Hands-On: Space Pirate Trainer

Hands-On: Space Pirate Trainer

by April 24, 2016

Every little kid dreams big. At a young age, it’s easy to imagine yourself as a master ninja, an astronaut, or even a secret agent. Now, thanks to development studio I-Illusions, you can bring one of those kinds of fantasies to life and become a real-life space pirate! The VR game, aptly titled Space Pirate Trainer, utilizes the HTC Vive to create its interstellar fantasy, and for those of you looking for a more active, game-like VR experience, this one’s got you covered.

It looks silly from the outside, but Space Pirate Trainer is really quite immersive.

It looks silly from the outside, but Space Pirate Trainer is really quite immersive.

Even in the brief press demo we were afforded, there was a fair bit of depth to the core gameplay. You hold two trigger controllers which typically act as guns, though you can swap one out for a shield by reaching behind your back as though you’re grabbing a secondary weapon. You’re tasked with taking down increasingly-difficult waves of Cyclops-looking drone enemies; shoot them all, and another wave will descend upon you. These drones can surround you and shoot from many different positions and angles, so spacial awareness is key to surviving encounters.

It goes a bit beyond spacial awareness, though; you’ll need to be physically active as well. Because your enemies can surround, you’ll constantly need to turn your head and figure out where everything currently resides in the virtual space. On top of that, enemies will shoot at you, but thanks to the Vive’s room-scale location tracking, you can physically walk around the game world, and that opens up a wide range of motions: you can walk, strafe, duck, dodge, and more – all in the name of avoiding enemy fire.

You'll need to master your guns, your shield, and your movement quickly.

You’ll need to master your guns, your shield, and your movement quickly.

The end result is a fun and very immersive VR game. Trying to physically keep track of everything going on around you is a unique challenge, one looking around via a controller or mouse simply can’t replicate. To whatever extent it can, it really makes you feel like you’re there in that world, shooting at these one-eyed drones, and that’s no easy task. It can take a while to adjust to the actual mechanics of moving around and shooting things as some serious accuracy is required to hit your targets, much like in real life. We can’t speak to the game’s longevity in terms of how much content is available, but if you’ve already sunk money into a Vive and want to put it to some good use, this won’t set you back much more. Give it a look.

Space Pirate Trainer is currently available for the HTC Vive for $14.99.