VR breathes new life into the original mobile classic.
Spaceteam VR is now available on Oculus and SteamVR headsets, offering players a colorfully chaotic cooperative experience that takes heavy inspiration from Sleeping Beast Games’ original 2012 mobile game of the same name. It’s the type of game where proper teamwork and effective communication are essential for survival. The type of game where only cool heads prevail. Natually, I’m terrible at it. Lucky for me, you don’t have to be a good communicator to enjoy this delightfully chaotic game.
In case you’re unfamiliar with the core concept, Spaceteam VR tasks up to six players with keeping an uber-fragile spaceship from exploding by performing a series of increasingly complex tasks. Each player is provided with their own set of instructions as well as a unique set of controls to operate. Most of the time this means flipping a simple switch or adjusting a dial to a specific read-out.
The catch, however, is that more-often-than-not the instructions you receive will be for a control panel operated by another player, requiring you to communicate the instructions for them to perform instead. It sounds relatively simple, but as more and more complications begin to arise at a faster rate you’ll soon find yourself frantically screaming commands over your fellow teammates as your intergalactic vessel crumbles around you; commands need to be entered in a timely manner otherwise your ship will quickly fall apart. Buttons begin to break, fires break out, mild gas leaks turn everyone into walking bobble heads; the list goes on.
Luckily, each player is equipped with a handful of disaster prevention tools. This includes a fire extinguisher for fighting random electrical fires, a laser gun for shooting tiny invaders, a hammer for repairing broken buttons, an air horn for—uh—making noise, and one disgusting-sounding sponge for cleaning the goo out of control panels. While they may sound like simple additions, these minor complications do an excellent job at breaking up some of the monotony that comes with inputting a never-ending series of commands.
As with any social experience or multiplayer cooperative game, however, a majority of the fun comes from your interactions with other players. Spaceteam VR offers a wide range of wacky customizations allowing for some truly outrageous player avatars. Call me simple, but there’s something about watching a green alien rocking tinted aviators scream nonsensical commands while putting out a fire that I find endlessly appealing.
That being said, Spaceteam VR isn’t without its flaws. During our playthrough we came across numerous game-breaking issues, especially with tracking. Whenever we jumped from the game into Oculus Home for instance, we’d return to the game to find ourselves in a new location aboard the ship; and because there’s no teleportation or locomotion mechanics, we were unable to reach our respective consoles, forcing us to reboot the game. We also came across several instances of lag and frame stuttering, though that could have been a result of the HD capture.
Overall, Spaceteam VR is a solid cooperative VR experience that does a commendable job at adapting the original Spaceteam experience for the VR format. While it’s true you may find a richer multiplayer experience in titles such as Star Trek: Bridge Crew, very few reach the level of accessibility afforded by Spaceteam. Thanks to cross-play support, players can team-up no matter what platform they’re on. Even those without headsets can join the action via the official mobile app. Don’t have any buddies to play with? No problem! Spaceteam VR offers a single-player mode featuring two AI teammates that display commands in text above their head.
Image Credit: Cooperative Innovations