Category Archives: Oculus Rift News

Top 5 Oculus Releases – March 31st-April 6th – Elder Scrolls and Other Amazing Environments

There are quite a few movie tie-ins this week, but after last week’s collection inspired by Ready Player One, we’re focusing on worlds designed originally for games and VR this time around. And thanks in part to VR’s entry into the world of Tamriel, there are plenty of worlds for adventurous Oculus players to explore:

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR

from Bethesda Game Studios

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR - screenshot courtesy Steam
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR – screenshot courtesy Steam

After an initial release exclusive to Sony PSVR, the most successful game yet in the massively popular Elder Scrolls series makes its way to Oculus, as fellow Bethesda Game Studios series Fallout did several months ago. The VR edition also includes all previously released add-on content, for hundreds of hours of dragon-slaying and quests.

The marvelous thing about Skyrim, though, is that you can ignore the quests altogether and spend hours, as we have, wandering through its verdant glades, mysterious forests and awe-inspiring mountain peaks. And if the original edition is nearly perfect as a fantasy landscape hike simulator, how much better is it in VR?

We recommend playing this with the Oculus Touch controllers because the thumbsticks allow for smoother motion and tighter control, and we were a bit puzzled by the lack of haptic feedback from weapon strikes, but those are minor quibbles for a game that creates this deep a sense of immersion.

Oculus Rift | 15 GB | $59.99 on Steam

Island Time VR

from Flight School Studio

Island Time VR - screenshot courtesy Steam
Island Time VR – screenshot courtesy Steam

With the notable – and wonderful – exception of Don’t Starve, too many survival games opt for such a grim and gritty approach that the actual sense of fun gets left behind.

Not so with Island Time VR, which brings a charming cartoon-inspired aesthetic to the “how would you survive on a desert island” genre. Between its bug-eyed crabs and gulls, buck-toothed fish and a comedic approach to crafting, it reminds us a bit of Robinson Crusoe as done by Aardman Animations.

Oculus Rift | 1 GB | $14.99 from Oculus or from Steam

Kartong – Death by Cardboard!

from SRVIVE Studios

Kartong - Death by Cardboard! - screenshot courtesy Steam
Kartong – Death by Cardboard! – screenshot courtesy Steam

We’ve been following this one for a while. Now out of Early Access, Kartong – Death by Cardboard! is a survival action shooter that stands out for its papercraft environments and its approach to household objects re-imagined as traps and weaponry.

It’s also cross-platform compatible, so non-VR players can also try their hands at escaping the sinister cardboard city and the nefarious clutches of the mastermind who created it.

Oculus Rift | 9 GB | $8.99 from Oculus or $13.99 from Steam

La Camila: A VR Story

from Jak Wilmot

La Camila - screenshot courtesy Steam
La Camila – screenshot courtesy Steam

Selected for this year’s Atlanta Film Festival, La Camila: A VR Story is a free interactive film that charmed us equally with its pastoral steampunk imagery, it’s ‘60s folk-rock soundtrack, and its heartwarming tale of a young orphan girl preserving a fantasy world. A brief but lovely work of magical realism.

Oculus Rift | 2 GB | FREE from Steam

Cat ‘S’ Trophy

from Visible Realms

Cat 'S' Tropy - screenshot courtesy Oculus
Cat ‘S’ Tropy – screenshot courtesy Oculus

Loosely inspired by Mario Cart in terms of mechanics and perspective, this cart racing game for Gear VR has a couple of clever innovations. In Cat ‘S’ Trophy, players design their own tracks; that’s not a bonus option but an integral part of the game. For another, instead of go-carts, players race bizarre wheeled cats, which gives new meaning to the phrase “purring engine.”

Gear VR | 521 MB | $4.99 from Oculus

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!

Brass Tactics: Arena - screenshot courtesy Steam

Top 5 Oculus Releases – February 17th-23rd – Steam-Powered Sharks and Nuclear Kittens

Getting past the obvious hype of steampunk strategy, this week’s most intriguing new Oculus releases offer an array of educational experiences, from exploring the ocean to gaining a better understanding of nuclear disasters:

Brass Tactics

from Hidden Path Entertainment

Brass Tactics - screenshot courtesy Oculus
Brass Tactics – screenshot courtesy Oculus

After last week’s free multi-player preview – Brass Tactics: Arena – the long-awaited full version is out at last, and all reports indicate that it actually lives up to the hype.

With a single-player campaign lasting up to six hours, plus over a dozen maps, multiple units and a variety of single and multi-player game modes and an interface somewhere between a high-end tabletop war game and a retro-futuristic general’s war room, Brass Tactics is the latest and greatest in VR strategy.

The detailed backgrounds and well-executed steampunk unit designs don’t hurt, either.

Oculus Rift | 8.7 GB | $39.99 from Oculus

Operation Apex

from Curiscope

Operation Apex - screenshot courtesy  Oculus
Operation Apex – screenshot courtesy Oculus

Games like Subnautica and Ocean Rift have highlighted particular suitability of VR for experiencing underwater environments – no SCUBA certification necessary and no risk of nitrogen narcosis.

Operation Apex is more realistic than the former and more story-driven than the latter, with players taking on the role of oceanographic researchers in search of the legendary great white shark. That appeals to our scientific side, as does the promise of simulated marine life reacting to us as we enter its native ecosystem.

Oculus Rift | 3.8 GB | $19.99 from Oculus

FukushimaRMI

from Michael Vallance

FukushimaRMI - screenshot courtesy WEARVR
FukushimaRMI – screenshot courtesy WEARVR

A free interactive experience intended as an educational tool, FukushimaRMI is a fascinating glimpse into the 2011 meltdown at the Fukushima Daichi nuclear power plant in Japan. Players guide a robot gathering radioactive bins, and the presence of wandering animals and birdsong in the otherwise eerie quiet is a juxtaposition that better conveys the dangers of radiation than any Fallout knock-off.

Oculus Rift | FREE from WEARVR

Konrad the Kitten

from FusionPlay

Konrad the Kitten - screenshot courtesy Steam
Konrad the Kitten – screenshot courtesy Steam

Essentially a virtual pet, the simplicity of the concept belies the innovative nature of Konrad the Kitten. Now out of Early Access, this game offers a “plush toy” mode combining real world tactile feedback with virtual pet antics (just strap your controller to your favorite stuffed animal) – and highlights the potential of VR to create meaningful experiences for audiences well outside the gaming and technological community.

Oculus Rift | 500 MB | $14.99 from Oculus or from Steam

Tomb Raider: Lara’s Escape VR

from Warner Bros.

Tomb Raider: Lara's Escape - screenshot courtesy Steam
Tomb Raider: Lara’s Escape – screenshot courtesy Steam

For a free movie promotion, Tomb Raider: Lara’s Escape is a surprisingly solid little experience for mobile VR, offering an amuse bouche of all the signature Lara Croft experiences, from shooting arrows to rappelling down walls to being impaled by spikes.

Gear VR | 704 MB | FREE from Oculus