Well, it was a weird week for our friend 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 rearview 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.
from Logtown Studios AB
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
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
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
from Carbon Studio
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.
Hatsune Miku VR
from Crypton Future Media
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.