Hands-On: Space Junkies Is A Fast-Paced Zero-G Shooter With Jetpacks

by David Jagneaux • June 26th, 2017

This year’s E3 seemed to have more games that were announced after press conferences were over than ever before. In the past it felt like if you watched a publisher’s press conference then you’d have a pretty good idea of what they’re working on for the next 12 months, but not anymore. Every major press conference at E3 this year had games that were announced after the fact or beforehand that never got stage time during the actual show and Space Junkies is one such game from Ubisoft.

After the conference was over I had an email in my inbox with a press release about a “jetpack-fueled arcade shooter” that sounded a bit generic but worth checking out. Thus, we made an appointment to stop by and I’m very glad we did. Ubisoft hasn’t even released footage of the game yet but I can confirm that it’s incredibly fast-paced, fun, and extremely satisfying.

After Eagle Flight, Werewolves Within, and Star Trek: Bridge Crew, it’s clear that Ubisoft is taking the whole “VR thing” a bit more seriously than most major game publishers. We can’t wait to see what Ubisoft comes up with for VR next. Interestingly, Space Junkies couldn’t be much more different than the studio’s other newly announced VR title, Transference.

In the VR scene right now when people think of zero-gravity multiplayer most minds drift towards Echo Arena, the multiplayer arena disc spin-off of Lone Echo. And rightly so because the game is a downright blast to play. But Space Junkies deserves to be in that very same conversation as well. Our demo was played on an Oculus Rift using the Touch controllers. Each of us were outfitted with a jetpack that could be used by pressing a button on our controller and we blasted off in whichever direction we were facing.

Each hand could be used to grab weapons at our sides that we picked up by exploring the maps, such as a standard pistol, a grenade-firing slingshot, and even a rail-gun. The weapon variety was extremely satisfying and mastering each gun’s quirks and usages while floating around a zero-G level was very satisfying. It took a bit of getting used to the fact that my opponents could approach from literally any direction instead of just literally on the same plane. The extra axis makes a huge difference. The team at Ubisoft is squarely focused on making Space Junkies fun, but also competitive, as they are only creating 1v1 and 2v2 game modes.

Space Junkies was one of the best VR games we played at E3 2017 due to its great controls, excellent premise, and well-designed maps. We’re excited to jump back into it when it releases for Oculus Rift and HTC Vive in Spring of 2018 from Ubisoft.

What do you think of Space Junkies? What were some of your favorite new VR games at E3 this year? Let us know down in the comments below!

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