All posts by infinitywaltz

Top 5 Oculus Releases – March 17th-30th – Ready, Players One and All

This week was a little bit of a slow one for new Oculus releases, but large in other ways. Due to this weekend’s surprisingly entertaining new Spielberg film – based on a novel with…fairly mixed reviews – it doesn’t take the cutting edge technology prophets here at Oculus Game Reviewer to predict a spike in the general public’s interest in VR.

Keeping that in mind, we offer you a double-sized, two-week list of top new Oculus releases (ubiquitous ‘80s references not necessarily included):

Catan VR

from Experiment 7

Settlers of Catan - screenshot courtesy Oculus
Settlers of Catan – screenshot courtesy Oculus

A virtual version of a board game might not seem like the most exciting offering compared to a flying Delorean with spray-painted Ghostbuster logos, but this is a great entry point for new players. A calm and well-designed environment prevents shock and motion sickness, guaranteeing VR newcomers without hardcore game experience don’t just bounce right off the medium, never to return.

Plus, it’s Settlers of Catan, one of the most acclaimed board games of all time. And with input on AI opponents from original board game designer Klaus Teuber, cross-platform play for both Rift and Gear VR users, and a fully animated island playing board complete with weather effects, Catan VR is a definite must-have (and not just for VR newcomers, either).

Oculus Rift | 393 MB | $14.99 from Oculus
Gear VR | 254 MB | $9.99 from Oculus

Apex Construct

from Fast Travel Games

Apex Construct - screenshot courtesy Steam
Apex Construct – screenshot courtesy Steam

Aesthetically the most similar offering to Ready Player One, thanks to a futuristic setting and a plot featuring warring AIs, Apex Construct is a story-driven shooter that somehow combines cyberpunk and post-apocalyptic sci-fi with archery-driven combat.

Originally released for Sony PSVR and now available for the Rift, this release from Fast Travel Games offers a solid simulation of archery, plenty of action, and a visually stunning setting.

Oculus Rift | 5 GB | $29.99 from Steam

L.A. Noire: The VR Case Files

from Rockstar Games

L.A. Noire: The VR Csae Files - screenshot courtesy Steam
L.A. Noire: The VR Csae Files – screenshot courtesy Steam

The big budget VR film du jour might be all about the ‘80s, but how about a game that transports you to the ‘40s? The VR spin-off of Rockstar Games’ acclaimed detective adventure from 2011, L.A. Noire: The VR Case Files offers seven new cases to solve.

Featuring a variety of game mechanics, ranging from puzzle-solving to shooting to fisticuffs, all delivered in a full-color but faithfully film noir setting, this one offers a solid cross-section of experiences for new and experienced VR players alike.

Oculus Rift | 18 GB | $29.99 from Oculus or from Steam

The Steadfast VR Challenge

from LANCLAN LLC

The Steadfast VR Challenge - screenshot courtesy Steam
The Steadfast VR Challenge – screenshot courtesy Steam

Requiring both reflexes and tactical skills, the somewhat bland name of The Steadfast VR Challenge belies this game’s entertainment value. Combining wave shooter and tower defense elements with a comfortable interface that will get pulses racing without stomachs roiling, this one has the added bonus of a graphical presentation that recalls Team Fortress 2 with its charming, cartoonish violence.

Oculus Rift | 750 MB | $19.99 from Oculus

ARK Park

from Snail Games

ARK Park - screenshot courtesy Steam
ARK Park – screenshot courtesy Steam

The VR-exclusive spin-off from the much-hyped but critically mixed ARK: Survival Evolved, this latest entry into the burgeoning genre of VR Jurassic Park simulator offers a mix of crafting, exploration, and above all, dinosaurs. While the game mechanics could use some improvement here and there, the dinosaurs themselves are unparalleled.

Oculus Rift | 25 GB | $39.99 from Oculus or from Steam

Have you seen the movie yet? What did you think of its portrayal of VR? Let us know in the comments!

Top 5 Oculus Releases – March 10th-16th – The Sporting Life

This week’s top Oculus Rift and Gear VR choices tend toward the sporting life, whether that be the fine art of shooting sports to the classic foot-race or that questionable life-choice pinnacle of athleticism, the bank heist. If you prefer the laboratory to the athletic field, we have options there, too:

Racket Fury: Table Tennis VR

from 10Ants Hill

Racket Fury - screenshot courtesy Oculus
Racket Fury – screenshot courtesy Oculus

The idea itself is simplistic enough: a ping-pong game in VR. But there’s nothing quite like a simple idea done to perfection. Racket Fury: Table Tennis VR nails the details. In addition to developing their own physics system, the team at 10Ants Hill went so far as to use motion capture on real professional table tennis players.

All the more impressive is how well it works for Gear VR – this isn’t a stripped down down mobile version of a Rift game, but something built from the ground up to make best use of the Gear VR controller.

Plus, you get to play table tennis with space robots, so that’s pretty cool.

Gear VR | 1.3 GB | $9.99 from Oculus

The American Dream

from Samurai Punk

The American Dream - screenshot courtesy Steam
The American Dream – screenshot courtesy Steam

A darkly comedic take on the stereotypes of American gun culture, this game from Australian studio Samurai Punk posits a world in which guns are essential not only for hunting and self-defense, but also cooking, cleaning, medicine and every other aspect of modern life.

Amounting to a series of solidly delivered shooting mini-games, The American Dream stands out less for its action and mechanics than for its satire, but its parody of Norman Rockwell-inspired nostalgia is more than worth the asking price.

Oculus Rift | 2.7 GB | $19.99 from Oculus or from Steam

Payday 2 VR

from OVERKILL – A Starbreeze Studio

Payday 2: VR - screenshot courtesy Steam
Payday 2: VR – screenshot courtesy Steam

Popular co-op heist shooter Payday 2 makes its way to VR, which is exciting enough, but the really surprising part is that the VR implementation is free (though you have to own the game itself).

And thanks to cross-platform compatibility, VR and non-VR players alike can get their crime wave on in this game’s world of masked gunmen and bank robberies gone wrong. Many prefer the locomotion and weapon handling in Payday 2 VR over such dedicated offerings as Fallout 4 VR.

Oculus Rift | 31 GB | FREE from Steam (for owners of Payday 2)

Run Dorothy Run

from Virtro Entertainment

Run, Dorothy, Run - screenshot courtesy Steam
Run, Dorothy, Run – screenshot courtesy Steam

Classic children’s literature crossed with endless runner is an interesting juxtaposition, to say the least, but somehow Run Dorothy Run manages to work. It’s a fairly casual take on endless runners and a fairly irreverent take on L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz, Emerald City, Flying Monkeys and all.

It depends on how well your vestibular system does with constant forward motion, but for those who don’t have sensitivity issues with such motion sickness, this is a fun way to experience a themed speed-run through a world of fantasy.

Oculus Rift | 1.3 MB | $14.99 from Steam

The Big Table

from Prologue

The Big Table - screenshot courtesy Oculus
The Big Table – screenshot courtesy Oculus

If your preferences tend more toward science class than physical education, The Big Table is your alternative to the rest of this week’s athletic excursions. A science fiction laboratory simulator, this game helps players of all ages learn about basic chemistry and the periodic table, though the cute robots and interesting puzzles are reason enough to play.

Oculus Rift | 507 MB | $2.99 from Oculus
Gear VR | 543 MB | $2.99 from Oculus

Top 5 Oculus Releases – March 2nd-9th – Clouds of Black and Blue

Well, it was a weird week for our friends at Oculus after a bad security certificate basically soft-bricked every single Oculus in the world. For a period of 24 hours. Of course, people highlighted that this shows the dangers of a closed system, and rightfully so. The good news (now that it is in the rear view mirror) is that a patch was released. The company also granted a $15 credit for purchases in the Oculus store.

So here are some ways to spend it!

This week’s top five releases for Oculus systems tend toward the atmospheric and story-driven, with a hint of the tragic. Don’t worry, though – if shooters or rhythm games are more your thing, there are some new offerings in that realm, as well.

Cloudborn

from Logtown Studios AB

Cloudborn - screenshot courtesy Steam
Cloudborn – screenshot courtesy Steam

Now out of Early Access, Cloudborn is essentially a straightforward climbing game in the vein of To the Top, but its graphics and unique fantasy setting – think the abandoned civilization of Myst combined with the floating worlds of Bastion – make this a game worth exploring.

Some players have reported motion sickness due to smooth rotation and automatic perspective shifts, so climb carefully – and maybe avoid swinging on vines – if you’re sensitive to that. Otherwise, a mostly relaxing and wonderfully atmospheric experience.

Oculus Rift | 7 GB | $14.99 from Steam

Big Blue – Memory

from Studio RO

Big Blue - Memory - screenshot courtesy Steam
Big Blue – Memory – screenshot courtesy Steam

Inspired by the Sewol Ferry disaster – a Korean maritime incident in 2014 that resulted in 304 deaths – Big Blue – Memory could very well have been in a preachy disaster of a VR game in its own right.

Instead, thanks to a visually psychedelic approach to its oceanic themes and artistic inspirations that include the likes of French auteur Jean Cocteau, it’s a beautiful and mesmerizing experience that’s been featured at independent game festivals throughout Asia.

Oculus Rift | 2 GB | $11.99 from Steam

A Thin Black Line

from VRTOV and SBS Australia

A Thin Black Line - screenshot courtesy Oculus
A Thin Black Line – screenshot courtesy Oculus

Another VR experience drawing from historical tragedy, A Thin Black Line tells the story of the evacuation and bombing of Darwin, Australia during World War II from the viewpoint of a child.

Aboriginal artist Vernon Ah Kee’s mostly static and mostly monochromatic visuals – accompanied by a constant motif of windblown ash – creates a sense of immersion in a way that’s more expressionist than realistic, while also making smart use of mobile VR’s more limited graphics capabilities.

Gear VR | 224 MB | FREE from Oculus

The Wizards

from Carbon Studio

The Wizards - screenshot courtesy Steam
The Wizards – screenshot courtesy Steam

This week’s biggest budget release – and its most hyped – innovates on the VR shooter formula with gesture-based wizards. It’s not enough to point and shoot; in The Wizards, you’ll need to master specific gestures with your controller in order to to fling lightning and fire at your foes.

A campaign mode complete with time travel and dragons makes for a more interesting experience than a standard wave shooter, while a “Fate Card” system that modifies certain game mechanics keeps subsequent replays from getting stale.

Gear VR | 5.3 GB | $19.99 from Oculus or from Steam

Hatsune Miku VR

from Crypton Future Media

Hatsune Miku VR - screenshot courtesy Steam
Hatsune Miku VR – screenshot courtesy Steam

It’s a given that fans of the Japanese vocaloid sensation Hatsune Miku who also happen to be Oculus Rift owners will buy this based on the character alone. Thankfully, Hatsune Miku VR is also a solid rhythm game with multiple difficulty modes and some VR-specific innovations, like songs that require dodging projectiles and score-enhancing moves like crossing your controllers as you catch musical notes.