If you think about it, a gun of light has been around for a long time. From when people were first introduced to Laser Tag to even bringing that action home, there has always been the urge to take the combat to new levels. From Nintendo to Sega to PlayStation to PlayStation VR, the light gun has always added that extra level of immersion. But even at all the times playing laser tag I have always wanted that feeling of being in a dark arena of sorts and try to out maneuver the other players in hopes to score that one hit. With PlayStation VR that ability, that immersion is taking gaming to a whole new level. But I can’t help but wonder that something could be missing, not by a lot, but just a tad missing of that thrill of the lighted battle.
But has Developer Ubisoft, found a way to bring what is missing, even if it is a small part and found a way to immerse you in the action of trading in that light gun of sorts and embrace space combat in Virtual Reality? Let’s find out with Space Junkies for the PlayStation VR.
So what is Space Junkies really about? First, it’s not about food or any other illegal activity in space. Space Junkies is first and foremost about battling in space with up to four other online players. Now, because this is on PlayStation VR, do not think it is strictly playing against other PlayStation VR players. This is Ubisoft and something that Ubisoft has embraced and does a wonderful job at is the cross-platform compatibility with PCVR and they are not about to Space Junkies get left out of the fun.
Since there is no single player campaign, you will have a choice when you first start. You can either jump right into Quickplay, Team-up, Private or the tutorial. I would suggest doing the tutorial so you can get used to the turning and using the weapons (such as my personal favorite, the slingshot) in the openness of space within Virtual Reality. And I know what some may think about space battles in Virtual Reality and I can say that Ubisoft has again, done a wonderful job to make sure any type of motion sickness is not present. I have a high tolerance and not once did I feel any discomfort which is very important when it comes to Virtual Reality and when you combine that with space battles.
But I am sure you want to know more about the action of the battles than anything and I am happy to help out. Before getting into battle, you get to join in the space station. Here you can shoot some hoops, you can play with the options such as how you look and your banner (more on this in a minute) as well as see any news that might be updated. In this case, the screen announced that the beta was over and who was the top of that beta, which is pretty cool to see some of the names on the list.
But the station is also a place where you can talk with the other players from PlayStation VR to PC players. I have said it before and I will say it again, that Virtual Reality players are some of the best players. They are all here to have fun and it shows. From just laughing to discussing some of the things everyone liked or wished would were added, but everyone kept saying the same thing, “this game is really fun” and I have to agree, I am having fun playing Space Junkies. But I also like the map voting as you have to shoot at what you want to play the most points wins what you are playing.
In order to actually start a match, you have to have at least 3 other players. If you only have three players, then, of course, no team deathmatch. But Free For All, King Mode, Dual, 1 vs 1 and 2 vs 2 are pretty fun as well. In King Mode, your task with your other teammate is to try and wear the crown for as long as possible. I died a lot in this mode as I was serving as protection for my teammate so we could in hopes of still winning the match One of the things I like is if you happen to be the only one who joined a particular session, after a certain amount of time, if another session opens up, you will receive a message of how you can join that session and it works beautifully. Along with Quick play, you also have the ability to invite your friend in Team-Up so you can hopefully work together to win the match or if you want to just hang out with your friends, you can set up a Private match.
Earlier I mentioned the options and they are some pretty good ones. To enter the options you just simply press the touchpad on the DualShock 4 controller and you can select from options such as changing the look of your character to adding special weapons that are attached to your shoulders such as a shield and sword or even a medicine bottle to your banner to even the leaderboards. So if you see someone drinking a bottle from the game, they are just healing up. Oh, that sword, be careful as it is deadly and people will come at you from nowhere just to welcome you to the party. So I would advise you doing this early on so you can at least have your look you want along with the special abilities when it comes time for battle.
As you can see, in Space Junkies for PlayStation VR uses the DualShock 4 controller. So it does take a little bit to get used to aiming with the DualShock 4 and moving. But it doesn’t take long to get used to everything. Keep in mind, you can hold two weapons at the same time which is a nice bonus, but in order to reload you have to shake the controller a little. After so much firing of the weapon, you will run out of ammo. So what does one do when they run out of ammo? Sure you can try and find another weapon or as an added weapon of sorts, you can throw your weapon which then explodes and if you time it right, you can get kills from that which is pretty funny if you get the winning point from that move. Once you start leveling up, you are able to collect boxes that contain items such as new banners, cards, and cosmetics. So nothing you will need to pay extra for and I actually got the Black Flag card which is pretty cool looking.
But let’s talk about sound. Being in your helmet and hearing how you would breathe in a helmet is nicely done here. That is something that the Developers did not have to do, but I am glad that they added the smaller touches like this. Gun blasts can be heard from all around thanks to the great binaural audio. Hearing your thrusts as you move at faster speeds with the good balance of background music and everyone’s voices that I felt didn’t have any overpowering from one sound to the other.
Graphics are very well done. Colors are sharp and each level feels like time was put into them. I think my favorite was the organic level where you can actually hide in certain parts as the enemy passes by. Seeing the moon as it shines off on parts of the level gives you that feeling that you are in space. When some of the maps have you indoors, the light is just right and at no time did I ever feel like I was lost in the map.
But with everything Space Junkies has to offer, there are some things I would love to see added and there is one issue I had. Let’s talk about that issue now. There is a small problem that I experienced and is in no way a technical problem by any means. It seems with the number of matches I have played in my battles in space, that PCVR players may have the upper hand. What I mean is at the end of the match where you can see your score and as you level up, you can move your arms in fun motions, but if you notice with PlayStation VR, the arm never separate like they do with PCVR. When I see a PCVR player they are able to move their hands and arms and you can tell they are putting on the straps from their controllers. I just wish us PlayStation VR players had that same freedom. But the good news is soon that wish may be granted with Move controller support in a future update. I just wanted to point this out when you play if you come across the same thing.
The other things I would love to see is more maps, different modes such as Capture The Flag or even a Freeze Tag Mode. I mean freezing the enemy only to have his teammate come over to try and unfreeze him. The possibilities that can be added and the added fun that can be had. And the last thing I would love to see is Aim controller support. Sure the loss of having a second weapon in your hand might be sacrificed, but the accuracy would be amazing.
Space Junkies shows what fun can be had with multiplayer battles in space and when you add cross-platform play to the mix adds to that. They say in space no one can hear you scream, but what I heard were Virtual Reality players coming together as they were laughing and having a great time.
Space Junkies is out now on PlayStation VR and is also available on the Oculus Store, and Steam, A review copy was provided.
To learn more about Space Junkies, please visit the site and make sure you like them on Facebook. To learn more about Ubisoft, please visit their site and make sure you like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, follow them on Instagram, follow them on Twitch, and subscribe to their YouTube channel.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I have some more battles to try and win and some leaderboards to climb.
Mr. PSVR, April 3, 2019. theplaystationbrahs.com
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