SpaceteamVR isn’t terrible, but it simply doesn’t do what it sets out to do very well. If they were going for a realistic spaceship simulator they should have gone all the way instead of adding in some cheap cardboard props when it’s obvious that nobody is paying attention anyway! I love seeing people try new things no matter how basic or ridiculous they might seem (look at all the people who bought those Kinects; now those things look totally sensible compared to this, and yet no one’s trying to make a party game with them), but I can’t recommend anyone drop $15 on Spaceteam VR when there are so many far more interesting and satisfying ways to enjoy the same experience with friends.
Spaceteam VR is an interesting game, but not for the right reasons. The premise of Spaceteam sounds simple enough, you are put in a room with your friends and strangers to work together to keep a spaceship afloat. Here’s the catch though, each crew member has control over different parts of the ship that they must fix in order to get it back on track and into space! One player might be tasked with getting some more power cells while other needs help to charge up their thrusters and somebody else needs oxygen tanks refilled. On top of all this, somebody has to deal with something going wrong with the ship’s communication system and someone else has to try and maintain the engine shields – all while making sure not to hit anything in space! Oh, and the instructions are projected on your walls so you have to turn around to read them while also dealing with other responsibilities. You might look at this setup and think, “That sounds like it would be a great party game!” And you’d be right – if Spaceteam VR was set up as a party game, but it’s not.
This is where the problems begin.
First off, there’s no voice chat integrated into the experience which makes communicating with teammates frustrating when they’re in different parts of the ship (i.e., “I need more power cells here” or “Can I get some oxygen tanks refilled over here?”). OK fine; we can deal with that, but the real deal-breaker is that there’s no way to queue up commands with your teammates. Because of this, someone on your team has to be looking at instructions and typing out commands all while they’re trying not to look ridiculous in front of their friends and strangers because every single person playing Spaceteam VR looks like a complete idiot.
With no option for voice chat and no ability for players to submit more than one command at a time, it can take several minutes of radio silence between teammates just for everyone to figure out what they need to do next. This would be enough for me as someone who wants to play Spaceteam VR with my friends if not for the next big problem: the lack of any coordination tools.
Players are given a list of things to work on in Spaceteam VR that are displayed on their walls, but it’s not clear when one task has been completed before you can move on to the next. This means that players will spend most of their time staring at screens with tiny text trying to decipher what they need to do rather than actually doing anything interesting. I found myself having trouble parsing information because everything is presented in small blocks of text against some solid colors – some of which are more opaque than others depending on how many color filters you have activated using your wristband.
So even aside from reading these screens and dealing with the lack of communication options, there’s still no way for teammates to know if they’ve fixed something or not without asking each other or checking their own screens. That’s because when you fix something in Spaceteam VR, the screen blinks and moves to a new display without any notification to let your teammates know what just happened. This is one thing that Conspiracies did much better than Spaceteam VR in my opinion: it let players know when they’ve completed an objective and then notify them again when it’s time for them to move on to the next task.
Spaceteam VR feels like a great example of how powerful VR truly is – if only the devs had taken advantage of its unique capabilities! There are some good ideas here like using voice-activated menus and watching objects float around in front of you, but all these cool things can’t keep Spaceteam VR from feeling dull. Sure, the novelty of playing with friends in a virtual space may last for an hour or so, but there are plenty of other party games out there that offer more in terms of gameplay and/or strategy – especially since SpaceteamVR is limited to local multiplayer only.
- Cool idea; everyone looks like an idiot staring at their wristbands anyway ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
- Good-looking visuals with stylized colors created by color filters on the wristband
- Space looks really nice with plenty of objects to gawk at
- Progress bars for tasks indicate which ones are done and which one’s need attention next
- Poor communication options leave players feeling isolated from eachother
- Screens require too much concentration and effort to parse information from unstructured blocks of text amid too many color filters
- Meaningful progress indicators for tasks would go a long way toward keeping players engaged and informed of what they need to do next
- Very poor audio quality and a lack of background music can make things feel even more dull and boring
- No way to determine what team members can or cannot hear, so it often feels like no one is listening when you try to communicate over voice chat
- Lack of coordination tools means players will spend most of their time staring at screens trying to figure out what they should be doing instead of having fun together loose ends
- There’s no way to find out whether or not you’ve fixed something in the game just by looking at your wristband
- No in-game voice chat means that communication is left entirely up to typing in chat boxes, leaving players feeling isolated and unable to strategize successfully
Ease of Use: 2.5/5 – Good idea for a party game but lacks coordination tools