Anarchitects Hands-On: Creatively Chaotic VR Multiplayer Sandbox

Free-to-play VR/MR multiplayer sandbox Anarchitects has enjoyably chaotic potential. Read on for our full impressions.

Squido Studio made little secret of its inspirations when it announced Anarchitects last month. Reminiscent of Roblox’s approach to user-generated content (UGC) with the creative freedom of Garry’s Mod, it’s not what I expected from the team following its 2023 VR platformer, No More Rainbows. That’s certainly not a bad thing, though. After a half-hour demo, the comparisons are justified.

I tried a pre-release build on Quest 3 during GDC 2024, where I was joined by two members of Squido Studio. Anarchitects uses mixed reality for building levels, showcasing this world as a resizable floating area in your living space. Using MR means I could focus more clearly on the map when adding new items. Pressing X to swap between MR and the fully immersive VR mode makes this straightforward, and creators are represented as giant avatars looking down on the world.

Objects take a pleasing physics-based approach to weight that further enhances immersion and UGC’s potential creates a recipe for chaos. You can drop any item from the menu into this fully immersive world, and I mean anything. You can drop cars onto the highway of a pre-made small town to go racing or scatter endless explosive barrels and murderous drones to liven up the scene.

Usable objects are freezable in set positions without removing their functionality. One completely spur-of-the-moment decision saw Squido freeze guns mid-air, and I gradually used them to climb toward a hot air balloon. I quickly realized that pressing the Touch Controllers’ triggers still fires them. Did I mention that nothing prevents weapons from hurting you just because you’re wielding them? I discovered this the hard way.

I’m already seeing how I could create new game types within Anarchitects. When Squido informed me that lightsabers can deflect rocket launchers and bullets, I immediately theorized a potential baseball-like game mode where you bat these away, though I didn’t get a closer look at how you establish rules for your own games during my demo time.

Given the many interactive elements, sandbox games are naturally prone to jank and Anarchitects is no exception. Some shaky camera motions left me slightly nauseated near the end, though I played with minimal comfort settings. I’m told the team is looking to implement more comfort options, though at launch you can expect artificial stick-based locomotion, dominant hand selection, seated and standing modes, plus smooth and snap-turning cameras.

Might Anarchitects appeal to a younger audience with its undeniably creative sandbox? With seasonal post-launch content updates planned, we’ll be watching to see how it lands with buyers and will follow up if it gains momentum.

Anarchitects reaches Quest App Lab on April 23.

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