Skyfront VR is an arena shooter developed by Levity Play. Described as a “zero-gravity” shooter by the developers, players have complete freedom of movement across the sky and around obstacles. Since it’s a VR title, you also have complete freedom of view separate from the way you’re moving. The game requires the use of the Oculus Touch or HTC Vive wands for control. Full, independent hand motion and position tracking are required, so there is no option to use a traditional controller. Movement is controlled by the direction of your hands. Both of your hands can hold any combination of a gun, a grenade launcher, a shield, or a grappling hook that can be used to quickly pull yourself towards a surface.
As a left-handed person, I must give major credit to Levity Play for the customization. By default, your right hand is assigned a gun and your left hand the grappling hook. This can be awkward to rely on your non-dominant hand for combat, and many games will not allow you to swap your dominant hand. Allowing these swaps make it easier for left-handed people to play, and it allows for the player to switch hands based on the in-game situation. Levity Play promises that in the final release, there will be more weapons and tools that can be used. Unlike Team Fortress 2 or Overwatch–style class-based shooters, there are no heroes to choose from here. Every character has access to the same weapons and moves the same way. This makes the gameplay like the simple deathmatch it is, without the tactical planning and cooperation needed in class-based shooters.
You can look and move in any direction, and so can your opponents.
The Early Access version is restricted to two maps, one of which looks somewhat like a Roman city in the sky. In many ways, it feels like playing what early trailers of Bioshock Infinite showed, with combat similar to the ideal implementation of that game’s hook and rail system. Relatively free movement on these rails was prominently featured, but there was a small amount of combat using it in the final game. With the grappling hook system implemented here, you have full freedom of movement and the ability to quickly dash along, which feels like a fulfillment of what Bioshock Infinite should have been.
Levity Play claims on the game’s Steam page that the game’s final release will have “5-6 maps in different geographical settings”. As the game is now, there’s not a lot of variety in the two maps. They’re both fairly small and simplistic for the speed that you move. The weapons are also very simple, and there was a small player base during my time with the game. In many cases, it would have to put me in a match with bots.
In the current version, the only options available for gameplay are a deathmatch and team deathmatch mode. The final version is promised to have more modes, including “Single Deathmatch, 3v3 Elimination and Capture The Flag”. Being a game with complete freedom of motion in all directions, many new players will have to take some time to get used to attacks coming from all directions. It’s very easy to get picked off by another player coming in directly from above or below if you’re trying to keep the horizon level in your point of view.
You can change up your weapons to be used in either hand, such as the shield and heavy gun seen here.
While the game does play very well overall, there were still random and occasional moments where the headset would lose its tracking position and error for a second. The headset used was an Oculus Rift CV1 with two wall mounted cameras on a computer running an AMD Ryzen 1800X processor and AMD Radeon RX480 8GB graphics card. The game uses SteamVR for its tracking and interface, and the videos on Levity Play’s YouTube channel show use of the HTC Vive exclusively.
Because of this, the issues I faced may not occur for HTC Vive owners. Furthermore, the tracking issues seemed limited to the headset, and this issue did not occur with the Oculus Touch controllers. Since this is a fast-moving game that requires players to quickly move their head and body in sync at a moment’s notice, those who are sensitive to small movements in VR or motion sickness should play with caution. A fairly large play area should also be used, and if possible with an extension cable. During gameplay, I did have moments where I got the cord tangled around my arm.
Overall, Skyfront VR is very promising and a great addition to the VR landscape. The primary issues holding it back are the lack of more maps, weapons, and a small current player base. Players that enjoy competitive features such as rankings, or those that enjoy backstory will find those aspects unfulfilling. Still, with the foundation that they have built, Levity Play should be able to improve the game significantly with the addition of new game assets.