All posts by infinitywaltz

Top 5 Oculus Releases – August 11th-August 24th – Strategy and Speed in the Stars

Our latest top five new Oculus releases is heavy on interstellar action – whether that be the measured action of outer space naval battles or more frantic dodging and shooting inspired by classic arcade games.

Flotilla 2

from Blendo Games

Flotilla 2 game screenshot courtesy Steam
Flotilla 2 – screenshot courtesy Steam

Released eight years ago, this game’s predecessor was a wonderful blend of 3D space strategy stripped down into easily digestible chunks and set in a lighthearted universe with space pirate penguins that owed as much to Douglas Adams as it did to more “serious” science fiction.

Flotilla 2 builds on that with a similar premise – think the large-scale 3D battles of the Homeworld series boiled down into simple skirmishes that you can fight your way through during your lunch break – but exclusively in VR, which is perfect for turn-based spaceship combat.

Oculus Rift | 100 MB | $9.99 from Steam

Orch Star

from Orch Star Studios

Orch Star game screenshot courtesy Steam
Orch Star – screenshot courtesy Steam

Now out of Early Access, Orch Star offers more interstellar strategy, but this time RTS instead of turn-based. Playable both on standard PCs and in VR, it features both extended single-player campaign, level editor and multi-player matches.

The setting is also intriguing, and its blending of fantasy and space opera tropes reminds us a bit of Warhammer 40,000 without all the over-the-top edgy parts. It’s also got a ton of visual appeal; its fleets of ships reminds us of ‘70s and ‘80s-era sci-fi animation.

Oculus Rift | 2 GB | $14.99 from Steam

Space Maze

from Redox Entertainment

Space Maze game screenshot courtesy Steam
Space Maze – screenshot courtesy Steam

If strategy isn’t your thing, maybe you’ve just got the need for speed? Space Maze is classic arcade action, right down to the scorching neon colors and low-poly designs, but designed for VR.

With a third-person view of your ship and action that borrows elements of everything from Asteroids to Descent, this is a simple but compelling take on high-adrenaline shoot-’em-ups.

Oculus Rift | 450 MB | $7.99 from Oculus or from Steam

RotatorX

from DEFICIT Games

RotatorX game screenshot courtesy Oculus
RotatorX – screenshot courtesy Oculus

There’s high-speed spaceship fun for mobile VR players this week, too, in the form of RotatorX, a twitchy but meditative take on the endless racer genre. With its swirling colors, electronic soundtrack and tense, oppressive feel, this one has us thinking a bit of 2016’s stunning “rhythm violence” game, Thumper.

Oculus Go | 136 MB | $3.99 from Oculus

Titanic VR

from Immersive VR Education

Titanic VR game screenshot courtesy Steam
Titanic VR – screenshot courtesy Steam

Shifting gears from spaceships to…well…regular ships, Titanic VR is a historically accurate recreation of history’s most famous shipwreck through the perspective of one of the survivors.

Even more impressive to us, though, is the ability to commandeer a submersible drone to explore the wreckage in the present day. Then again, we’re suckers for diving simulators.

Oculus Rift | 10 GB | $19.99 from Oculus or from Steam

Top 5 Oculus Releases – July 29th-August 10th – Megastars and Mental Health

Another couple of weeks’ worth of top Oculus releases! This time around, we’ve got larger than life experiences about saving the world (or just saving a music festival’s vibe with some sick beats) sandwiched between more contemplative meditations on love and mental illness.

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice

from Ninja Theory

Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice game screenshot courtesy Steam
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice – screenshot courtesy Steam

A thoughtful and intense exploration of mental illness by way of a hack-and-slash adventure set in the Norse underworld, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice was one of our sister site’s Top Indie Games of 2017.

Both its brooding atmosphere and its use of multi-layered narration – representing the auditory hallucinations and self-doubt of a psychotic episode – coupled with an notably excellent motion and facial capture animation process, helped make this a moody work of genius.

Adding VR implementation is the perfect enhancement of its themes and one of the rare times that speaking of VR as a means of guiding players toward embodied understanding actually makes sense.

A warning, though: just with headphones on, this game was intense to the point of disturbing. The added experience of playing it in VR may be too much for some players.

Oculus Rift | 30 GB | $29.99 from Steam

Electronauts

from Survios

Electronauts game screenshot courtesy Steam
Electronauts – screenshot courtesy Steam

A hyper-designed DJ simulation for electronic dance enthusiasts, Electronauts thinks of everything.

More a musical tool than a game, this experience offers easy song transitions (no worries of beat-matching train wrecks here), remixing and VR-exlusive digital instruments to let aspiring stars create their own arrangements. If you’ve always thought that people like Tiesto and Steve Aoki had a much easier job than they let on, now’s your chance to prove it.

And while the graphics are decidedly vaporwave – not that we have a problem with neon, mind you – the included music is definitely modern, including the likes of The Chainsmokers and DJ Shadow. What Electronauts gets right is that that if favors energy and and flow over literalism. An excellent immersive offering.

Oculus Rift | 2 GB | $19.99 from Oculus or from Steam

Pixel Ripped 1989

from ARVORE Immersive Games, Inc.

Pixel Ripped 1989 game screenshot courtesy Steam
Pixel Ripped 1989 – screenshot courtesy Steam

If our previous game borrowed a bit from the ‘80s with its look, Pixel Ripped 1989 embraces that decade wholeheartedly. Rubik’s Cubes and Nintendo nostalgia abound in this paean to an earlier era of games.

Its central concept, however, is cutting edge: it’s AR completely within VR, putting players in the role of a little girl with a portable video game device (it’s not quite a Nintendo Gameboy). As the reality from the game she’s playing spills out into her own, she’ll team up with her own game’s protagonist to save both worlds.

It’s a unique and clever use of VR that manages to be self-referential and meta without bashing you over the head about how smart it thinks it is. The setting is just the cherry on top of the sundae, presuming Ready Player One and Stranger Things haven’t burnt you out on ‘80s references by now.

Oculus Rift | 3 GB | $24.99 from Oculus or from Steam

Megaton Rainfall

from Pentadimensional Games, SL

Megaton Rainfall game screenshot courtesy Steam
Megaton Rainfall – screenshot courtesy Steam

Starting with a gloriously over the top premise – you’re playing as a superhero who lobs bombs at giant Independence Day-inspired flying saucers – Megaton Rainfall excels at its sense of scale and detail.

Despite a comparatively short story-driven campaign, there’s as much fun to be had here simply flying off into the wild blue yonder and exploring the universe as there is in defending earthly cities from space invaders.

Oculus Rift | 1.6 MB | $14.99 from Oculus or $15.99 from Steam

Anamorphine

from Artifact 5

Anamorphine game screenshot courtesy Steam
Anamorphine – screenshot courtesy Steam

Bringing things in a more earthly direction, Anamorphine isn’t about saving the world, just about dealing with depression and guilt.

The approach to story that the Artifact 5 team has taken, however – wordless narrative comprised of dreamlike and surrealist images to represent the memories of the game’s protagonist – have garnered this release numerous awards, and it’s been a featured selection at IndieCade, E3 and PAX East.

Oculus Rift | 10.4 GB | $19.99 from Steam

Soviet Lunapark game featured image courtesy of Steam

Top 5 Oculus Releases – July 21st-28th – Wave Your Hands

VR is wonderful at expanding minds and creating experimental and avant-garde experiences that make us view the world in new ways.

It’s also good for simple fun, and is at happens, this week’s top Oculus Rift releases tend toward the latter rather than the former, taking fairly simple premises – the wave shooter, for example, or simply grabbing and throwing things – and doing interesting things with them.

Soviet Lunapark VR

from Mundfish

Soviet Lunapark game screenshot courtesy Steam
Soviet Lunapark – screenshot courtesy Steam

Yes, it’s a fairly standard wave shooter, but Soviet Lunapark stands out for its attention to detail and unique setting – an alternate history Soviet amusement park overrun by zombies and killer robots.

With cooperative multi-player, dual locomotion modes and four different character classes to try out, it’s also got a lot more interesting game elements than your typical wave shooter.

Oculus Rift | 10 GB | $18.99 from Steam

Marvel Powers United VR

from Sanzaru

Marvel Powers United VR game screenshot courtesy Oculus
Marvel Powers United VR – screenshot courtesy Oculus

The biggest hyped release of the week, Marvel Powers United VR is a wave-based combat game, but with its wide variety of character choices and emphasis on cooperative multi-player, it does an excellent job creating the feeling of the giant battles in movies like The Avengers.

Oculus Rift | 54 GB | $39.99 from Oculus

Baby Hands

from Chicken Waffle

Baby Hands game screenshot courtesy Steam
Baby Hands – screenshot courtesy Steam

One thing VR excels at is offering participants a different perspective, and SXSW Indie Game Award-winning Baby Hands, now out of Early Access, does just that, putting players into the body of a comically destructive toddler.

Oculus Rift | 5 GB | $19.99 from Oculus or from Steam

Throw Anything

from Visual Light

Throw Anything game screenshot courtesy Steam
Throw Anything – screenshot courtesy Steam

Another recent graduate from Early Access, Throw Anything is another simple wave-based game – with zombies, no less! – but its central conceit of throwing whatever you can get your hands on at the undead hordes makes it irresistibly charming. So do its flat-shaded approach to graphics.

Oculus Rift | 2 GB | $11.99 from Steam

Gray

from LightnGames

Gray game screenshot courtesy Steam
Gray – screenshot courtesy Steam

This free horror experience is short but makes up for its brief length with tons of atmosphere and horrors. Think Silent Hill, or better – scarier – yet, Clive Barker’s Nightbreed by way of the Saw films.

Oculus Rift | 2.3 GB | FREE from Oculus