'From Other Suns' Takes Oculus Rift Owners To Space (Hands On)

Gunfire Games created a co-operative VR Rogue-lite game called From Other Suns, which combines elements of the spaceship management system of FTL with the first-person shooter elements of a title like Borderlands to create a unique VR experience worthy of sinking some time into. We had a chance to try From Other Suns last week, and from our short time with the game, we can already see this one being a big hit.

In From Other Suns, you take on the role of a crew member on a deep space Alliance spacecraft, which is on a mission to intercept an alien ship before it reaches Earth. You and your crewmates must maintain the ship and protect it from enemy threats as you jump from star system to star system. At each hop, you run the risk of encountering an enemy ship, which could mark the end of your Alliance craft, or could be the catalyst for a nice upgrade to your vessel and armory. The game features a procedurally generated star system, which enables unlimited replay potential. Every time you set off on your mission to Earth, you’ll find a new set of stars to explore. 

Meant For Co-Op Gameplay

From Other Suns offers a single-player campaign, but the developer intended for you to play with others. Each member of a ship’s crew plays a critical role, and it's best to work together as a team so no one gets overwhelmed and nothing gets overlooked. Your team needs someone to man the bridge to handle navigation, communication, the weapons systems, the defense system, and to monitor the ship’s vitals. One person can do all these tasks, but its much easier if you have one or two people to help you juggle them all. 

The Bridge’s central kiosk offers a star map of the known galaxy. From here you can select your next destination and engage the FTL (faster than light) drive to jump from star to star. The central kiosk is also the communication hub. When you engage another craft or send a transmission to a space station, a hologram of the entity at the end appears before you. The primary kiosk can also manipulate weapons systems, but there are satellite kiosks in the room that allow other crew members to help engage enemies and defend your ship.

The Bridge also offers a control panel with a visual overview of the ship's integrity. When a hull breach occurs, or when part of the ship breaks down, you’ll see indicators on this map that let you know where the problem is. If you have NPC crew members, you can direct them to the problem from the control panel. You and your crew must maintain the weapons systems and the space ship’s energy core and engine system. There’s also a teleportation platform that you must keep functional so that you can board another spacecraft. 

Locomotion Mechanics

From Other Suns offers multiple locomotion options so you can choose a setup that’s comfortable for you. You can select smooth locomotion, which allows you to move around without teleporting or snapping to your destination. The game also offers a form of teleportation locomotion that you can use if smooth locomotion makes you dizzy. Instead of a traditional teleport system that jumps you from one location to the next, From Other Suns’ teleport system shows you an avatar of yourself to give you a preview of where you’ll end up when you move. To initiate the teleport, push the thumbstick in any direction and let go when you’re happy with where you’ll end up.

Weapons Repository

Before you set out on your mission, you’re going to need some firepower to protect yourself. Your ship has a weapons repository stocked with a handful of handguns. As you progress through the universe, you’ll find derelict space stations to scavenge, and enemy space ships seize, where you’ll find more powerful firepower to fend off stronger foes. The ship’s weapon cache offers multiple slots for you to store a variety of guns.

The storage facility isn’t just for instruments of destruction. You’ll also find Repair Guns stashed in the weapons cache, which are required for routine repairs on your ship. The Repair Gun is a universal repair device, which can help you restore the ship's energy core, oxygen system, teleportation platform, and hull breaches.

Each person can hold a handful of weapons on their person. You can equip yourself with multiple guns, but we don’t recommend filling your entire inventory with weapons. You should always have a repair gun on your person because you never know when you’re going to need it. Running back to the storage room is the last thing you want to do when you find a hole in the hull. It’s also a good idea to leave one slot open so you can pick up new weapons when you find them. 

Death Should Be Expected

When you engage an enemy ship, you run the risk of being obliterated. Some alien ships are easy to destroy, and some will annihilate you without breaking a sweat. When you defeat an enemy ship, you can collect the salvage from the wreckage to upgrade your weapons and defenses, which you will need if you hope to stop the alien threat before it reaches your home planet.

You’re also going to want to find better weapons for you and your fellow crewmates. You can use the teleportation system to board abandoned space stations to scavenge for gear. It’s also possible to lock onto craft that you’re engaging so you can send your crew to infiltrate the enemy ship and steal its resources, but beware; when you teleport platform is active, the enemy can board your ship too. Boarding an enemy vessel is risky business, but you won’t find better weapons if you don’t fight for them. 

Gunfire Games expects that you will die. In fact, it’s somewhat inevitable that you won’t survive the first few runs. Your chances of survival go up after you begin to unlock the game’s achievements. When your ship dies, you lose all the gear that you found during your space explorations. As they say, you can’t take your toys with you when you die. However, the gear you unlock with achievements stays with you when you restart the game.

Meet The Alliance Space Craft

From Other Suns features a handful of space craft that you can eventually unlock including the Skimmer, which is a compact and durable ship with decent-sized cargo hold. The Skimmer craft doesn’t offer much room for crew members, but you can add oxygen capacity upgrades to increase the number of people you can carry onboard.

The Alliance Corvette offers a tougher hull and a stronger weapons system than the Skimmer-class ships. Corvette-class vessels can carry a larger complement of crew members as the Skimmer, but they have smaller cargo holds so they can’t carry as much salvage.

The Alliance Frigate is the largest, must powerful vessel in the Alliance fleet. The Frigate supports a large crew and its great capable of traveling vast distances between hops. The Alliance Frigate is the mobile headquarters and weapon’s station of the organization.

We haven’t yet unlocked any additional crafts, so we’re not sure how the ship selection system works. Our best guess is that you unlock new space ships through achievements.

Beware Of Pirates

Your primary enemy is an alien race that seeks to destroy the Earth, but you’ll also encounter two factions of pirates during your travels. Eva “Blackheart” is the leader or the Void Hunters, which is the dominant pirate faction in the galaxy. Void Hunters are well funded and have an endless supply or shock weapons and personal shielding devices. We would suggest that you avoid engaging the Void Hunters in one-on-one combat until you have upgraded weapons. 

Rexx “The Red” is the merciless, paranoid commander or the Crimson Marauders. He and his followers are known for their sadistic nature and relentless pursuit of salvage to upgrade their gear and ships. 

Both pirate factions have three classes of ship, including the Pirate Skimmer, which are typically pieced together from salvaged parts. Pirates favor reliable reactor cores and FTL Jammers over efficiency, so these crafts aren’t the toughest around. Pirates also have access to Corvette-class vessels, which are tougher than Pirate Skimmers.

Rexx “The Red” and Eva “Blackheart” operate unique flagship vessels. Rexx “The Red” controls the Crimson Halo, which features reinforced armor that can take a beating and as much firepower as the Alliance Frigate. Eva “Blackheart” commands The Midnight Sun, which features a nearly impenetrable hull and twin piercing lasers which decimate most of the craft it comes into contact with.

The Battles Get Tougher As You Close In On Earth

When you set off on your mission back to Earth, your ship is many lightyears away from your home planet. You can’t make the trip in one hop, so you must pick a route that hops from star system to star system.

The route you take is entirely up to you, but you should employ some strategy when making you selection. As you get closer to the Earth, you’ll encounter stronger and stronger foes. You want to be sure that you have ample supplies, weapons, and reinforcements before you take on powerful enemy ships. For this reason, it’s a good idea to zig zag across the galaxy, so you have more chances to salvage useful components. If you take a straight shot to Earth, you may not find the equipment you would need to defend yourself against Rexx “The Red” or Eva “Blackheart.”

Endless Replays

The universe in From Other Sunsis procedurally generated each time you play, which gives the game potentially unlimited replay value. Every time you play From Other Suns, you should have a fundamentally different experience. You’ll never encounter the same enemies in the same star system, so you’ll always have the sense of exploration when you play. And because you can’t bring your gear from a past mission over to a new mission, you must learn to be efficient with the basic weaponry so that you can take better weapons from your fallen foes.

We haven’t spent a lot of time with From Other Suns, but we know we’ll dive back into this game on many occasions. It’s a great game to play with friends.

From Other Suns is an exclusive title for Oculus Rift with Touch controllers. You can pick up a copy from the Oculus Store for $40.

 Kevin Carbotte is a contributing writer for Tom's Hardware who primarily covers VR and AR hardware. He has been writing for us for more than four years.