Skyfront VR – An intense VR Arena shooter with a heavy focus on Verticality
Skyfront VR is a particularly unique Arena style shooter in Virtual Reality. I’ve never personally played anything like it. Unlike other FPS VR games, this one doesn’t have you performing complicated, multi-step reloads as fast as possible. Taking cover is not such a simple proposition as ducking through the nearest door.
Instead, Skyfront VR has you flying around levels that designed as vertically as they are horizontally. Movement is based on a special weapon that can be equipped at any time to either hand which boosts you through the map. It has a basic grappling hook to pull you even faster. The weapons are simplistic to control, meaning the only difference between you and your enemy is your aim, skill and strategy.
The game has a fairly average selection of weapons so far, an assault rifle, a sniper rifle, a six-shooter style pistol, a shotgun, and a minigun. Then it also has the rocket launcher shown above. At first I thought this weapon was kind of broken, and it might be a bit overpowered, but ultimately I find this weapon is a key design choice that prevents the game from stalling out into a situation where everyone is just dodging and moving too fast for anyone to hit them.
The rocket launcher shoots a limited number of rounds which really aren’t enough to kill another player alone, but any additional damage and they’ll be dead quickly. If someone is trying to boost away, a quick couple of shots will have perfect heat seeking missiles hunting them down and ensuring you get the kill.
Now, the movement in this game I think is pretty cool. You point that gun in my left hand where you want to go and pull the trigger. Pushing the top of the pad will give you a boost, and from my play it appears using this movement gun in both hands will increase your speed, with “double boost” rocketing you around very, very quickly.
The grappling hook option is not only great for getting around the map quicker, but dodging enemies as well. I’ve quickly escaped losing situations in this game by quickly grappling from location to location. Its range is limited though, and on more than one occasion I’ve gotten myself killed by misjudging the distance and trying to grappling hook away.
Like I mention in the title, verticality is a huge part of this game. I mean, given that you’re flying around in any direction, it sort of has to be. This clip I cut out not because I was wrecking kids or getting quad kills with my eyes closed, but instead to show that verticality in action. I probably would have had gotten that guy if I had simply thought to look down, but I was still in a “horizontal” mindset at this point.
One thing I do want to say though is that I think they have a lot of opportunity that’s yet to be seized with their verticality and movement system as it is now. It works for an arena shooter – even more so it’s great for an arena shooter in VR – but I can’t help but imagine large maps with tunnels to chase people around in, pillars shooting up in the air and chasing players through them with the grappling hook while dodging incoming missiles from behind. I see a lot of opportunity with this one, and it’s stuff you couldn’t do in tradition FPS or other VR FPS.
Now, the gunplay and the scopes. The firefights in this game make look other VR games look casual. It can be pretty tense in other shooters, you back up against a wall, go through your complicated 12-step reload process, and hope they don’t blast you when you pop your head back out. Skyfront takes it to a new level when everyone flying around each other as fast as they can, but the difficulty in shooting is balanced out by that all-important rocket launcher. You can select a different weapon, but frankly I don’t recommend it.
The scopes are something I really have to commend the devs on, especially the assault rifle red dot and the magnum iron sights + laser sight. VR is a low-resolution environment still, and especially in a high-movement game like this it can be very time consuming to even try to use a sight properly. The sight on the red dot for the assault rifle in this game is spot on – the sight is large, minimalist, the red dot is very easy to see and use at a glance, and it will move accurately with the spatial rotation of the gun. For the magnum pistol (which is really fun) you mainly use the laser sight which gives you an additional advantage of better hipfire, to compensate for a very low rate of fire.
The game also features a set of “special abilities,” which are your fairly generic shields, scan enemy through walls, force push kind of abilities – but it’s that kind of stuff that all ties together to create a fast paced game with lots of options for various situations. Me personally, I like to use the shield the most. It’s simple, and can help counter those pesky rockets and someone who thinks they’re going to get an easy kill just because you’re out in the open.
Finally, that motion sickness factor. At one point during my play I was joined by several kids in VR arcades, which was interesting to say the least. Pretty much everyone who could talk was saying, presumably about their first experience, that they thought they were going to hurl. Frankly this will happen to anyone who has weak VR legs with any game that allows you to move in a directly you’re not directly looking. That being said, there’s no swinging or awkward momentum pushing you around, so it’s something that you’ll get used to quickly. I don’t think any of those kids had an issue for more than a few moments before we were all having a blast.
Ultimately, I think this game is really cool. It’s the first and only FPS I’ve played so far that offers proper fast paced, intense multiplayer arena shooter action. That’s not to say that other games are bad, but this one is the fastest out there and with the verticality options, it provides really intense gunfights. All the thrill of going on a 20-0 killstreak in COD is right here, in VR, flying around with a rocket launcher or a minigun or that nasty magnum style pistol. I really think the devs have a lot of opportunity to create some really unique maps that make use of their unique movement style and grappling hook. The only other concern I have is, like every VR game, is overall players. That being said as more people pick this gem up there’s going to be no issue finding matches or plenty of opponents to send flying. Make sure to give it a go.
Thanks for reading! If you want to see more, you can find my Twitch stream at: twitch.tv/crimsonBZD – I play virtual reality, and a wide variety of games. Fun and friends are more important than playing like a pro. This article is just a glimpse of what I and VR have to offer. I plan on making more virtual reality videos and articles for you to enjoy. Thanks to my girlfriend @ChelzBZD for being awesome and a huge shoutout to @Kitsuga_Gaming and Kitsuga.com, thanks ya’ll!