Category Archives: Oculus Game Reviews

Top 5 Oculus Games – Oct. 14-20 – A Week of Wonder-Filled Magical Releases

With every week that goes by in VR time, we see the positive return from the many conversations, panels, talks, experiments, game jams and cash infusions that have piled up over the past five years. As VR game devs mature and audiences teach them what is working and what is not, the resultant fare is beginning to find its bearings and even show traces of a soul.

At OGR, we try to look at titles that depart from the overabundant roller coaster sim or rail shooter, and it is getting easier every week to find innovative story and world-rich new works. This week’s offerings have been particularly compelling, and here are five we especially liked for all audiences:

Top Five Oculus Games – Oct. 14th-20th, 2017

Luna

from Funomena

Luna game screenshot courtesy Steam
Luna – screenshot courtesy Steam

From the team whose members created such luminary titles as Journey, Flower, Boom Blox and The Sims 2, Luna developer Funomena describes this winsome virtual reality experience as an interactive fable about learning by the light of unexpected mistakes.

We had an opportunity to try the demo out at IndieCade 2017, and what we saw was quite breathtaking. Luna is not a hard game, nor is it fundamentally innovative, but it does something many games fail to accomplish: a unified and aesthetically delightful tone that understands how to use spatialized media to its fullest. The simple spiderweb puzzles left us pulling strands to and fro just because it was such a cool feeling, puzzles be damned.

The reveal of a new element returning to life after each puzzle is solved, the endearing interactive animations elicited by waving one’s hands over the critters, the beautiful score by Austin Wintory all come together to make Luna one of the must-have VR experiences of the year.

Oculus Rift [1.72 GB] | $16.99 from Oculus or from Steam

The Gallery – Episode 2: Heart of the Emberstone

from Cloudhead Games

The Gallery - Episode 2: Heart of the Emberstone game screenshot courtesy Steam
The Gallery – Episode 2: Heart of the Emberstone – screenshot courtesy Steam

Though Call of the Starseed had some minor quibbles, its inventory system was one of the first great demonstrations of how to manage things in embodied narrative space. The game was one of the better looking launch titles and promised a brighter future than most of the shovelware that was being dropped on Steam and other storefronts at the time, like so many Atari E.T. cartridges in a sandpit.

It is telling that the sequel, part two of The Gallery series from Cloudhead, then, comes with only moderate fanfare by comparison, because it is better in every way: graphically, functionally and thematically. The game also uses a similar technique for recounting exposition as Fullbright‘s Tacoma: via holographic recordings. Also, it isn’t epic in length; at under four hours, you can work your way through it in a dedicated night of play. Some people prefer shorter games, and if you are one of them, don’t miss this.

Oculus Rift [15.18 GB] | $29.99 from Oculus or from Steam

SkyWorld

from Vertigo Games

SkyWorld game screenshot courtesy Steam
SkyWorld – screenshot courtesy Steam

SkyWorld brings the oft-overlooked strategy genre to VR with a mixture of turn-based and real-time action. While the mechanics tend to be on the “accessible” side – think the Clash of Clans games rather than Starcraft II or Command and Conquer – the beautifully animated little battlefields make up for any lack of complexity. If you’ve ever wanted to see a dragon lay waste to a tiny snowglobe-like village in VR, this is the game for you.

Oculus Rift [5 GB] | $39.99 from Oculus or from Steam

The Talos Principle VR

from Croteam

The Talos Principle VR game screenshot courtesy Steam
The Talos Principle VR – screenshot courtesy Steam

The highly acclaimed first-person adventure and its poignant tale of artificial intelligence makes its way to VR, and between the glowing laser puzzles, beautifully decayed buildings and philosophical tone, it’s a perfect fit. The original game’s developers rebuilt The Talos Principle VR from the ground up, so it’s totally optimized for VR and also includes the extensive Road to Gehenna DLC.

Oculus Rift [6 GB] | $39.99 from Steam

DreamTank

from Studio 229

DreamTank game screenshot courtesy Steam
DreamTank – screenshot courtesy Steam

DreamTank is VR at its most meditative – no shooting, no action, no puzzles. Instead, selecting one of 10 ambient compositions sets the program in motion, procedurally generating vast alien worlds driven by the sonic evocations. Find one you like, and choose to stay awhile, or let the world continue to evolve around you.

Oculus Rift [1 GB] | $9.99 from Steam

Other Noteworthy Oculus Releases:

Reaching for Petals: VR Edition

from Blue Entropy Studios

Reaching for Petals: VR Edition game screenshot courtesy Steam
Reaching for Petals: VR Edition – screenshot courtesy Steam

Previously released as a standard PC title, this “walking simulator” has been rebuilt for VR (and if you buy it on Steam, you get the standard version included for free). Like the best walking simulators, Reaching for Petals tells a heartfelt story that we don’t want to spoil here, but the chance to walk through its sun-dappled forests alone in VR is worth the low price of admission.

Oculus Rift [5 GB] | $4.99 from Steam

Until None Remain: Battle Royale VR

from D.W.S.

Until None Remain: Battle Royale VR game screenshot courtesy Steam
Until None Remain: Battle Royale VR – screenshot courtesy Steam

Just released in Early Access, Until None Remain: Battle Royale VR is a brutal, fast-paced multi-player deathmatch. As if other players and their range of weaponry weren’t dangerous enough, each 15-minute session features poisonous gas forcing all participants into an ever-shrinking play space, so there’s no chance of hiding off in the corner and playing sniper.

Oculus Rift [5 GB] | $7.99 from Steam

Review – Fated: The Silent Oath

Review – Fated: The Silent Oath

by
Andarius8 | May 22, 2016

Rating: 

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Platforms:    Windows PC, Steam
Device(s):    Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Playstation VR (VR Required + Gamepad Required)
Game Name:    Fated: The Silent Oath
Publisher(s):    Frima Studio
Developer(s):    Frima Studio
Genre(s):    Adventure, VR Only
Release Date:    April 28th, 2016

Fated – What We Think:
Fated, is a VR Only immersive adventure from Frima Studio, inviting us to explore a colorfully animated world filled with Norse mythology.  Firma Studio, is known for creating outstanding digital products for world renowned clients such as Electronic Arts, Activision, Warner, Konami, and LEGO.

As a Norseman recently returned from the brink of death through a bargain with a goddess, which sets a key game mechanic in place, you begin your journey. In the early stages, a natural flowing guide brings you through a tutorial series of experiences, while at the same time mundane interactions builds your connections to your family. This felt primarily to me a storytelling adventure, and -v when I finally thought I reached my limits to the slow natural storytelling pace – the action cranked suddenly up to a 10, bringing some action adventure to the story.

02ActionBegins

Horse and Cart:
Given this game is designed for not only the HTC Vive which we reviewed it on, but also for the Oculus Rift, it is not surprising it uses a traditional gamepad controller which works well with an Xbox Controller. Hopefully, a future update will take advantage of the HTC Vive, and eventually Oculus Touch controllers. All too often I found I tried to flick the reins with the controller when I could only use the Left, Right analog triggers. Your young niece is full of questions, and for this interaction natural gestures work amazingly well to immerse you in the story.

03LossCannotBeEscaped

LOSS OF SOMEONE IN YOUR LIFE IS MORE PROFOUND IN VR
We spent 88 minutes inside (covering all current content), slowly forming the opening bonds with the characters and becoming invested. As a result, it is not surprising that at moments of the storytellers choosing I felt a profound loss when something happened to one of my friends or family.  Having to naturally answer questions that no one should have to answer with natural gestures vs selected text, or prompts, keeps us immersed to the point of potentially drowning us with emotions. Adventures like these are not for the faint of heart.

03Inside

Mythologies, puzzles, and magic are blended to create a delightfully amazing adventure, and the blend of both exterior and interior environments ensures that we truly feel we are exploring a full and complete world vs a small set environment.

Fated felt to me more like a story than a game, but a truly interactive game which invests us deeply and will pay back our time with wonderful memories. Do not allow yourself to get bored during the early moments, embrace each interaction and know once the action starts it will be truly engaging for these connections.

Fated: The Silent Oath is available via Steam.

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Watch the trailer for Fated: The Silent Oath below: