I always get excited when I hear of an upcoming VR shooter, especially when it takes place in space, so the unveiling of Space Junkies was not to be missed. The success of VR shooters depend solely on the careful execution of gameplay mechanics to immerse players in the environments while having countless hours of enjoyable gameplay. We will take a look to see if Ubisoft’s latest VR title will live up to those standards.
Space Junkies is a zero-gravity arena shooter that pits you against other combatants while floating through environments. It features a duel, free for all, 2v2 team death match, and king mode, but first an enjoyable tutorial initiates your journey into space and helps you familiarize yourself with the various controls. Your sight dictates the path that you take while the DualShock 4’s controllers will let you turn, strafe, and boost as needed. There are five characters to choose from, each with their own specific attribute percentages of speed, health, and stamina. Firing your weapon is definitely the most enjoyable aspect that Space Junkies has to offer, which is why each map is littered with various weapons.
Respawning into battle will grant the player a randomized weapon, which I really enjoyed as it kept the experience exciting. However, you can quickly find a weapon throughout the map if your starting weapon is not to your liking. You can find a plasma rifle, a guided rocket launcher, an explosive slingshot, a shotgun, a machine gun, and various pistols. Players are also able to equip their photon shield to create a protective barrier and a solar sword to unleash a one-hit strike in close-quarters, which made close combat infuriating at times due to its strength. As a weapon’s ammunition becomes depleted, it flashes red to signify imminent danger, so it must be discarded before it explodes. It was always fun to throw these explosive weapons at your opponents during shootouts to finish them off.
Taking damage is part of the experience and thankfully there are plenty of health and armour pickups situated throughout the maps that also respawn after being picked up. The six maps give players various environments to fight in, but my only complaint deals with the small maps as it was difficult to maneuver in close quarters and repel enemy advances when they could come at you from all angles.
Players will be rewarded with loot boxes as they progress, unlocking new cosmetic items that can be used to customize your character’s appearance. Acquiring duplicate items will be converted into in-game currency that can be used at the in-game store. There are no micro-transactions in Space Junkies, so they only way to unlock items is by playing the game.
Space Junkies features impressive environments for a VR title as they are detailed and showcase the beauty of space while trying to hunt down your enemies in the arena. It offers an immersive experience as movement and the exciting gameplay kept me coming back for more after dying repeatedly. It takes some time to get comfortable with how to move proficiently and determine which weapons are best suited for each map, but that is all part of the fun.
There were no issues finding matches online, but I wish the team death match mode featured more players. I hope to see a 4v4 mode in the future as that would make the battles even more enjoyable, chaotic, and comparable to Unreal Tournament. Ubisoft Montpellier has stated that new game modes, maps, and characters are planned to be released in the future. PlayStation Move support is also in the works and will make the Space Junkies PS VR experience significantly more immersive as players will no longer have to wield and be restricted to the DualShock 4 controller.
Space Junkies is another recommended and welcoming addition to the PS VR library that will entertain you as you fight for superiority in space. The variety of weapons keeps things interesting, but post-launch support for new game modes is needed, especially when there is no single-player story to speak of. We look forward to the post-launch content that Ubisoft will bring to enhance the Space Junkies experience.
[A copy of the game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.]