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The movie Gravity as a VR game
In case you’ve ever seen the movie Gravity with George Clooney and Sandra Bullock, you’ll have a sense of what it’s like to play Detached by Anshar Studios. One of the first things I found out about the game is that the music is composed by Mikołaj Stroiński, the same guy who did the music for The Witcher 3.
The game itself has three modes, a tutorial, a single player mission, and a PvP mode. The game is still in Early Access on Steam, but most of the core functionality is in the game, so when I booted it up, I was able to play all three modes.
For those of you who haven’t played the game yet, I have some words of wisdom for you: move slowly. The game allows for 6 degrees of freedom with no gravity (aka drag), so once you use your jets to propel you in a certain direction you’ll keep heading in that direction until you use an opposite thruster to counteract the yaw, pitch, or roll. I’m warning you right now, if you don’t do the tutorial and you try to go right in to the game, you’ll move too fast and get sick. The game has very sensitive controls, very closely mirroring those of an actual space suit with zero G.
The tutorial first calibrates your sensors and after that there are these huge 3D hoops you need to maneuver around and fly through. I highly suggest playing the tutorial because it greatly enhances your game play once you’ve mastered the controls. For instance, after spending about 20 minutes flying around the hoops (that look like big donuts in space), I was able to move around very rapidly without getting sick. The trick is to use very subtle movements when turning up/down and left/right.
Single player mode
When you start the single player campaign, you awaken to find nobody else aboard your ship and communications have been knocked out. It’s your job to find out what to do and how to do it. Here’s a hint, if you watch the below video you’ll have a good sense of what your first objective will be when you start playing the game because the developers gave us a video of the first four minutes of the single player campaign. Here it is:
If you notice in the video above, you only have a certain amount of fuel and oxygen, as represented by the two yellow bars on the bottom of your spacesuit HUD. You must continue to find more of both if you wish to continue your journey.
This part of the game is super fun! It’s you vs. one other player in a game of capture the flag with added design elements. For instance, both of you start off the round on opposite sides of the arena, which is a huge space station with multiple command modules and asteroids that get in the way. Your goal is to get the package and then deliver it to your zone without losing it. Here’s the trick, besides the fact that there are power-ups in the game to use in order to stun your opponent, if you have the package and your opponent crashes in to you, he/she then has it and you have to get it back. It’s like a game of tag or football in space. The two power-ups I mentioned are a laser, which makes your opponent immobile temporarily allowing you to get the package easier, and the other one is a shield you can use to either block the laser or break through glass on the space station / command modules as well as collide in to your opponent. Neither power-up lasts very long so be sure to save it and use it wisely. I was in the game easily for over an hour playing against another writer for VR Today and it was really a blast. He didn’t practice as long as I did in the tutorial so I definitely had the upper hand in regards to maneuvering.
This game has absolutely beautiful art, extremely true-to-life physics for space maneuverability, and both a fun single player and multiplayer mode. Something you should keep in mind is that this game is still in Early Access, which is why this is a preview and not a review. Here are some things you can look forward to for the full game when it launches:
For the full version of the game, they plan to include the following:
• 1 additional single player map with more intense skill-based flying
• 2 additional multiplayer maps
• 1 additional multiplayer mode (a variation of “Assault”, i.e. an objective-based defense-vs-offense game play)
• Additional steering schemes (i.e. an easy scheme for VR sensitive people, and an FPS-like scheme)
• Additional controller support (Oculus Touch, Vive Controllers)
• Cross-platform multiplayer (and by “cross-platform” we mean Oculus Store)
• Monitor (non-VR) support