The Oculus Quest is a really impressive device for what it is. I certainly never thought I’d find myself as a cosmonaut swinging through an old Russian space station with plungers but here we are. This is exactly what Yupitergrad is. Though I can’t say I ever asked for this, it certainly is a warm surprise. Despite having some issues, comrade, this is a trip worth taking.
Finding yourself on a Russian space station, you have to travel through, solve puzzles, and fix the issues up there. As you look down, one thing becomes obvious, your hands have been replaced with two plungers. You shoot forward and make your way to the nearest computer. The Yupitergrad crew have been relieved of duty for a holiday and you must fix the issues around the station, one great Spider-Man swing at a time.
It helps that those swings feel great. As any good puzzle-platformer should, there’s this great innate feeling of what can be interacted with it. It does this with specific color-coding. Blue can be swung from and some parts can be interacted with but gray cannot. This means that you can read a room and the plan of action almost immediately, even if you aren’t quite skilled enough to do it. It rarely feels hard mentally but you will definitely feel it in your arms.
There are two central functions to your plungers that get a little more expansive as you get on. Initially, you suck to something and pull yourself towards it, pretty simple. That’s until this mechanic starts to unfold a little bit. You can pull yourself towards the wall or pull the wall towards you. You can also choose to swing in an arc or yank the rope sending you hurtling towards your destination. This gives you the traversal options that you need to make your way through the constant traps littered throughout the base. The plungers also have a small propulsion system that lets you swim in water or glide a little in the air before plummeting.
As you can probably gather from everything so far, Yupitergrad is a game with a real sense of humor. You could be winding up to an experiment only for it to fail spectacularly or you could be making your way through the halls with references to Russian history in your ear. It has this cheeky sense of humor employing five-year plan jokes and calling you comrade as you fall to your death. Every computer and leader in your ear has a thick cartoony accent that helps to solidify the aesthetic that Yupitergrad is going for.
It combines some pretty good cell-shaded visuals with a dieselpunk style to really emulate that retro-futuristic vision that cold war era media had. It grabs incredible inventions and complicated sci-fi concepts and wraps it up in this very mechanical feel. The entire station of Yupitergrad has a facade to it that is fascinating to see. It is big and burly with odd color schemes and thousands of working parts but underneath it holds the burning machine at its core. This is slowly falling to disrepair and you are told to risk your life to try and staple it back together. You do so by flying through puzzles, unblocking doorways, and operating the PEKOL synthesis chamber.
In a sense, it works as a quite good satire of the cold war itself. It’s about machismo - putting up a facade of something great whilst rushing around to clear up the issues at its core, too proud to start from the beginning. Yupitergrad itself is not without those issues. Swinging is instantly fun and rewarding but some of the later sections have rather finicky controls and don’t quite give you enough to keep you entertained. You might need to attach yourself to a small gap or swing at the right time but it was a little too fond of missing your hand in a wall or not quite grappling to the right spot. This is something that could be easily overlooked if it threw new mechanics at you regularly but it doesn’t quite do that. When central mechanics stay the same, they have to be very tight to offer a real skill ceiling and a reason to come back
Luckily the time attack mode is such a reason. As the name suggests, this allows you to swing around areas as fast as you can to show off to your friends. It’s a small addition but really means a lot on a platform built for arcadey experiences. The Oculus Quest is truly quite impressive and games like Yupitergrad express that well. It’s not a perfect game but it is a great one to show your friends. You may not be entirely satisfied alone but as a part of a collection of games, this is a lovely one to mess around in
TechRaptor reviewed Yupitergrad on Oculus Quest using a copy provided by the publisher. The game is also available on PC and PlayStation VR.
- Great Feeling Movement
- Nice Artstyle
- Charming Humor
- Some Late Game Burnout
- Iffy Controls for the Harder Puzzles