One of my favorite things about Yupitergrad is that it singlehandedly invented the puzzle/swinger genre. Which, if my math is correct, makes it the best puzzle/swinger game in history. Pretty impressive, actually.
In Yupitergrad, you play as a Russian cosmonaut sent on a mission to a Russian space station orbiting Jupiter. After an extensive tutorial that teaches you how to use the plungers where your hands used to be to traverse near-zero gravity, they launch you and your rocket into space. The space station is massive, desolate, and strangely littered with death traps. It’s no wonder we beat Russia to the moon. USA! USA! Sorry, we haven’t had a win in a while… that just slipped out.
There isn’t much more to the story than that, honestly. The two-ish-hour campaign is filled with over-the-top Russian accents and a bunch of funny (or near funny) one-liners. It took me a bit longer than 2 hours because the plunger swinging locomotion, while fun as hell at first, is difficult to master. Especially towards the end when the aforementioned boobytraps make things tricky. In addition to the retractable plungers, you also have a pair of air jets mounted on each wrist. Honestly, it’s more like a couple of cans of compressed air, but when you’re underwater or need that last little boost, they come in handy.
This swinging mechanic is instantly recognizable and intuitive. It’s difficult to master and oh so rewarding when you do, but it’s also fun even when you’re only decent at it. This is good because Yupitergrad isn’t much beyond the novelty of swinging around weightlessly. And when that wears off, even the new time trial mode won’t bring you back.
Developer Gamedust went with a cell-shaded art design and it works well. Everything begins to look the same eventually, but that is partly by design, as your plunger-hands only stick to blue surfaces. When you’re flying through the space station, you need to be able to instantly recognize where you can and can’t attach your plungers.
Once the story is over, you probably won’t find much reason to replay it. I didn’t, but that’s where the time trials come in. It’s here where they ditch the drab sound design that I assume is meant to underscore how alone you are at the space station, to some generic but thumping techno that ratchets up as you fly through the map. It’s exhilarating when you nail “a run” and frustrating as hell when you just miss because you pressed the wrong button to turn (never change, Move controllers) or misfired one of your plungers. Speaking of the Move controllers, they performed admirably here and it even works sitting down if you need to.
Once the leaderboards go live for the rest of the world, fans of the swinging locomotion of Yupitergrad will have all the reason they will ever need to jump back in. For me, I’m just glad I can finally swing without all of the awkward emotions. If we want, the wife and I can swing all night with zero uncomfortable moments in the morning! Yay!
And that is the first Yupitergrad review not to mention Spider-Man… until now. But it is very much like Spider-Man, so I suppose it’s worth mentioning.
Yupitergrad PSVR Review
Overall - Good - 6.5/10
Swinging through this Russian space station with retractable plungers is exhilarating in VR. The interesting two or three-hour campaign is short, but the time trials will give players who love the locomotion all the reason they will ever need to keep swinging. For others, the whole concept will begin to feel a little redundant after the novelty wears off.
- The swinging locomotion works flawlessly even with Moves
- While short, the story is charming and funny
- The cell-shaded graphics look great
- The new time trial mode is a great reason to keep playing
- The space station feels very “samey” throughout
- Move controllers mean you’ll need to push a button to turn
- When the novelty of the swinging locomotion wears off, there isn’t much of a reason to keep playing
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Reviewed using PSVR on a PS4