Yupitergrad offers exhilarating and immersive gameplay, along with a dash of humour and solid audiovisuals. It makes swinging at break-neck speed through a hazard filled space station every bit as fun as it sounds.
Whilst this game may be a bit too intense for some, Yupitergrad offers fantastic VR arcade action that’s great fun whilst it lasts.
When thinking of Yupitergrad, imagine Spider-Man, except instead of New York City you inhabit a space station orbiting Jupiter, and instead of being a superhero with web slingers you are a cosmonaut with...plungers?
Okay, so Yupitergrad is quite a bit different from Spider-Man in all but one main area, the ability to use your grappling plungers to swing around like the popular web-crawling hero.
The only way to get around in Yupitergrad is to use your tethered suction cups to attach to special blue surfaces and yank your arm or shorten the tether using the thumbstick to launch yourself in the desired direction.
You also come equipped with small thrusters on each arm that can be used to cover small distances, build swinging momentum, or move around underwater.
The space station itself is fraught with dangerous obstacles, some fairly simple puzzles and moving targets which make getting from A to B a challenge. For example, there are areas where if you don’t time your swing perfectly, you could see yourself getting taken out by all kinds of spinning or crushing machinery.
The difficulty also increases as you make your way through the game. One way this is done is by making the blue surfaces you grapple onto less frequent and smaller as you progress, and later on you are introduced to surfaces that also move!
You will find yourself dying and having to restart often in some parts but Yupitergrad is fairly forgiving as there are many checkpoints and loading times are mercifully quick so you can get back into the action in no time.
Zipping through corridors at break-neck speed whilst narrowly avoiding instant death is undeniably fun. Playing on the Quest wirelessly gives that extra freedom factor that a game like this really benefits from. Yupitergrad also features 120Hz support for the Oculus quest 2.
There are some occasions where gameplay can be a bit frustrating due to the mechanics as it turns out that dangling from a piece of string attached to a plunger isn’t the easiest way to get around!
There are also times when the level design doesn’t allow the fast-paced gameplay to flow as freely as it perhaps should, but overall the level design offers exhilarating gameplay that is incredibly fun and challenging without seeming unfair.
There is also a time trial mode consisting of stages that take about 1-2 minutes each to complete (or less depending on how good you are).
These timed levels start off easy enough but get more difficult along the way and soon have you flying around corners avoiding the fire, gas, grinders and other pitfalls that the space station throws at you to get the fastest time possible for the online leaderboard.
Yupitergrad has a pretty striking art style, consisting of vibrant cel-shaded graphics.
The space station also has a cold, minimalist look which goes well with the bold visuals.
The visuals also contribute to the gameplay too as they allow you to better locate the blue and yellow panels where your plungers attach.
The voice acting is done well. It’s not only hilarious but the accents also sound genuinely Russian. The sound effects and music are well matched to the gameplay but there are stretches of game where there is no soundtrack.
This isn’t a problem per se but there were times when a backing track would have been good, such as having the option of some high energy music playing when swinging through the space station at speed.
The story is simple which seems suitable for an arcade-style game of this type.
In Yupitegrad, you play a russian cosmonaut who is experimenting inside a space station orbiting Jupiter.
The experiment ends up going wrong and it turns out that mission control doesn’t tolerate failure too well and so it’s up to you to get it working before you go home.
Whilst you don’t need to pay too much attention to the plot, what really made the story for me is the humour sprinkled throughout the game. There’s some hilariously witty dialogue that reminds me of the same comedic style of Valve’s popular title, Portal.
The main game has 50 levels that will take you about 2 hours to complete. The game itself is one continuous experience and levels are defined by checkpoints throughout the game.
Whilst the campaign is on the shorter side, the time trial mode helps to add more meat to the experience. The time trial mode originally had 20 levels but the developers added another 10 in a recent update.
If speed runs and leaderboards are your thing then you’re going to find the 30 time trial levels to be an addictive addition that will breathe plenty more life into the game.
The time trial stages take no more than a couple of minutes to complete but you’ll need to replay each one quite a few times to master it and nab that spot on the leaderboard.
If that’s not enough, the developers also promise more free DLC in the future, which includes additional levels.
This is where Yupitergrad comes into its own.
This type of game works very well in VR and the mechanics lend themselves to make the most of the motion controls. Aiming with your hand, launching the plunger using the trigger, and pulling your arm down to set yourself into motion feels very natural.
The swinging mechanics are fantastic and offer the kind of adrenaline rush that you can’t get in the same way for any other platform but VR.
Whether it’s swinging headlong around a corner or squeezing through a crusher with split second timing, Yupitergrad sucks you in and keeps you enthralled from the moment you put on your headset to the time you take it off.
Motion Options: 6.5
Comfort can be an issue as you might expect in a game that has you navigating through the environment by swinging, ascending, and descending at fantastic speeds.
Having said that, it’s not as an uncomfortable experience as it may sound.
The developers have done a good job at managing motion sickness given the potential for discomfort in a game like this.
If you are quite prone to motion sickness you might expect to feel uncomfortable with this one. However, I believe that many will find the motion to be tolerable.
I experienced some minor discomfort after playing for about an hour and I tend to be moderately prone to the effects of VR motion sickness.
Learning Curve: 7
The gameplay mechanics are quite simple and intuitive which makes Yupitegrad one of those games you can quite easily pick up and play. There is also a brief tutorial that will quite literally help you get into the ‘swing’ of things.
That being said, the mechanics are easy to pick up but difficult to master so at the beginning you’ll likely be half-swinging and half-dragging yourself through the stage.
But like with most things, practice makes perfect and it won’t be long before you start to swing effortlessly through the corridors and pick up some speed.
Value for Money: 7
Whilst the campaign is on the shorter side, the time trial mode can expand the game’s replayability by quite a bit.
When taking this replayability into account along with the solid mechanics and massively fun gameplay experience, Yupitergrad seems reasonably priced at the relatively low $14.99 USD price point.
Summary: Yupitergrad is the plunger-driven kosmonaut game where you can swing through space station with style all in cell-shaded graphics.
Game Modes: Single User
Genres: Action, Racing, Space/Universe
Platforms: Oculus Quest
Release Date: January 29, 2021
Version Reviewed: 2.0.0