Yupitergrad PSVR REVIEW: This Much Fun Must Be Hard Work
Fantastic locomotion, original platforming and a charming narrative crash mid-air in this exhilarating experience by Gamedust, now available on PSVR.
But with all these elements going for it, does Yupitergrad fly or sink into the abyss below? Check out our review of Yupitergrad on PlayStation VR!
Review by Liam Noble Shearer
A Better Spider-Man Than Spider-Man?
When we reported the launch of Yupitergrad for PSVR last week, we fell into the same trap everybody else did. It was a silent mental calculation - something along the lines of: Sony... Swinging... Spider-Man!
I didn't have the occasion to play the game when it was released previously on HTC Vive, Quest or PCVR. So, before I jumped into Yupitergrad for the first time, I forced myself to drop any pretence that the title would be some kind of VR Spider-Man 2. Developer Gamedust is a Polish independent studio after all, so it would be unfair to judge the game with the expectation that it'd be some sleeper AAA.
Instead, I went in with no expectations - bar my assumption that the story would be hilarious. How did I find it? Here are my comprehensive review of Yupitergrad on PSVR!
This Much Fun Must Be Hard Work
The general gameplay of Yupitergrad is simple - it's basically a VR platformer. You find yourself on a Russian space station styled in the "deasil-punk" school. You are given two grapple-hooks which you will use to traverse the ship. You have issues to address, mechanics to fix, and to do so you must traverse complex 3D environments and solve puzzles.
First thing's first: movement in Yupitergrad is exceptional. It's hard to imagine how this whole world would stick together without flawless locomotion. This makes Yupitergrad even more impressive as the whole swinging experience wasn't predestined to work as perfectly as it dodes.
For something like this to work, you need to have a really good idea what can be swung from: which panels to aim for and which panels to avoid. Yupitergrad does this with a subtle colour-coding system which fits in flawlessly with the "diesel-punk" aesthetic. Blue panels can be attached to and swung from, but grey panels cannot be. This allows you to quickly formulate strategies for traversing rooms intuitively, making the process of swinging about seem even more fluid.
But whereas the grappling mechanism is exceptional, the campaign does suffer from environments that seem a bit... 'samey'. In some ways, this is a necessary evil. We've already discussed the colour design which intuitively instructs you how to traverse different environments, after all.
But the game is only the start...
So, the gameplay is exceptional. You can mount the same praise on the cell-shaded art style - something of a common weapon in newly released VR titles, probably because it helps players mitigate motion sickness. The narrative, charming and humorous as it is, is also a boon to this experience.
It's also a good job the gameplay is so fluid because as you progress through the game, it gets a lot harder. The learning curve isn't particularly subtle, either. As you enter the guts of the ship, you'll realise that these environments weren't supposed to be traversed via grappling hook. Lore-friendly, sure. But in terms of VR pacing? I'm not so sure.
This is probably a small criticism, though. Especially since I played through the whole thing without feeling motion sickness once.
So, while the star of the show remains the gameplay, it is probably at its best in the ranked Time Attack mode. This mode offers players twenty some odd glorified obstacle courses to race through, with embedded leader boards that make Time Attack near impossible to put down. This doesn't minimise the successes of the campaign for sure, but it certainly is probably going to be the game mode in which you spend the most time.
Fantastic locomotion, original platforming and a charming narrative crash mid-air in this exhilarating experience. Such a unique movement system is certainly not one to be missed, but go into this experience anticipating the steep difficulty curve.
Yupitergrad is out today on PSVR. Having you given this one a whirl? How did you find it? Let us know in the comments below.