Like a lot of you, I wondered how Space Junkies could possibly work on PSVR. Ubisoft’s frantic zero-gravity shooter was first and foremost designed for PC VR and the 360 degree tracking it affords. But, not only is Space Junkies arriving on Sony’s 180-degree setup next week, but it’s only supporting the DualShock 4 controller, too. How on earth can that possibly work?
Surprisingly well, as it turns out.
I played my first ever match of Space Junkies this week and it was on PSVR. Not only did I pick the game up pretty fast, but I’m pretty sure I won against PC VR players using the game’s cross-play support too.
DualShock 4 support trades some of the PC VR freedom in the name of approachability. The game still uses the controller’s position tracking, but the outcome is a little different. Space Junkies is a dual-wielding game but here both weapons will be locked to where you’re controller is facing. In games like Farpoint and Firewall, using the DualShock 4 meant you still had to line the controller up with your sight for accurate shots. In Space Junkies, laser sights mean you can pretty easily keep your controller centered and just tilt it to aim. It might not be the most realistic interpretation of the game but it’s intuitive and accessible.
Other than that, navigation on works really well on gamepad. You simply hold a button down to propel yourself forwards and use the sticks to alter height and direction. If you were worried that Space Junkies might leave you disorientated then worry not; it’s even simpler to play than games like Starblood Arena.
Finally, there’s some smart button mapping to replace other interactions. The shoulder buttons double as both equip and fire buttons. When a hand is free you use the L1 or L2 button to grab one of the items stored in your left-side inventory, for example. Then when it’s equipped, L2 uses the item in question and L1 tosses it aside. It can be a little tricky to get used to but it ultimately gets you up and running quickly.
But Where’s Move Support?
All that said, however, the controls work well enough for me to question why Ubisoft left out Move support. I don’t see anything in this setup, from the gaze-based movement to the blink turning, that couldn’t be done on Sony’s motion controllers. Maybe I’m missing something. Perhaps there was concern over the limited tracking range that some players would encounter. But I suspect as players get into the beta and, from next week, the game itself Ubisoft will see sufficient demand to let players make that choice for themselves.
PSVR aside, I quite enjoyed the time I spent with Space Junkies. Arena shooters aren’t traditionally my thing but the game’s fluid controls, tight confines, and enjoyable arsenal kept me entertained. We’ll have more in-depth thoughts for you when the game launches in full.
Space Junkies launches on PSVR, Rift, Vive and Windows VR on March 26th.