Preview: Bad Day to Fly – Arcade Action in the Skies

This is Beloudest's first VR title.

It can always be a challenge for indie virtual reality (VR) developers to decide upon what sort of title to first take the plunge with, as some genres of video games are notoriously more difficult than others. British team Beloudest has decided to go with aerial combat for its first with Bad Day to Fly, and even in with this early alpha build the title shows promise.

Bad Day to Fly is all about taking to the skies to shoot down swarms of alien enemies in a vehicle inspired by drones and quadcopters. It’s an action oriented experience where you don’t really need dog fighting skills like EVE: Valkyrie, just a good aim and quick reactions.

bd2f Cockpit

The main issue players usually have with this style of video game is that they can be quite nauseating, having to quickly turn and track enemies, making the landscape spin and undulate rapidly. With Bad Day to Fly however Beloudest seem to have created an experience that’s entirely comfortable. Being inside a cockpit can help, but it’s the control scheme that’s most noteable.

Currently supporting HTC Vive, Bad Day to Fly utilises a flight control method very akin to that of a helicopter. The right controller does most of the work, holding it vertical you tilt it forward to move the nose up or down, tilt it side to side to strafe left and right, while twisting the controller acts as the yaw. Not too complicated, this flight control system becomes quite intuitive and easy to pick up after a few minutes.

To increase or decrease height tap the right touch pad in the corresponding direction, and for an additional forward thrust hit the left-hand touch pad. For such an early stage build – the team has only worked on it for a few months – there wasn’t really any noticeable inaccuracies or input lag to be found. All the other buttons then served to fire or switch the various armaments available depending on your play style.

bd2f Missile-Fire

Presently gameplay is a fairly simple affair, there was a single level on demonstration, with a giant enemy mother ship spawning attackers while you had to defend your ship. Three enemy types were available and each was susceptible to certain weapons you carry, the smallest which tended to come in packs could be taken out with lock-on missiles where the largest required swapping to a plasma gun. These weapons featured on the right controller with a fixed reticule located in the centre of the cockpit. While the left controller moved a minigun which had completely free movement, enabling you to fire off missiles in one direction while shredding an opponent elsewhere.

So while the flight control is good there is still much to work on, graphically there’s still a lot polishing needing to be done, but possibly more important is there’s currently no way to hover – kind of required for a vehicle that resembles a helicopter – or accurately land – part of the mission did require it at one point.

Beloudest is looking to release Bad Day to Fly in 2018 with a beta version planned for around Q3 2017. If you own a HTC Vive and love your flying video games then this should certainly be on your watch list, and Oculus Rift users to.

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