vive. This review is specifically focused on the PC version using an Oculus Rift S. For more on how we arrived at this score, read our review guidelines.