PlayStation VR games fluctuate wildly when it comes to motion sickness. Some of the simplest ideas can be incredibly disorienting if everything isn’t calibrated perfectly. But what happens when you go to the extreme other end of the spectrum? Yupitergrad is a first-person momentum-based puzzle platformer that takes place on a Soviet space station. And it’s immaculate.
Donning high-tech accoutrements — a plunger attached to a rope on each hand — you find yourself having to navigate the large cavernous environments of an abandoned space station as you try to craft a brand new energy source to achieve Soviet dominance. Given that premise, you’d be right in expecting the game to have a snarky sense of humor, which it by and large does. Not all of the jokes land, as many of the deliberate set-up jokes definitely come off as trying too hard. However, many of the incidental and environmental jokes feel much more natural and lend a jokey feeling to the entire experience.
Ultimately, the real star is the gameplay. Your plungers only stick to certain surfaces, so you have to find the correct way to navigate the environments without killing yourself. This is something that becomes increasingly difficult as you go further into the bowels of the station. The increase isn’t gradual either. The difficulty curve is more of a sharp upwards incline here. You start with a tutorial before entering the space station, and next thing you know, you’re tasked with climbing vertically up a shaft of spinning blades that dice you to pieces if you so much as graze one of them.
Despite the learning curve, however, the gameplay is ridiculously fun, offering a stellar sense of speed and incredibly gratifying moments when you complete a segment perfectly. Moving at high speeds in VR sounds like a death sentence, but in Yupitergrad, it’s barely even a factor. There were a couple moments where we found ourselves disoriented from the scale of the environment, but there wasn’t a single second where the motion made us nauseous. Given how active the game requires you to be, this is no small feat. The game’s cel-shaded art style definitely plays a hand in this, as the cartoony nature of this look is better able to trick the brain into accepting the motion without issue.
While the campaign is reasonably fun — and houses a few really great set-pieces — the standout mode in the game is time attack, where you are tasked with completing a series of 20 obstacle courses as quickly as possible. Perfecting run after run in this mode is a standout of the game, and honestly, the price of entry is worth it for time attack on its own.