Preview: ViSP – Virtual Space Port
An inventive debut puzzler from a new indie VR studio.
During Gamescom 2018 last week VRFocus came across several interesting virtual reality (VR) titles dotted around the expansive halls in Cologne. At the Indie Arena Booth there was the mind-bending A Fisherman’s Tale, and just across from it was a debut title by a couple of students who went by the name Visper Games called ViSP – Virtual Space Port. Another puzzler, this experience was much more about sci-fi management than surreal brain teasers.
Visper Games has kept things clean and fairly narrative free when it comes to ViSP – Virtual Space Port, all you really need to concern yourself with is building and expanding the space port, whilst defending it against hostile attacks.
With a core base given to you at the start of each level made up of two different block types, these must be extended to build more resources and reach the goal. The brighter white and yellow cubes are the space port itself and can be built upon any side of the cube so long as you have resources. To gain more you’ll see several ships flying around which can drop off goods so long as you build a docking port – fairly easy, just make a ‘+’ shape. During this process you’ll probably notice some mysterious blue objects in the farthest regions of the level, these are what’s needed to complete the level, attach to all of them and wait for the timer to complete.
Easy so far. Then there are the wall blocks. These are the space port’s only line of defence, constructed in exactly the same way they provide a barrier to stop incoming spacecraft. These are stupid but become more relentless with time. Their flight path can be seen via a red laser pointer so they’re easy to pick out. The danger becomes more apparent once your base becomes much more complicated and you start to get squads of craft attacking. Should one get through and hit one of the earlier building arms that the space port extends from and that can be a sizable chunk of the port lost.
So like anything it’s a matter of balance, and that’s where the enjoyment of this style of VR title comes from. Carefully, managing a range of options that can be slow and mundane to begin with, yet offer a satisfying challenge when problems do arise.
The studio has also seen fit to make navigation as smooth as possible. Whilst there’s full room-scale functionality in effect, allowing you to walk round your space port, the option to pick it up is there as well. Being able to grab and twist ViSP – Virtual Space Port makes the entire experience easy to play in a smaller area whilst affording players the opportunity to quickly navigate their space port when trying to defend it.
ViSP – Virtual Space Port almost feels like a grownup version of playing with children’s building blocks. It combines a simple building mechanic with that of 360-degree virtual puzzle to great effect, and it’s these kind of stripped back, bare bones designs that VRFocus enjoys playing. The only question now is one so many puzzle titles wrestle with, and that’s longevity. Will there be enough content to warrant a purchase? You’ll have to wait until November to see, in the meantime there’s a free demo on Steam for HTC Vive.