GunJack - It's a tough life being a GunJack
| Gunjack

It's a tough life, being a GunJack. There you are, bolted to the outside of a spaceship, shooting space pirates all day long while a vaguely sarcastic commander talks about how much better than you he is.

"If you're so good," I think, shredding wave after wave of pirates, "why don't you come out here and man a turret yourself?"

Gunjack is an arcade shooter from CCP set in the EVE universe. It's been designed to work with the Samsung Gear VR. This means it's a relatively pared back experience in line with the capabilities of Samsung's mobile VR device.

Linear levels with a focus on score attack

This might sound restrictive, but it's not - what's here is incredibly detailed and looks beautiful. Each of the levels has a similar premise - hang on the outside of a spaceship, shoot pirates.

The levels are linear affairs focussed on amassing high-scores, with stars being awarded the more points you score.

More stars unlock more levels, so there's a good reason to go back in and have another blast.

Like a cross between Chewbacca and Professor X

It's simple to play, too. The Samsung Gear only has a single input device - the trackpad mounted on the side. You control your aim by looking at things you want to shoot, you shoot by tapping the touchpad, reload by swiping back, and trigger power ups with a swipe forwards.

The end result makes you feel like a cross between Chewbacca and Professor Xavier as you take out waves of enemies by tapping and swiping the touchpad right next to your temple.

I didn't realise I wanted to be Chewbacca Xavier before now, but the control scheme is innovative and I really enjoyed it.

The power-ups are pretty fun too. You've got standard missiles and mega bombs, but others like the stasis field are pretty smart - the screen-wide burst turning the patch of space in front of you into a treacly blob of slow motion.

Short, frantic, gameplay

I played through the game in one sitting, but as GunJack isn't particularly deep I suspect it'll fit better for briefer play sessions.

A mission generally runs from start to finish in 3-5 minutes, and while I'm not advocating you stick a VR headset on in public, with a spotter you totally could enjoy a few of the game's missions in the great outdoors.

Making sound effects with your mouth would be optional in this situation of course.

After playing through the entire game in one sitting it can feel a bit repetitive, but it's an arcade shooter so you can't really give it a hard time for having predictable patterns and enemy behaviours.

GunJack brings back the arcade shooter

It's hard to find many negatives about the game. It's probably the most conventional "game" to launch with the Samsung Gear - although I must confess I've not played all of them - and it's an interesting example of how VR can revitalise a genre.

Cockpit-based shooters have long been relegated to the arcades, a curio only made acceptable because you get to swing a gigantic prop around in front of you.

GunJack feels like an interesting and fun update to the genre that plays to the Gear's unique strengths.

It's not a killer app by any means - I wouldn't recommend picking up the Samsung's VR headset just to shoot some space pirates, but it's an excellent execution of a tired genre, better than anyone had any reason to expect.

If you have a Gear, you should definitely be picking this one up.

GunJack - It's a tough life being a GunJack

GunJack revitalises the arcade shooter and delivers a strong launch title to Samsung's VR headset
Jake Tucker
Jake Tucker
Jake's love of games was kindled by his PlayStation. Games like Metal Gear Solid and Streets of Rage ignited a passion that has lasted nearly 20 years. When he's not writing about games, he's fruitlessly trying to explain Dota 2 to anyone that will listen.