Published on February 22nd, 2021 | by Chris O'Connor
Yupitergrad Quest 2 Review
Summary: Mixing a heavy dose of Cold War and Dieselpunk aesthetics, Yupitergrad is the grapple motion game you didn't know you wanted to play.
I’d seen Yupitergrad swing past on PC VR and thought I’d give it a miss. Then it came by as an opportunity to review on Quest 2 and I thought “why not”. That was a good idea. It’s a game that seems simple, but quickly becomes quite challenging in a “I almost had it that time… just one more try” type sense.
The basic premise is you are a Russian Kosmonaut charged with essentially engineering work, ie your place of operations in space is about to have a really bad day unless you can fix things. To get about to keep the place running you need to use your grappling suction cups (and your maneuverability jets for some sections). Visually it uses cell shading cartoon style graphics which arguably work quite well with the “diesel punk”/retro future look.
The movement mechanics are easily one of the make or break elements of this game and fortunately they are a lot of fun to use. There have been quite a few grapple and swing mechanic type games now and it can end up being the little things that make all the difference in just how satisfying an experience they are to use. Yupitergrad starts by giving you what look like plungers/suction cups rather than hooks and opts for the ability to lengthen and shorten the tether, this gives you the ability to alter the range of your swing (as does having one grappling plunger per hand as you can position one as the suction/swing point and then use the other to pull you back and provide momentum for the swing.). Yupitergrad then adds a little thrust option that doesn’t do a lot for you in the air but does become quite important when submersed.
I appreciated the ability to “turn” your view at any point via the thumbsticks… whilst you can certainly just move your head or entire body to change your view… sometimes that’s not ideal when you are hanging from a given location, you just want to align your view a certain amount, a quick flick of that little joystick is all you need to have a more comfortable view. I should also note that this is indeed one of those games where you have to be careful of your balance. I remember in the early days of commercial VR taking off there were a few clips going round of people trying VR and ending up falling on their face, well in Yupitergrad you can actually do the full Spiderman, launch your suction cups then firmly pull your arms to your side to yank yourself towards the suction point. Sudden changes in locomotion such as this swing mechanic can take your mind-body connection a moment to adjust to (think of stepping onto an escalator)… so, just be careful.
Though the game starts simple enough and gives you a well paced introduction to the tools at your disposal, things do start to get more challenging reasonably quickly. The challenge is primarily navigating some of the hazardous environments that you need to traverse to perform your job. Coordinating your movements to get between two counter rotating destructive columns of death can take a bit of getting used to, especially when you have to do some of it through a liquid. But ultimately they are “try and try again” challenges, that is to say that it might take you a few attempts to get your timing/tool use right, but you should get there in the end.
It’s quite a bit of fun and certainly a nice game to play with the freedom of the Quest 2. It’s a decent price for what you get, it might not take you too long to get through (depending on your dexterity/coordination of tools etc) but the fun of swinging through the halls is fun whether you are looking to complete a task or not.