Lasers? Check. Space theme? Check. Matrix style bullet dodging? Check. Welcome to our review of Space Pirate Trainer for the HTC Vive! Virtual Reality is a whole new playground when it comes to entertainment and plenty of game developers have decided to stake their claim in what many (myself included) believe to be the next big thing. Developed by indie studio I-illusions, Space Pirate Trainer is an intense wave based shooter that really shows what Virtual Reality is all about. If you haven’t heard of The HTC Vive or are interested in learning more about Virtual Reality , check out our review of The HTC Vive here.
Space Pirate Trainer is a game all about aim, reflex, and reaction time. The way the game plays out is fairly simple at first but as you progress through each waves things begin to heat up, fast. Immediately loading into the game you find yourself on a floating platform high in the sky with a ledge appearing slightly in front of you and your spaceship behind you. The Vive controllers transform into two laser pistols with different modes of fire. You can quickly swap between single fire, burst, full auto, charged shot, and laser all with a quick swipe of the touchpad. Pulling the trigger fires your laser pistol in each respective hand and boy does that feel satisfying and very responsive due to the Vive’s haptic feedback within the controllers.
Another cool feature is being able to pull out a shield that is able to reflect lasers by simply putting your controller behind your back and bringing it back in front of you. This really adds to the immersion of the game and makes you feel like you are actually there, which is the whole point of virtual reality.
This is Space Pirate Trainer.
The game starts on wave 1, where a single drone appears in front of you and begins flying around your head. On level one the drone does not shoot back at you as it’s main purpose is to get you used to physically aiming the gun and moving around. After a couple of shots the drone explodes, ending wave 1 and adding points to your score. With each wave comes more drones and these one shoot back. This leads me to one of the most rewarding aspects of Space Pirate Trainer, dodging enemy fire. You can tell when a drone is about to shoot due to a high pitched charging noise and a bright red dot on its’ eye, this is your signal to quickly look around for the drone and either shoot it before it shoots you or dodge the lasers. As soon as the enemy lasers get near you something amazing happens, in game time slows down allowing you to physically duck and weave out of the way. This provides such a rewarding experience due to simply how darn cool it makes you feel. Sure you might look silly to those watching you, but in game you feel like a total badass.
Sometimes blocking is better than dodging.
As of right now the game is in Steam Early Access which essentially means the game is still in beta and more updates will be added as time goes on. With that in mind the game is somewhat limited as of this review as there is only one game mode. There are currently only two types of enemies, the slow predictable white drones and the fast deadly red drones. Even with the different fire modes on the laser pistol I would like to see new weapons being added to the game such as a laser rifle, some sort of laser sword, or a futuristic shotgun. But all things considered this game is a great game to play with friends due to the score system. Taking turns while trying to beat each other’s high score is something I haven’t been able to enjoy doing in a long.
When I first booted up Space Pirate I was completely blown away. Up until this point the only VR enabled game I had played was Minecraft which goes for a very different type of graphical aesthetic. This game on the other hand goes for a much more realistic approach and it really helps out with the immersion factor. The first thing I did was look down to study my laser pistols and was very impressed with the amount of detail put into them. When changing your type of fire a little hologram pops up right above your gun showing your selection which really adds to the immersion factor. Even though I knew I was physically holding two Vive controllers in my hand, it really felt like I was holding two space pirate laser pistols in my hands.
Bright, flashy, and full of detail.
While playing you are able to look and move 360 degrees around the game by physically moving in the real world. Looking out into the sky you see a futuristic world full of huge buildings, signs, and even massive space ships flying above. This is such a nice touch and it is all done without distracting you from the game itself. The enemy drones themselves are very detailed, you can make out their little eyes, boosters, and wings even from far away. The colors are bright and crisp and due to the neon effects of your laser and the enemy’s, I almost feel like i’m living through an 80s scifi movie and loving every second of it.
I really do like Space Pirate Trainer, quite a bit actually, but the game does have a few shortcomings that keep it from a higher score. As mentioned above the game could use a few more weapon options as well as more enemy variety. Perhaps a few different selectable locations as well would be nice. But this may all come in time due to the game being in beta as of right now. Regardless, my friends and I will continue to have a blast trying to beat our high scores almost every weekend. Space Pirate Trainer can be bought through Steam for the price of $14.99 which I believe to be a very fair price for what this game offers. If you’re looking for a truly immersive game that really makes you move, then I highly recommend Space Pirate Trainer.
+ Controls are precise and gunplay is very rewarding
+Very immersive graphically and gameplay wise
+High replayability and competitive
-Lack of different modes and enemies
Matt is an occasional writer for The Geekiverse mainly due to the fact that he now spends way too much time playing inside of virtual worlds.
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