Top Five Oculus Releases – August 19-25, 2017 – The Cute & the Contemplative

After a week predominated by zombie-slaughtering and supernatural horror games, this week’s top Oculus releases tend more toward the cute and/or contemplative side of things:

FORM

by Charm Games

Form game screenshot, courtesy official site
FORM – screenshot courtesy official site

A philosophical puzzle game involving slick graphics, a heavy psychological back story, and a mysterious artifact called “The Obelisk,” FORM reminds us a bit of what The Talos Principle might look like if it had been developed using VR’s three-dimensionality. (I guess we’ll know for sure pretty soon, as a VR version of The Talos Principle is due out as soon as late 2017.) Critically acclaimed when it came out earlier this summer for the HTC Vive, it’s finally out for Oculus Rift.

Words won’t do it service, just like this trailer won’t do the VR experience service:

Oculus Rift | 3 GB | $11.99 from the Oculus Store

Looking Glass

by Looking Glass VR

Looking Glass - screenshot courtesy Kevin M. Castaneda official site
Looking Glass – screenshot courtesy Kevin M. Castaneda official site

Sometimes the pursuit of the next big thing, the irrepressible urge to progress, to innovate, to move forward, leads us to leave behind the bank of knowledge, experience and wonderful things that artifacts can afford us in enriching our understanding, culture and curiosity. Before there was VR, there were stereoscopic images, the “original” 3D technology developed nearly 200 years ago. Looking Glass, a free app for Gear VR, brings stereoscopic images from the Keystone View Company’s “Tour of the World” series – now archived at the U.C. Riverside California Museum of Photography – into the digital age.

After loading the app, it begins to download over 100 such archival images, whereupon you can swipe backwards and forward through the catalog and zoom in and out. Each stereogram also comes with a small typed placard (that appears on newsprint) describing the location and the contents of the scene. Other details, like an old record player that actually plays and a scientific illustration of a dodo hanging on the wall, elevate the experience from an archive of old photos to a cozy and immersive experience. Truly marvelous. And free? We can’t wait until OpenCulture.org get their hands on these tools.

Gear VR | 211 MB | FREE from the Oculus Store

Chroma Lab

by Sean Tann

Chroma Lab game screenshot courtesy Steam
Chroma Lab – screenshot courtesy Steam

More a graphics toy than a game – though the developer has hinted at adding more straightforward game modes in the future – Chroma Lab is a colorful particle simulator. It can also interact with your music to create psychedelic vistas in motion. Particle emitters, bloom effects, realtime high quality shadows and other pretty eye candy that involves spawning or wrapping around all objects is usually death for VR experiences framerate, and thus your stomach, but pulling it off is pretty trippy, man…

Oculus Rift | 500 MB | $4.99 from Steam

Spark of Light

by Pillow’s Willow VR Studio BV

Spark of Light game screenshot courtesy official site
Spark of Light – screenshot courtesy official site

Help a young boy recover the missing Sun-Bug in Spark of Light, a whimsical puzzle platformer for Gear VR that looks to be inspired by Little Nemo in Slumberland in its various incarnations. Between the enchanted forest, friendly insects and a protagonist wearing what appears to be a dragon onesie, this one might actually be too cute.

Gear VR | 409 MB | $4.99 from the Oculus Store

Wingless

by Kentoo Sp. z.o.o.

Wingless game screenshot courtesy Steam
Wingless – screenshot courtesy Steam

Wingless is a classic, wave-based defense game. But it involves throwing things – snowballs, dynamite, etc. – at penguins. We shouldn’t have to explain why that’s awesome. We think it’s self-explanatory.

Oculus Rift | 4 GB | $6.99 from Steam

Other Noteworthy Oculus Releases:

Little Earth

by RedRabbit Animation

Little Earth game screenshot courtesy Steam
Little Earth – screenshot courtesy Steam

Designed for all ages, Little Earth brings acclaimed children’s book illustrator Chris Haughton’s drawings to life. Cute creatures in his signature style educate the viewer about earth animals and seasons, while a broader view lets you take in the entire solar system.

Oculus Rift | 500 MB | $4.99 from Steam

Kingdom Slicer

by Chesstar Studios

Kingdom Slicer - screenshot courtesy Oculus
Kingdom Slicer – screenshot courtesy Oculus

A slicing game in the vein of Fruit Ninja, Kingdom Slicer from Shanghai-based developer Chesstar Studios appeals with its cartoonish bouncing enemies and an upbeat soundtrack that blends classical Chinese flutes with EDM.

Oculus Rift | 558 MB | $9.99 from the Oculus Store

Kingdom City Drowning: Ep. 1 – The Champion

by Phoenix Mirror

Kingdom City Drowning - Ep. 1 screenshot courtesy Steam
Kingdom City Drowning – Ep. 1 – screenshot courtesy Steam

The first episode in an ongoing series of VR short films set in a future dystopia, Kingdom City Drowning: Ep. 1 – The Champion tells the story of a child gladiator trying to fight his way to freedom.

Oculus Rift | 6 GB | $4.99 from the Oculus Store or from Steam

KFC Employee Training Program

by Wieden+Kennedy

KFC VR - screenshot courtesy Eater.com
KFC VR – screenshot courtesy Eater.com

While not available for the general public, this “training” VR game reported by Eater.com is almost enough to make us apply for a job at KFC. After reading the description and watching the video, we’re still not sure if it’s an actual training program or some fast-food torture experience inspired by the Saw movies. Finger-lickin’ terrifying.

Oculus Rift | file size unknown | not available for purchase

In other exciting VR game news, December 2017 is looking like the biggest month ever: that’s when we get VR versions of Doom, Fallout and Skyrim. Hope you didn’t have any other winter plans!