Mobile VR Jam Galaxy Grapple – This is one of the more ambitious space shooters in the jam. It’s quite long as well, and took me about 30 minutes to play through the entire game. There are quite a few improvements that could be made but the core gameplay mechanics show quite a lot of promise. With an emphasis placed on story, and full voiceovers for dialog, the foundation is there for something special.
In Galaxy Grapple, you start out in a spaceship with a highly entertaining scene that leaves you stranded in space with the goal of completing a set amount of missions so you can fix the jump gate and continue on your journey. These missions ranged from simple fetch and retrieve types to incredibly difficult rail shooter mini games. You are armed with a grapple and move by grappling between space rocks and structures. The movement while grappling was slow which should presumably help with those who get motion sick easily.
Galaxy Grapple puts a high emphasis on story rather than just gameplay. All the dialog includes voiceover that is professionally done.
When grappling, I did have a hard time figuring out which objects were able to be reached and which weren’t. I found myself wishing there was some indicator to tell me if an object was close enough to grapple on to. One of the missions had me traveling to a gold mine and retrieving gold. It was at this point that the enemy encounters started occuring. The music would change and these tiny ships would circle around and shoot what appeared to be exploding mines at me. This was great fun but I would often lose track of where the ships were and there didn’t seem to be a clear audio queue as to which direction they were shooting from.
The gold mine itself holds some interesting RPG elements. I could invest resources that were scattered throughout space to upgrade the mine, and decrease the amount of time it took to mine each piece of gold. I could spend quite a bit of time fully upgrading the mine, but the mission only required 3 gold pieces, that were quite easy to obtain.
One of the missions from the second NPC placed me on the ship as a gunner in quite an enjoyable rail shooter mini-game. The goal was to destroy all the ships flying around with only 9 mines. I had to first use my weapon to shock the ships and then throw a mine to destroy them. This took quite a few attempts as the ships move very quickly and at least 3-4 must be killed with each mine to destroy all of them before out of ammo. It was a great challenge and I couldn’t believe it was just a single mission.
The final mission involves grappling between space rocks while collecting multiple ship parts. I thought the combat was fairly easy until I got to this point. There must have been 10 or more enemy ships all shooting mines at me. A lot of the ship parts must be collected by grappling between two rocks and collecting them mid grapple. It was mad fun trying to bring down these ships while grappling between rocks and avoiding the mines.
While I couldn’t get enough of grappling just for fun in this beautiful space environment, when close to mission portals I kept accidentally opening up the mission chat dialogue when I was trying to grapple onto an object. If I remember correctly, a long press brings up the mission dialog while a short press on the touchpad grapples towards a nearby object. It’s really easy to mistakenly hold down too long and keep opening up the mission dialog when you are trying to grapple instead.
Galaxy Grapple is one of the few Mobile VR Jam titles that feels like it could turn into quite a lengthy game on the Gear VR. With the limited team working on it, they have already shown they can deliver quite the feature packed experience that overall is very functional. With some additional funding, we could have a great space shooter on our hands with a complete story. You can find out more about Galaxy Grapple on their submission page.