Hover Junkers Review
Hover Junkers – A first person shooter in virtual reality
I’ve cleared the table and sofa from the centre of the VBR office. Lighthouses on, Vive ready, my guts steeled: it’s time to embark on a post-apocalyptic FPS in VR – Hover Junkers. It’s the most expensive VR game out so far and by far the best I’ve tried. The basic concept: you’re on a ship and you drive around shooting people. Hover Junkers is available for the Vive headset on Steam, costing £26.99.
You load up the game, choose a lobby and you’re thrown into Gunther’s cafe with everyone from the lobby. You can see other players’ hands and headsets and you can pick up objects in the cafe and throw them at Gunther (as well as swear at each other). You choose your ship and you’re ready to go. At the moment, the game only features two weapons- a shotgun and a revolver. One hand is needed to drive the ship while the other holds the weapon. The aim is to drive towards the enemy and try shoot them while they duck and hide taking shots at you. You’re guaranteed to end up jumping around your room ducking behind cover only to pop up again to shoot back.
The size of your room isn’t a problem – they have tiny, small, medium, large and huge ships.
Space isn’t too much of an issue with Hover Junkers. You can play standing or room scale. The size of your room isn’t a problem – they have, tiny small, medium, large and huge ships to accommodate most players. This leaves the game itself. It is pretty impossible to shoot people at far range for two reasons: a revolver and shotgun aren’t that accurate anyway; it’s extremely difficult to shoot a moving target. This leaves the option of driving up close to someone and having a full on battle. You line your ships up and start shooting. You can either shoot with one hand and manoeuvre around the enemy ship with the other or you can sacrifice mobility and don two weapons. I would recommend the former when you first start otherwise better players move around you and attack you where your ship is less protected. As you get better, you’ll be able to change on the go, driving up to the enemy, whipping out two weapons, and shooting them.
You are given 7 pieces of debris at the start to equip your ship with. The ship has points around it – the number depends on size – which you strategically equip to provide you with protection. As your ship gets shot up, the protection gets destroyed so you’ll need to look around for loot. There are container boxes lying around that you zap with your welding gun and loot/debris comes out to repair your ship. To turn this into loot put it into the vacuum at the front of your ship, or just place it around your ship for protection. This protection is important. Without it you are a sitting duck – you’ll die over and over and it’s infuriating. With it, it enables you to duck behind cover, lean over and shoot around it, or hide while shooting over the top. The game was only just released in early April so there have been a few bugs but I found nothing serious. There are 10 maps at the moment and 2 weapons with an uzi and flare gun being released for multiplayer in update 1.1. The game features two game modes: free for all and team deathmatch. Team deathmatch can be seriously annoying when you and your team-mate are set against 4 enemies. But when the teams are balanced, it’s really good fun. FFA is a little bit more chaotic, but just as entertaining.
Virtual Reality is in its early life. The Vive and Oculus Rift have only just come out this year, so we aren’t expecting anything fantastic in terms of graphics and bugs. Having said that, Hover Junkers is by far the best game I’ve tried in Virtual Reality and reasserts the hope that VR will not just be a gimmick of 2016, then forgotten. Games like Hover Junkers promise to elevate Virtual Reality to beyond what was ever hoped for. The good selection of maps, the different game modes and the two different weapons (with more coming) allow for a varied game that has good replayability. You’ll be breaking out a sweat, your legs will be tired but you’ll not regret it for one moment. Hover Junkers is constantly being updated – just recently they added the uzi and the flare gun as well as several bug fixes and various improvements. So next week, you could be playing a much more complete game, tailored to its players. I would definitely recommend getting this game if you have a Vive. However, I would not recommend getting a Vive just to play this game – one game that is excellent does not justify spending immense amounts of money on a high-end PC and the Vive. If games like Hover Junkers keep on coming out, then in no time, it will be worth spending all that money on Virtual Reality. Hover Junkers is available on Steam for £26.99/$34.99.
Edit: I only just noticed that their Steam page says under requirements: “Minimum: Additional Notes: Run on low settings only :(” and “Recommended: Additional Notes: Don’t cheap out on your VR PC :)”. Made me laugh! 😀