Hands-On With Skyfront VR (HTC Vive)

For the purpose of transparency, this hands-on was completed using a code provided by the company or their respective PR company. The use of a free code does not affect my judgement of this product.

Please note this hands-on was created using a BETA preview code for the game that has now released and is in early access. Therefore the final release may have implemented some changes.

Ever wanted to take on other players in anti-gravity combat, well with use and the power of HTC Vive this can now be possible. I wasn’t sure when I received the code whether Skyfront was going to bring any sort of campaign on single player experience with it, but from what I played it all seems to multiplayer. However, this is not a problem because what the game is trying it do it really doesn’t require any sort of single player.

From the build I was playing it was based on 1v1 combat, and the first few games when you are learning to ropes expect to die a lot – especially if you come up against someone with some experience in the game. As mentioned above it’s basically an anti-gravity shooter that is played in first person, and that’s what you get from the game, the game does exactly what it says it is. Personally I am hoping the game implements more than 1v1 combat on it’s release into early access or over its development, I feel that it would really excel with more players and more action.

Again the BETA preview build only came with one map, but it was a good one. I found even in just 1v1 it offered a number of places to use to take cover, or even try to hide and launch an ambush on the opponent. It was well filled out and a decent size, however, a little big for 1v1 – so I think with more people on the map and with team work it would be become a fantastic map. I am hoping again that the early access release comes with more than the one map or adds some over the development, just to stop the game becoming a bit stale.

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You and your opponent are both given the same load-out making the combat fair, so people who have played it longer than you wont have better weapons (just most likely more skill). The weapons you are given to defeat your opponent are a pistol, automatic rifle and a rocket launcher, you can use two of these at once (different weapons or duel wield) – but this will restrict your movement, I’ll touch on this soon. I personally found I got killed a lot by the rocket launcher, even though I never managed to use it effectively myself. This shows that it all depends on how you like to play, and one weapon isn’t going to dominate the game. Also what adds a little extra tactic to the game, because each hand can have a special ability mapped to it, meaning you can take a heal and shield special, two heals or two shields.

Now lets take a look at the moment, your movement is controlled by a gun also. You have to point this gun in the direction you want to move and pull the trigger. This gun also comes with a grappling hook attachment, which can help you swing from or pull yourself towards parts of the levels – getting this down can be the difference between life and death. So, this is why if you choose to use two weapons you become restricted in movement, because you need these to move and more importantly dodge. Also if you want to get somewhere fast, you can dual wield these guns for two times the movement speed.

One thing I was surprised with when looking at the control/movement system is that it caused no motion sickness at all. There has been a few VR games that have caused me to feel motion sick (across PSVR and Vive), so I was very conscious of how this would work. However, as I like to mention when covering motion sickness, this is down to the individual – so although it did not affect me, it doesn’t mean this will be the case for everyone.

Visually, the game brings a simplistic approach. The smooth/minimalistic looking architecture of the buildings sort of brings Greek feeling to the map. Now the weapons all look really nice, and are really well designed. It’s nice to see although its sort of futuristic feel due to the anti-gravity combat, the weapons don’t seem over the top in design.

With the time I have spent with Skyfront it has some potential, but will need some changes bringing to the game – but as mentioned these could come in as its early access at the moment. Personally I think it needs to increase the player count on the maps and also bring more maps over its development. The reason for this is to keep players coming back, because the VR trend for multiplayer only games is play it for a few weeks and then stop playing. I think the content brought to the game will determine whether that is the case with Skyfront – because the game itself is a lot of fun.

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