Space Junkies, an upcoming zero-G VR action game from Ubisoft, was on display at GDC this year. The studio behind Star Trek: Bridge Crew, Eagle Flight, and Werewolves Within were allowing media to get their hands on this uniquely intense competitive multiplayer shooter in brief play sessions. Players strap on jetpacks and unload using an arsenal of crazy weapons to blast each other out of space.
We first saw Space Junkies back at E3 2017 so it was great to see how far the game has come as its proposed Spring 2018 release window nears closer and closer.
The best way to describe Space Junkies would be to imagine Echo Arena’s zero-gravity multiplayer matches had guns instead of discs, or that Ready at Dawn’s Tron-inspired arena game had a baby with Unreal Tournament. But the important thing to keep in mind here is that it’s all physics-based, so your jetpack exerts a certain amount of force, as do each of your gun shots. Weapons like shotguns or mini guns will knock you back much farther than a basic pistol, for example, so it’s all dynamic.
During my demo I and two developers faced off against each other in a free-for-all deathmatch. The map we played on was large and empty with only a handful of debris chunks, creepy alien-like tentacle plants, and some pieces of a floating space station. These random bits of material provided excellent cover and helped keep things interesting.
Similar to games like Unreal Tournament, guns spawned all around the map ensuring everyone had an equal shot at nabbing increased firepower. We could also snag health and armor pickups to boost our defenses.
One button on my Oculus Touch controllers allowed me to propel forward in a direction, with another letting me increase my speed via boost. After a while of getting the hang of the momentum trajectories I was able to zip around the map with ease. The movement learning curve felt very similar to when I first got started in Echo Arena.
Since I’ve only played a handful of small matches in Space Junkies, I can’t really say how well the formula holds up over time. However, based on my limited sampling, I’m absolutely eager to find out. The environments are gorgeous, the gunplay is satisfyingly visceral, and the variety of weapons feels just about right without being too overwhelming.
In the menus there were a few different classes to pick from that offered variations in speed and health. From what I can tell, a lot of the game’s meta strategy is going to revolve around fast characters versus slow and health-fortified characters to balance things out.
Space Junkies is currently slated for release this Spring for both Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. We’ve only seen it in small snippets on two occasions thus far, but we’re excited about its potential given Ubisoft’s track record with VR.
You can register for the beta right now and let us know what you think so far down in the comments below!