A GEARVRNEWS QUICK REVIEW
Escape Velocity is the exciting new entry in VR by developers SetApp. At a glance, I must say it reminds me of the movie Gravity, which no doubt was the inspiration for this title. This game puts you in the role of an astronaut aboard the I.S.S. when something … unexpected happens, requiring a space walk to calibrate an off-site component. During calibration, the events escalate, leaving you in the aftermath, with debris flung far and wide spinning dangerously around you in space. You must pilot yourself via jet pack through the incredibly difficult environs of space. Controlling your flight through the debris is the main challenge, and it’s very difficult to do well. Which is why it’s so fun! This was an exciting thrill for me.
For one thing, it’s not only rendered in full-stereoscopic depth, but they took the time to put you inside a helmet too. Your view is partially occluded by it to give you the astronaut perspective, which is more immersive. I do wish they’d added a few more chips or wires or a few lights that blink to give the helmet a dash more realism, it’s pretty flat. But I’m glad it’s there all the same. The station graphics are pretty good, not the best I’ve seen, but enough to look believable. The radio-intercom messages are awesome, very real sounding and authentic.
The flight controls are very detailed, requiring almost every button on the game pad to pull it off. I haven’t yet tried the Track-Pad mode, I’m not sure how we can do this game at all on that! On more than one occasion, I lost control of my suit and was spinning at 40 miles an hour and starting to want to vomit, but thankfully the suit’s stabilizers will slow you back to normal very quickly, so the effects don’t last long. (There is also a comfort mode, but wasn’t sure how to get it working, as clicking the button they said to click didn’t work.) You can quickly feel very uncomfortable (motion sick) if you don’t use the proscribed slow-down button as soon as possible when you lose control. But it’s also fun to try NOT to use it ... by flying better with each attempt. At one point, I was flying past the door I wanted to go to, spinning to the right simultaneously so I could see the door, and I felt so taken with the feeling of flight I was shouting out loud! I slowed back down, and got within range, the game took over and I was on to the next part of this …. demo. Wait, what?
This game is … more like a demo at this point. It only gives you one level and when you reach the end, you get flung into space to end the demo. I’m sure more of this must be coming, because it’s really cool so far. But for the introductory price of $2.99, it’s a nice taste of how the events in the movie Gravity with Sandra Bullock must have felt if they’d really happened. I felt it was a little short, but still thrilling. I will probably play this at least a few more times through to try and perfect my jet-pack flying. If you liked the movie Gravity, want to try some space walking, and do some jet-pack flying in Zero G, then Escape Velocity will be … just the right speed for you. Don’t let this one … escape you.