'Space Pirate Trainer' To Receive Major Overhaul Next Week (Update)

Update, 9/14/16, 9am PT: And here's our writeup of the beta.

I-Illusion’s beloved VR gallery shooter, Space Pirate Trainer, is set to receive a major update in a few short days. On September 14, SPT will graduate from the alpha to the beta stage, which will feature a variety of updates and changes.

The first time we tried Space Pirate Trainer was at the Steam VR Developer Showcase that Valve hosted in Seattle this past January. I-Illusions was there showing an early build of the game to the press for the very first time. After the event, Dirk Van Weldon, the founder of I-Illusions, explained that he had started development for the game a couple of months before the event, and he submitted it to Valve for review mere weeks before the Steam VR Showcase was scheduled to take place. Van Weldon and his partner Chris Hanney had to scramble to prepare a presentable build of the game.

Since that time, Space Pirate Trainer has enjoyed great success. The early access alpha build of the game came out in time for the launch of the Vive, and Valve featured it prominently in the marketing campaign for Steam VR. Valve included SPT in its mixed reality “This is VR” promo video, and the game is part of HTC’s retail demo booth lineup promoting the Vive system. Space Pirate Trainer was also the star of HTC’s Vive booth at Gamescom in August.

I-Illusions hasn’t been quiet about its intention to expand on the base concept of Space Pirate Trainer. The alpha version of the game includes a handful of guns and a shield, but the company is building SPT into a “full-on arcade experience,” and the developer said that the beta update is “one step closer to that achievement.”

Van Weldon spent the summer working on Space Pirate Trainer’s gameplay, graphics, and arsenal, and he started teasing some those changes in recent weeks. The beta update will include a selection of new weapons, such as the Ion Grenade Launcher and a melee weapon called the Volton. The Volton is like an electrical whip that latches onto enemies with a feature called the Plasmalink. The beta update also introduces a bevy of power-ups, including machine gun, shield, missiles, gravity field, and homing bullets. The beta update for Space Pirate Trainer also introduces new classes of enemy droid, including Scout Droids and a stronger Heavy Droid class.

The Space Pirate Trainer beta update is coming to Steam on Wednesday, September 14. It will be an automatic update for anyone who already owns the game. If you don't have the game yet, but you do own a Vive, you can pick up a copy for $14.99.

 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.