Space Pirate Trainer remains one of my favorite Vive games. Available for $15, you dual-wield either a pistol or shield and try to pick off flying robot orbs in a quest for a higher score. Eventually you lose count of how many drones are in the sky around you and dodging their energy beams becomes a real challenge. The shield can be used to block enemy fire from the direction you’re not looking, but sometimes that isn’t enough.
I’m not alone in my quest to get a higher score in this game and I reached out to SPT developer Dirk Van Welden at I-Illusions for tips. He offered some and pointed me to a thread on the Steam community forums with tips from Lemming, who currently holds one of the highest scores in the game.
Just look at this.
I can’t imagine ever being that good. Lemming writes that the gun sights generally aren’t used for aiming. Recommendation: “Just practice.”
I jumped into Space Pirate Trainer after processing Lemming and Van Welden’s tips, and it’s clear that it’s going to take a ton of practice because much of the advice runs counter to my natural habits in the game. Still, I did achieve a personal high score soon after my first attempts with these tips in my head. So that’s promising.
Here’s the UploadVR guide to not being so awful in Space Pirate Trainer.
Understanding The Weapons
Van Welden suggests starting with the default laser pistols to get comfortable with aiming. Then go to the the quark cannon to try single shot fire. When you are able to get a lot of direct hits, switch to the railgun. “The ray-gun is best used for large groups of enemies. It’s great for stopping charging droids, and it’s very powerful when the rays are crossed. (Triple damage).”
Also, notes Van Welden, the single shot fire mode of the quark cannon is “very powerful in slow motion, since the Quarks do not have any travel time.”
Keep that progression in mind when considering the “non-negotiable” loadout recommended by high scorer Lemming: shield with the railgun.
Van Welden describes the strategy Lemming employs: “Once you get to higher waves, use the shield to cover the side that you’re not watching. Take out one side first, and sweep to the other side.” Lemming angles his shield, “towards the center if I see shots coming from there.”
Lemming points out the most important thing is never missing, “since the more you hit, the faster things die, the fewer things are shooting at you, the less often you get hit.” The expert space pirate suggests finding “a consistent grip” and keeping your arms straight but hand relaxed. “It’s better to take an extra moment to line up a shot and hit than fire as fast as you can and miss,” Lemming writes.
For beginners, Van Welden suggests getting to wave two and only destroying two of the droids, leaving the last one to circle you for dodging practice.
“Moving is super critical,” Lemming writes. “If you’re not moving much and relying on your shield to cover your front/side, you’re relying on staying lucky, since robots will go above and behind you. If you move tangential to the robots, they can’t hit you. Generally, you want to move diagonally or sort of in a circle. I highly recommend practicing runs without a shield, it’ll force you to learn this movement and situational awareness.”
Combos Are Key To High Scores
It turns out, according to Lemming, you want the robots to shoot at you from time to time so you can benefit from bullet time when the shots get close. This slowed down moment will help you extend hit combos, which increase the amount of points you get.
“You still want to cut off flanks but you should be letting robots shoot at you a bit,” Lemming writes.