One of VR’s best Spider-Man games is set on an abandoned 1980s-era Soviet space station. Or is it an Indiana Jones game? Well, whatever you want to compare it to, it’s pretty damn good and it’s coming to Oculus Quest 2 and PSVR this month.
Yupitergrad, from developer Gamedust, is a VR platformer that swaps out Spidey’s web shooters (or Indy’s iconic whip) with delightfully-wacky plungers on strings. You’re a lone cosmonaut tasked with getting the malfunctioning station up and running, but that’s just the set-up for what is mostly a test of dexterity in a series of increasingly hard swinging and platforming courses.
Movement in Yupitergrad is primarily achieved by shooting your plungers at surfaces and then either retracting the attached line or swinging to your destination (this is supposed to be zero-g, after all). It’s simple and effectively executed, and it might even be too easy if not for the twists of difficulty added to keep you challenged. They start gently, by restricting you to only adhering your plunger onto blue-coloured surfaces, forcing you to plan a bit before you shoot. You do get an added thruster ability as well, but I found myself using the plunger exclusively, unless I absolutely had to thrust.
It’s Gettin’ Hectic
Things get gradually more hectic, though, with new obstacles to navigate, like swinging gates, and deadly traps with spinning blades and fans. At times like these I definitely felt a real Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade vibe; Yupitergrad’s death-defying trapeze gameplay is sometimes tough but consistently thrilling.
It’s apparently still in Early Beta, but Yupitergrad feels quite polished and glitch-free, probably because it’s already been out on PC since August 2020. The art style is cel-shaded like a graphic novel, and things look crisp and clear especially in the first-person 3D point of view. There were just a few instances where my plunger line clipped through corners, but these were rare.
I would have liked to see more variety in the colours though, as the Spartan environments started to feel a tad oppressive after a long play-through. Don’t get me wrong, I get the idea behind Yupitergrad’s aesthetic; it’s a nostalgic/satirical homage to 1970s-80s Soviet modernism, and the clunky machinery and stripped-down technology touches are cool to a point. I just wanted something a bit more pretty to look at after a while.
There is a surprising amount of content for a VR title, though. Besides the main story line which gives you many levels to plunge, swing and grapple through, Yupitergrad on Oculus and PSVR has added a new Time Attack mode that tasks you with getting through obstacle courses as fast as possible. This includes Leaderboards and it’s a fun extra mode that adds replay value. I can definitely see myself tackling this mode quite a bit after finishing the main game.
Easy On The Gut
How about motion sickness, you ask? It’s a fair question, and with all that swinging in VR, I was expecting Yupitergrad to make me severely queasy but surprisingly, I felt no discomfort even after hours of play time. Maybe that’s due to the smooth rotation option, but I found this VR game to be quite easy on the stomach.
Overall, I liked what I saw and played through with Yupitergrad. It’s currently on track to release on Oculus Quest 2 and PSVR this month. And judging by its solid platforming action and polished physics, this is a VR title that will be worth taking a plunge into.
** An Oculus Quest 2 Early Beta build was provided for this Preview **