Category Archives: Oculus Rift News

The Well game screenshot courtesy Oculus

Top Five Oculus Releases – October 7th-13th – and Other Big Oculus News

Our top five Oculus releases are quite the mix this week, ranging from epic fantasy to interactive murder mystery theater to comedic space engineering:

The Well

from Turtle Rock Studios

The Well game screenshot courtesy Oculus
The Well – screenshot courtesy Oculus

The Well is hardly what we would have expected from Turtle Rock Studios – the developers best known multi-player action games like Left 4 Dead and Evolve. This instead is an epic fantasy RPG with all that entails, including party recruitment and a quest to save the world.

It’s also totally gorgeous, with cartoon-inspired art that reminds us a bit of The Last Unicorn on DMT, not to mention recent game releases like The Banner Saga and Jotun.

Gear VR | 389 MB | $9.99 from Oculus

Elevator…to the Moon!

from ROCCAT Games Studio

Elevator...to the Moon! game screenshot courtesy Oculus
Elevator…to the Moon! – screenshot courtesy Oculus

Available for both the Rift and Gear VR, Elevator…to the Moon is what developers ROCCAT Games Studio call a “VR Space Repairman/Jerk President Simulator.” In layman’s terms, that means it’s a comedic first-person adventure in which players build a space elevator while being barked at by a commander-in-chief who sounds suspiciously like a certain Austrian bodybuilder…turned actor…turned politician.

With lots of hidden Easter eggs and plenty of interactive tools like electric screwdrivers and welding torches, this looks both fun and funny. And if you get sick of “President of the World Doug-Slater Roccmeier” ordering you around, you can always take a hammer or baseball bat to the innards of his precious lunar elevator and see what happens.

Oculus Rift | 953 MB | $7.99 from Oculus
Gear VR | 798 MB | $4.99 from Oculus

The Invisible Hours

from Tequila Works

The Invisible Hours game screenshot courtesy Oculus
The Invisible Hours – screenshot courtesy Oculus

The Invisible Hours is an interactive theater piece and murder mystery that allows players – as invisible observers – to follow individual characters as the story plays out. The plot takes place in a Victorian mansion over the span of a single night, and players can trace the events from the perspective of each character, rewind time to catch missed clues, and explore the mansion for additional evidence.

Featuring history’s favorite rival inventors, Thomas Edison and Nicola Tesla, among other characters, this game reminds us of nothing so much as an Agatha Christie story – or a Masterpiece Theater episodes based on one – set in VR.

Oculus Rift | 9.3 GB | $29.99 from Oculus

ARKTIKA.1

from 4A Games

ARKTIKA.1 game screenshot courtesy Oculus
ARKTIKA.1 – screenshot courtesy Oculus

The big budget VR FPS of the week, ARKTIKA.1 features all of the tropes you’ve come to expect from the burgeoning genre: dual-wielded pistols, hideous monsters and waves of enemies punctuated by narrative cut scenes. In this instance, the action takes place in a frozen future dystopia.

What piques our interest is that this was developed by 4A Games, the studio behind the Metro series. If anyone knows grim, monster-infested, post-apocalyptic wastelands, it’s them.

Oculus Rift | 21.7 GB | $29.99 from Oculus

Space Pirate Trainer

from I-Illusions

Space Pirate Trainer game screenshot courtesy Steam
Space Pirate Trainer – screenshot courtesy Steam

Yes, it’s a wave shooter, but Space Pirate Trainer is maybe the ultimate wave shooter. Arriving in Early Access (and on the HTC Vive) before there was such a glut, it’s now out in full release, available for Oculus Rift and ready for full room-scale arcade action. It’s gotten overwhelmingly positive Stream reviews and won multiple categories in last year’s Proto Awards for VR.

Oculus Rift | 2.4 GB | $14.99 from Oculus or from Steam

Other Noteworthy Oculus Releases:

Cat Sorter VR

from Pawmigo Games

Cat Sorter VR game screenshot courtesy Steam
Cat Sorter VR – screenshot courtesy Steam

Cat Sorter VR made waves in mainstream media last month when it came out for HTC Vive, and now Oculus Rift users can also experience the joy of assembling and disassembling cats in bizarre, adorable and/or disturbing combinations. Its fusion of adorable and horrifying – call it “adorifying” – imagery won it the IndieCade 2017 Aesthetic Award last weekend.

Oculus Rift | 2 GB | $12.99 from Steam

Star Shelter

from Overflow

Star Shelter game screenshot courtesy Steam
Star Shelter – screenshot courtesy Steam

Still in Early Access, Star Shelter boasts the distinction of being one of the first VR survival games. As one might expect from the genre, it requires lots of gathering supplies and crafting, with the added challenge of taking place in zero gravity.

Oculus Rift | 500 MB | $14.99 from Steam

Of course, the biggest Oculus news of the week is Facebook’s announcement of the Oculus Go, a stand-alone VR headset. Utilizing similar controllers to – and cross-compatible with – Gear VR, the new headset will offer a field of view as wide as the Oculus Rift and provide an easy entry level experience to VR newcomers without requiring an expensive smartphone. Oculus will begin shipping dev kits next month.

In another move slowly but surely pushing VR toward mainstream affordability, Oculus has also announced that the recent $399 sale on the Oculus Rift and Oculus Touch package will be a new standard price. Both announcements came at this year’s Oculus Connect conference in San Jose, California.

StagePresence_game_screenshot_purple_800x450

tinyBuild GAMES Announces First VR Signing – Stage Presence

tinyBuildGAMES_logo

TinyBuilding a Stage Presence in VR

tinyBuild GAMES, the indie publisher behind such games as Boid, SpeedRunners and No Time to Explain, has announced its first virtual reality offering: Stage Presence.

Designed by Manchester, UK studio Sea Green Games, the developers rather cheekily describe Stage Presence as “a microphone-based music festival and angry mob simulator.” Virtual reality explorers take on the role of lead singer for a band…right when the power cuts out. Players are then required to do their best to keep the virtual audience entertained using only the power of their voice.

Twitching with Stage Fright

Sea Green Games’ approach to Stage Presence appears to be inspired as much by horror – albeit a more mundane sort of horror than the usual zombies and giant spiders – as by the fantasies catered to by games like Guitar Hero. Your primary goal is to keep the crowd from booing you off the stage.

Adding insult to injury, Stage Presence features multiple methods of online humiliation. Players can invite their friends to join the virtual crowd, and said friends can then express their distaste with your singing voice by throwing bottles of urine at you (although if they’re throwing bottles of urine at you, maybe they’re not really your friends).

If you’d prefer to be humiliated by strangers, you’ll also have the ability to not only stream your session on Twitch, but you can let the Twitch chat channel control the crowd.

StagePresence_game_screenshot_blue_800x450

Furthering the Twitch connection, Stage Presence bears the distinction of being the first VR to be shown live on the Twitch stage at PAX East, which took place over the weekend of April 22nd to 24th in Boston, Massachusetts.

Stage Presence is due for release this summer on Steam and for the Oculus Rift.

In the meantime, watch the announcement trailer below:

Virtual Reality Film Festival FIVARS Opens in Toronto Sept 2015

This weekend, Toronto virtual reality meetup group VRTO presents the Festival of International Virtual and Augmented Reality Stories

The ambitious aggregation of top VR content is focused around the theme of narrative forms emerging through this medium. With the recently announced Oculus Story Mode, a co-production with Pixar, interest in virtual reality narrative has exploded.

The inaugural FIVARS showcase features short subject pieces from around the world, including Russia’s Airpano footage of bears hunting salmon and an active volcano, Germany’s Sonar 360 a a horror in stereoscopic outer space, and Immersive’s John Hopkins scored LoVR, the equivalent of a data visualization roller coaster ride about falling in love. 

Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door sold through Eventbrite.

For the full programme and other info, visit http://fivars.net