We’ve been lucky enough to get our hands on a copy of Mega Spacehole, a new arcade shooter coming to the Gear VR this month. Developed by Furious Union, Mega Spacehole will test your reflexes while you scramble to “Defend your face” in a geometric environment. It’s reminiscent of classic games we’ve enjoyed for decades, but with an immersive perspective that takes advantage of what can only be done with virtual reality. The “look to aim” model works well for destroying the waves of approaching enemies, and the gameplay is intense, as is the fierce audio. As you progress, the difficulty increases and you’ll gain access to new power-ups. Some levels will take multiple tries, which is even more satisfying when you complete them.
It’s not all serious, though. As you play through the 30 levels – win or lose – you’ll be subjected to sarcastic praise or disappointment. Laughing at the one-liners will make you feel less upset when you get destroyed by your enemies on a bad round.
The team at Furious Union was gracious enough to answer a few questions for me regarding their team, and the upcoming Mega Spacehole:
1) Can you tell us briefly who Furious Union consists of?
Furious Union is Rob Shepps and Dakota Ling. Rob’s background and focus is primarily creative and Dakota’s is development, but on a team our size we end up wearing as many hats as we can fit.
2) Was the concept for Mega Spacehole inspired by any previous games, experiences, etc.?
We wanted to make Mega Spacehole specifically for VR, so a lot of what we learned from experiences on Oculus Share helped us figure out what was really compelling. We wanted a casual and fun arcade-like experience so we kind of looked to really old stuff like Asteroids and Gallaga and thought about what those would feel like through the lens of VR. And of course, new takes on those old arcade games were definitely inspirations, stuff like Geometry Wars.
Dakota: I personally played Beat Hazard a ton when it came out, and really loved the overwhelming visuals. One of the first iterations of the game had a music and beat-matching component to it, so there’s probably a bit of Rez in there, at least stylistically. For a lot of people, Rez is one of those games that you see for the first time, and just think, yeah, that’s cool. That look and feel has always stuck with me.
Rob: I have always had a soft spot for low poly and geometric design. I spent hours playing Tron and Battlezone as a kid. I remember geeking out on how the shrapnel came right at your face. I loved that. So our influences really aligned perfectly on the making of Mega Spacehole.
3) How long have you been working on Mega Spacehole?
June (2015) is when we nailed down a solid direction for the game. After we demoed an early version of Spacehole at OC2 we got some good feedback from the Oculus team and they really encouraged us to target the GearVR which we hadn’t had a chance to try before then. The platform really impressed us, and we agreed that our mostly hands-free experience and the causal nature of the game were a perfect match for the GearVR.
4) There are clever one liners in the game that had me chuckling, is there a secret comedian on staff?
The writing was always sort of a way to lighten the mood, and both of us contributed to that throughout the project. Once we decided on Mega Spacehole for the name, that pretty much set the tone for the rest of the experience. It had to be fun and funny. It was always fun to make a new build at 2 a.m. and see some snarky taunt that the other guy snuck in. It helped break the tedium of debugging. It’s also awesome to see people react to them – it became sort of a goal for us to make play testers laugh when we were doing live demos.
Dakota: That sort of backfired on me over the holidays, while I was showing the game to my family. My 70 year old grandmother decided to give it a try, and was reading everything out loud. So I got to hear her say “The amount of suck I just witnessed shall echo throughout eternity” several times in a row.
Rob: My nieces got a chance to play it over the holidays too, they loved it but they are early readers so there were some tense moments when they were sounding out the words to the message. “Don’t get cocky”.
5) Does Furious Union have any plans for any future titles?
There’s certainly no shortage of stuff we want to make, I think “Angry Telepath Simulator” is something we joke about regularly. There are a lot of fun ways to get an emotional response from people in VR, and that’s something we will continue to explore. In the short term, though, we’re going to focus on getting Mega Spacehole out into the world on GearVR and possibly some other platforms.
A big thanks goes to Rob Shepps and Dakota Ling of Furious Union for taking time to discuss Mega Spacehole with us!
Mega Spacehole by Furious Union will be available on the Oculus store for Gear VR later this month.