Ziggy’s Cosmic Adventures’ focus on full immersion makes it one to watch, though it’s difficult to judge without those final touches. Read on for our preview.
I’ve kept a keen eye on Ziggy’s Cosmic Adventures. It’s part of a select breed of VR games that wants to work with the platform’s limitations, not try and defy them. Everything’s interactive in this immersive cockpit simulator, and everything’s within arm’s reach too. There’s no smooth locomotion or teleporting, no climbing or lifting heavy objects – developer Stardust Collective wants to keep VR feeling tactile and tangible.
The Steam Next Fest demo is good proof of this, even if there are some areas in which the game needs a tune-up before launch later this year.
If you’ve played other VR management games like A Rogue Escape or, to a lesser extent, plate-spinners like Cook-Out, you’ll have some idea of what to expect here. Ziggy sees you speeding through the galaxy in a one-man craft, making you personally responsible for its upkeep. Each of the ship’s systems is powered by batteries which you can refuel by 3D-printing the cutesy titular lifeform. Essentially, you need to complete objectives whilst managing power levels and health.
It’s a little too early to tell you exactly how successfully the game realizes its vision. Certainly, Ziggy has all the nuts and bolts in place, with a highly-detailed cockpit that has multiple elements to memorize and maintain. Get into battle and you’ll want to make sure you’ve got shields powered up and certainly don’t let your mind wander from the O2 gauge unless you want a quick and unpleasant death.
But this demo — by its own admission — doesn’t quite have the polish to deliver a seamless experience. Crucial buttons and switches are colored with the same textures as the wall paneling, making it hard to tell what’s interactive and what isn’t, whilst the game’s virtual flight stick controls need some work. The two-handed stick needs a lot of coordination that I often couldn’t wrestle under control and I couldn’t help but miss the simplicity of the one-handed controls seen in Ultrawings 2 that could then free up my hands for other tasks.
You’re also funneled down a straight path when flying the ship in this early interaction, with a barrier stopping you from straying too far and enemies arriving seemingly on cue, firing for a few seconds and then flying off in a sort of arcade shoot ’em up routine. It’s a shame not to be given the freedom to explore an entire area, but if Stardust can perfect the controls to give you the response needed for a satisfying arcade flight experience I could see myself adapting to this approach more easily.
And, while the game looks immaculate, it’s obviously missing some of the necessary effects to sell you on immersion, like the sounds of enemy ships racing towards you.
Despite these issues, though, I still think Ziggy’s Cosmic Adventures is a really promising VR game that will speak to people that want a fully immersive experience. It will need a more detailed onboarding system than the demo, which only really walks you through refueling batteries, and the wider story which allows for branching paths will need to offer meaningful variety.
If Stardust delivers, though, Ziggy could be a real treat for VR fans who hunger for the demanding, brain-bending exercise of management games or those sick of feeling like a camera gliding through a virtual world.
Ziggy’s Cosmic Adventures is due to arrive on PC VR and Quest 2 later in the year, and we’ll look to bring you full impressions of the final build when we can.