“This is one of the more ambitious space shooters in the jam….the foundation is there for something special[…]Galaxy Grapple is one of the few Mobile VR Jam titles that feels like it could turn into quite a lengthy game on the Gear VR…With some additional funding, we could have a great space shooter on our hands.” -VRPill, “Galaxy Grapple is Potentially Epic”
“Galaxy Grapple seems to have gone under the radar of a lot of people talking about some of the best games in the Jam. The VR immersion is really good as you go from pillar to post using your grapple as your life-line, which incidentally looks great swinging around in space.” -GearVRReviews, “My GearVRJam 2015 Winners”
A first-person RPG/shooter with citybuilding aspects and a light-hearted sci-fi feel. About 20-30 minutes of gameplay in this demo.
After an electrical storm strands the player in space, s/he must float from asteroid to asteroid collecting gems, mining resources, and dogfighting to repair a broken jumpgate and escape the sector.
The movement mechanic is to use a grappling hook to move and swing in zero gravity from asteroid to asteroid.
All player movement is driven by the hook/recoil/release mechanic. The other main loops are resource collection, mine building and upgrades, combat, combat upgrades, and NPC quest completion.
After a short intro scene (in which your ship explodes and strands you), the gameplay narrative moves forward with NPC quests, which compel you to collect crystals from space, build mines to collect gold from asteroids, and complete special missions like the turret mini-game. The game is also peppered with combat zones, which will allow you to collect more resources from loot drops, though they may also cause you to bleed resources if you get into too much trouble. An upgrade menu allows you to spend resources on stronger weapons and shields, which becomes necessary as the game moves forward.
• Several NPCs will give you quests to complete, driving the gameplay and narrative. The super-objective is to collect enough energy cells to repair the jumpgate home, which can only be obtained from NPC missions.
• Mines can be built on special asteroids. They have a max capacity, which forces the player to return and collect the produced resources before it continues production. Capacity and production rate can be upgraded.
• Enemy ships fly around and shoot mines at you, which push you off course and damage your shield. If you take damage when your shield’s down, you lose resources (though they can be picked up within a few seconds). Weapons have a limited charge. The player can upgrade shield capacity, shield recharge, and shield recharge delay, as well as weapon strength, weapon power drain, weapon recharge rate, and max weapon power capacity.
• One special mission uses two weapons: one to freeze enemies and one to shoot a mine. You only have one mine for every 2-3 enemies, so you need to freeze them in clusters before shooting the mine to complete the mission.
The main innovations are the zero-gravity grapple hook locomotion and the fact that many conventions from other genres (campaign FPS, city building, adventure) have been well-adapted for an accessible VR experience.
• Player rotation is frozen, and changes in direction are gradual to prevent motion sickness.
• As menus aren’t locked to camera rotation, an indicator points to where the user should look when a menu’s active.
• Looking at interactable objects activates an info reticle that provides guidance on where to go and why (new mission available, stats on mines). Objects that are grappleable also display a unique cursor that changes color based on the grapple hook state (since the same button handles hook, recoil, and grapple).
• NPC Menus exist on 3 planes with small Z-depth differences, adding a 3D feel to 2D menus.
• Most menus are contextual based on position, allowing a touchpad hold to activate an NPC menu in one case, or a mine menu in another.
• Combat is automatically activated to avoid additional input schemes. Look-tapping to shoot is conventional, but requiring tap-grappling to move at the same time adds a challenge, especially when on a “collect items” mission that gets foiled by enemies pushing you off course.
• One mission uses a combo of two tap-shoot weapons to freeze enemies and then deploy an area-of-effect projectile. The limited projectile ammo requires the player to cluster the enemies together before destroying.
Music attribution credits:
Kevin MacLeod – “Impact Prelude”, “Impact Lento”
Chris Zabriskie – “Cylinder Nine”