I don’t yet own a VR set myself, so I often go and test out games at a VR centre like Futurist in Brussels. This time around I got to test the jetpack fueled multiplayer shooter “Skyfront VR”. The game is still in early access, so this’ll only be a preview where I share some of my impressions with you.
Right off the bat, the gameplay was one I hadn’t yet encountered in other VR games: You’re always double wielding, but one of your guns is used to move around. It’s up to you wether you use your left or right hand to do so and you can even opt to remain motionless but have both hands equipped with guns for more firepower.
No matter which loadout you pick, that jetpack gun will always be in your inventory and you just aim in in a direction + shoot to move there. Strafing around probably does make you look weird to real-world-people watching you play though. It’s also not the best set-up to avoid motion sickness. The framerate was buttery smooth, but this control scheme and omnidirectional movement seemed to fall in the “I better not play this for more than an hour” category for me.
If that never affects you and the standard moving speed isn’t quite fast enough to your liking you can also use this gun to launch a grappling hook and pull yourself towards any wall. This is perfect for making a quick escape or to manoeuvre around your opponents and catch them off guard.
That is, if you’re not getting stuck behind the infrastructure… Your avatar seems to somehow be larger than you expect it to be and I often found myself unable to pass through a door or opening. It required a bit of up and down wiggling to nudge myself through and it’s a big immersion breaker.
Arsenal-wise, there are a lot of different loadouts available to you. If you prefer sniping from afar, you can. If you prefer getting up close with a (double) shotgun, knock yourself out (or rather your opponents). Are you the spray and pray kind: there’s a mini-gun for you (which requires holding it with both hands for optimal aim, which is a nice touch). My personal favourite was the grenade launcher, you could even make calculated shots, wait for the rebound and set it to explode when it’s in range of your opponents.
Other than your weapons you can also choose a few special abilities to alter the tide of battle. An invisibility cloak hides you from your enemies, a barrier ability makes you impervious to damage for a short while or you can use an offensive one that sends out a blastwave. Most guns can’t kill in one hit, so health management can also play an important factor in your survival.
There are only a few places where you can recharge your health though, which makes them optimal places to stay in hiding and catch low-health opponents when they’re making a run for it.
Graphically Skyfront doesn’t look too shabby, but it suffers from the usual VR game issue in that I don’t think the technology is there quite yet to render sharp images and really wow me. The weapons are detailed enough, but the levels themselves could use a bit of extra polish. Some added details or better textures could go a long way.
As a competitive shooter, I can definitely see a future for the game. The balance is already there and made for some exciting matches, but the lack of maps is a concern. If they can manage to offer at least 10 great maps with some interesting visual elements and perhaps even some elements to alter gameplay further, like floating walls that you can hide behind but which don’t stay in place, or some spaceships flying around to distract (or kill) you. Then I can see myself coming back to it for a few more playsessions.
If you’re interested in trying out Skyfront VR, here’s the store link.
Looking for other VR experiences to try? Here are some other VR games I’ve had the pleasure to enjoy: