Viveport Review: Starway Fleet
Surprisingly, this dogfighting VR game holds its own against heavy hitters like EVE: Valkyrie.
By Desmond Madison, Greenlit Content
The independent band of veteran developers at StormCube Games have cooked up a treat for die-hard fans of the deep space action dogfighting genre in the detailed and high energy Starway Fleet.
You'll step into the cockpit and take part in various missions that will have you escorting convoys, defending allies, or just blasting enemies to smithereens. It’s difficult to imagine a tiny developer going toe to toe in the genre with the likes of EVE: Valkyrie already showing so much shine and polish in the VR space shooter market, but the team at StormCube really brought their A-game with a surprisingly deep experience that’s worth a look for fans of space explosions and dogfights.
It’s important to remember that Starway Fleet doesn’t support the Vive controllers, and you'll have to be seated using a standard gamepad controller to take the helm of the cockpit. You can take part in offline missions against the whip-smart artificial intelligence, or log online with your space pirate buddies for three player co-op mode. Multiple single player modes exist as well, allowing you to choose from quick missions, survival mode, and custom battles that allow you to set the parameters for training up your skills as an interstellar dogfighting machine. The quick missions themselves can also be played in single player or co-op, and really adds to the value of the experience with more opportunities to play through with friends.
Combat may not be as fast as some players are used to, but it still has a fun pace that keeps you exploding ships left and right as you barrel around each enemy freighter, raining fire across all of the weak points to take them down. You’ll have three different settings on your lasers at your arsenal, along with multiple missiles, a chain gun and heat-seeking torpedoes used to take town the opposing fleets. If you’ve got a laser-focused eye and think you’re a good shot, you stand a better chance at survival with only two layers of shields at your own protection. Most of the other fighters can be a breeze to take down with a steady aim, but capital ships will take some more planning and strategy as you swoop around their blue barrels without missing a beat.
From start to finish, players can expect to tackle the breadth of what Starway Fleet has to offer in roughly three hours for the single player experience. While it isn’t the most groundbreaking game in the genre, fans of space simulations of old like Wing Commander or X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter will find a lot to love about what StormCube Games have cooked up for their first effort in virtual reality. It’s definitely not a game for beginners in the VR medium, nor is it a good introduction to the space simulation genre itself, but it holds its own for hardcore fans dying to get their fix of high-octane action on the platform.
Starway Fleet is available in Viveport Subscription.