Tag Archives: oculus rift news

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

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.

Top 5 Oculus Releases – September 30th-October 6th – Cartoon Cars & Underwater Adventures

This week’s new Oculus releases feature arcade racing for both Rift and Gear VR. There are also several high profile shooters making their way out of Early Access. Not in the mood for action? Take a deep dive into underwater exploration:

Water Planet

by The Revera Corporation

Water Planet game screenshot courtesy Steam
Water Planet – screenshot courtesy Steam

Far more than a VR music video, Water Planet is an otherworldly adventure set to the music of Elizabeth Ann Clark, a.k.a. ambient musician VIRGO. Set on a distant aquatic planet, the game tasks players with guiding a cybernetic jellyfish through the underwater ruins of vanished civilizations. Its ethereal seascapes and dreamy electronic soundtrack remind us a bit of a science fiction-oriented version of ABZU, and we’re dying to take a deep dive into this one.

Oculus Rift | 3.5 GB | $19.99 from Steam

Cargo Racing VR

by Virtual Arts Ltd.

Cargo Racing VR game screenshot courtesy Oculus
Cargo Racing VR – screenshot courtesy Oculus

A cartoonish-looking truck racing game, Cargo Racing VR is deceptively simple but designed for easy accessibility. Between its single-button control scheme and a third person perspective – a decision based on comfort testing and shown to be less likely to cause motion sickness – it’s meant to be a casual and easy entrance for VR newcomers. We also like that it looks like slot car racing, though without the ozone smell from burning engines.

Gear VR | 164 MB | $2.99 from the Oculus Store

Tractorball

by Ninja Whale Studios

Tractorball game screenshot courtesy Steam
Tractorball – screenshot courtesy Steam

An idea so brilliant in its simplicity we can’t believe we didn’t come up with it ourselves, Tractorball is more or less a VR take-off on the ever-popular Rocket League. As indicated by the title, players drive rocket-powered tractors rather than rocket-powered cars, but the general concept is the same: high speed vehicular soccer, complete with rocket boosts and power-ups.

Oculus Rift | 3 GB | $9.99 from the Oculus Store or from Steam

Raw Data

by Survios

Raw Data game screenshot courtesy Oculus
Raw Data – screenshot courtesy Oculus

Probably the biggest release of the week, Raw Data – now out of Early Access – is a cyberpunk FPS with loads of features, multiple playable characters, cross-platform co-op and PVP modes, and a storyline straight out of an early Neil Stephenson novel. It’s also won loads of awards, including Best VR Game at the Game Developers Conference.

Oculus Rift | 9 GB | $39.99 from the Oculus Store or from Steam

Sunken

by Tapps Games

Sunken game screenshot courtesy Oculus
Sunken – screenshot courtesy Oculus

Sunken is a simple hidden object game for mobile VR, but we love its setting and the concept of exploring a long-sunken ship. Between the sound effects – whale songs and SCUBA bubbles – and the setting, complete with sharks and cetaceans passing by the portholes of the rusted wreck, this packs a lot of atmosphere into a basic mobile hidden object game.

Gear VR | 540 MB | $1.99 from the Oculus Store

Other Noteworthy Oculus Releases:

Dead Effect 2 VR

by BadFly Interactive

Dead Effect 2 VR game screenshot courtesy Steam
Dead Effect 2 VR – screenshot courtesy Steam

Another fairly high budget project just leaving Early Access, Dead Effect 2 VR is the latest game in a science fiction/horror series originally released for mobile. The premise is hardly original – zombies on a spaceship – but the slick graphics and RPG elements, like gear and skill upgrades, give this more depth than the typical VR shooter with a storyline that takes over 8 hours to complete.

Oculus Rift | 14 GB | $24.99 from Steam

Crowe: The Drowned Armory

by The Rogue Initiative

Crowe: The Drowned Armory game screenshot courtesy Steam
Crowe: The Drowned Armory – screenshot courtesy Steam

Originally released for HTC Vive and now making its way to the Rift, Crowe: The Drowned Armory is the first in an episodic series of action adventures set in a science/fantasy world that reminds us a bit of Avatar, complete with elfin aliens fighting off waves of mechanical enemies. Though criticized for its short length – a couple of puzzles and a shooting sequence – it does have some gorgeous visuals and a pure exploration mode for players looking to absorb some of the planet’s atmosphere (pun intended), as well as an arena battle mode if wave shooters are more your thing.

Oculus Rift | 12 GB | $8.99 from the Oculus Store or from Steam

Be sure to check back next week for more Oculus releases and the latest news in avant-garde VR developments from this year’s IndieCade.