Review: PulzAR

PulzAR is the latest in the Vita's series of quirky augmented reality games, and is one of the best yet. Earth is under threat from massive meteors lurking by your ceiling. Throwing in some traditional beam adjustment, which I guess dates back to Deflektor on the Spectrum (although there may well be others), and power-up collecting, you need to line up your cards and tilt your mirrors to charge up the missile bases.

You can either go for speed, with the shortest route and number of mirrors, to feed the laser to the charger, or go and pick up all the power-up stars to get the bigger trophies, with the risk of those meteors coming smacking down on your head. The AR is pretty neat, and this time you can move your cards around to actively help in your quest.

The presentation is also pretty slick with a slight WipEout feel, great lighting on the objects as missiles clear the silos and a nice touch where you can tilt your Vita up, away from the AR cards to watch the space scenes or get a nice hole in the sofa when things go wrong. There are some 25 levels and you'll need to collect enough stars to progress to the tougher levels with more obstacles, multi-colour lasers, beam splitters and other trickery. Access to the later levels is easy enough, so you're not likely to get stuck too early on.

This is the first AR game I've wanted to come back to for more than five minutes, with a proper gaming challenge. The first few, diving and football, were clearly tech demos, while the recent Table Top Tanks, just felt too finicky. This is just as good as the endless iOS games with similar puzzles but actually in your house.

There's the odd AR gremlin or loss of focus, but it seems a lot smoother than previous efforts, but with genuinely fun gameplay and at only £1.59 is a must-have for Vita owners on a budget and a great reason to dig out those AR cards. Developer: Sony/Exient
Price: £1.59 ($1.99)
Score: 7/10
Progress: Into the gammas
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