Developer: Orange Bridge Studios
Publisher: Orange Bridge Studios
Release Date: 19/09/2017
Format(s): Playstation VR
There’s no denying that space battling is perfect for VR. I mean, you get to take in all the depths of space (which is a dream for just about anyone) and also shoot down spaceships at the same time – what’s not to love? Well we’re about to get another fix of it with the release of End Space, which after starting life exclusively as a Samsung Gear title is finally available on Playstation VR.
So the story of End Space isn’t really an overly complicated one, with the United Trade Consortium (yay!) facing off against the Tartarus Liberation Front (boo!) in countless battles in space. It gives you a bit of context as to what’s going on, but in all it’s just a justification for you to head out and shoot some baddies down – not that you needed an excuse, of course.
With no multiplayer content available, most of your time in End Space will be spent focusing on each of the campaign’s mission. This means heading out to different areas of space, investigating your objectives, and then typically facing off against a ton of enemies until they’re all wiped out. Admittedly, there isn’t a whole lot of variety to the experience outside of this, but thankfully shooting down ships is a lot of fun so you won’t find yourself feeling bored. There’s a decent selection of missions on offer too, so you’ll get a few hours out of the game – it’s even worth replaying some of them in order to earn credits and purchase better upgrades for your ship.
You’ll use the Dual Shock controller to take control of your ship, with End Space keeping everything pretty simple in its approach to manoeuvrability; it’s pretty much the same controls you’d have used in any other ship-based shooter that has released before it. Basically, the left stick controls the direction that you face and the right stick will allow you to rotate the ship – simple. Your ship with naturally accelerate in whatever direction you’re facing, but there is a boost function that’ll allow you to zip ahead with a bit more speed. I actually found myself using this quite a lot, with the standard pace of the ship alone not feeling fast enough.
Combat scenarios require a bit of head movement from the player though, with the targeting system utilised by focusing on what the player is looking at. This actually makes it a hell of a lot easier for the player, especially since you’ve often got to make quick movements to keep up with enemies or avoid the countless hazards that are littered across each environment. It’s a control system that has worked well in other VR shooters, and thankfully it’s the same with End Space.
There’s a varied selection of different weapons available throughout the game, though in honesty a lot of them feel the same in design outside of a few stat differences here and there. These stat differences are certainly noticeable when in the heat of battle, though they don’t necessarily make the weapons feel all that different from a gameplay perspective. Primarily, you’ll just be using your standard laser blasters and the homing missiles that’ll lock onto and take out your enemies when you have them in your sight… you know, the traditional arsenal of a spaceship. They both feel satisfying to use though and are certainly effective in wiping out your enemies.
Each weapon is limited in ammunition, though thankfully all they take is a bit of time to recharge before you can use them again. This does mean you can’t go into battles with a trigger-happy attitude though – there were a few occasions where I was frustratingly left to wait to attack again after exhausting my resources quickly whilst blasting away at multiple enemies. It’s no fault of the game though, but rather my own for insisting on holding down the attack buttons constantly.
The combination of decent weaponry and tight controls makes End Space a joy to play through, though unfortunately it’s a little bit too easy. Enemies aren’t particularly smart and a lot of the time will do very little in the form of defensive manoeuvres; typically, they’re just all out aggressors and essentially make themselves easy targets for you. Whilst this does make the game a bit more action-focused, the lack of a challenge was a little disappointing. As mentioned, pulverising your enemies into space dust is satisfying, but it does take away from the epic feel of battles, which is a shame given that the sheer volume of enemies certainly has the potential to make for some dramatic showdowns.
Visually, the game looks great, despite the fact it was originally a mobile VR game. Don’t get me wrong, there’s the occasional texture here and there that looks a bit drab, but in all it typically manages to look pretty impressive. It helps that there are some stellar sights to see across each mission though; having a game take place in space always makes it easier for the developers to show off some spectacular sights, and that’s certainly the case in End Space with a plethora of different planets visible in the background during each encounter. There’s some neat visual effects on show too, with the lighting effects from inside your ship in particular standing out.
If you’re looking for a slick fix of entertaining VR space showdowns, you might want to give End Space a try. Its mixture of tight controls, enjoyable combat, and marvellous sights always ensure that each encounter you have with enemies is an impressive affair – even if they are a little bit too easy at times.
It offers something a little different to the alternatives that are available on Playstation VR right now, with the focus on a single player campaign as opposed to multiplayer combat giving players something a little different to the likes of EVE: Valkyrie. Admittedly, these missions could be a little lacking in variety, but it doesn’t really matter when destroying enemies is so much fun. In all, End Space is just an enjoyable space shooter that’s worth checking out.