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Outstanding New Oculus Releases for Summer 2020

Great New Oculus Releases for the Weirdest Summer Ever

No world is out of reach. Grab your headset and let these enchanting worlds come to life with this month’s titles.

The Line

by ARVORE Immersive Experiences
Release Date: July 9th, 2020

Winner of “Best VR Experience” winner at the Venice Film Festival, The Line is set inside a miniature model of São Paulo, Brazil in the 1940s and features narration by Rodrigo Santoro of Westworld fame.

As you fiddle with machinery and twiddle with knobs in this 20-minute roomscale experience, you’ll reveal an unlikely love story between two miniature dolls.

Paper Beast

by Pixel Reef, published by Plug In Digital
Release Date: July 24th, 2020

Explore a beautiful, strange and beautifully strange world of artificial life – a new ecosystem evolving in hidden spaces deep inside the Internet – in Paper Beast, the newest creation from Another World creator Eric Chahi.

Paper Beast offers two games modes, a puzzle-based adventure and a sandbox, but the real star here is the environment, populated by (artificially) intelligent creatures resembling something like a cross between Wayne Douglas Barlowe’s alien animals and ’90s visions of cyberspace.

Add the ability to alter the landscape, plus a soundtrack featuring Japanese punk trio TsuShiMaMire and electronic producer Roly Porter, and we’re more than intrigued, we’re obsessed!

The Under Presents: The Tempest

by Tender Claws
Release Date: July 6th, 2020

The Tempest is the latest interactive live theatrical adventure from The Under, a multi-player VR experience from Tender Claws, and gives players the chance to work magic with Prospero in an innovative new approach to the Shakespeare classic. (In order to participate, players will need to purchase a ticket and set a showtime, as this is a “live” experience, running through September.)

Also available: Timeboat!, a single-player adventure about an arctic research ship, complete with time travel and a mysterious dolphin.

Layers of Fear

by Bloober Team S.A.
Release Date: July 9th, 2020

Much as we enjoyed the original 2016 release, Layers of Fear is even better in VR. Drawing less on jump scares than atmosphere to create its atmosphere of dread as it puts players behind the eyes of a troubled painter losing his grip on reality as he tries to create his masterpiece.

As perception blurs the lines between reality and hallucination, the artist’s mansion seems to rearrange itself, doors disappearing and reappearing in different places, oil paint dripping from the walls like blood, and artistic genius dances a minuet with madness.

Its very premise makes this one part psychological horror and one part virtual art gallery (albeit a gallery for those who prefer Francis Bacon and Francisco Goya to Manet or Monet).

Enjoy the art, and remember that paintings can’t hurt you…or can they?

Five Nights at Freddy’s: Help Wanted

by Steel Wool Studios
Release Date: July 16th, 2020

On the other hand, maybe jump scares are your thing! In that case, check out Five Nights at Freddy’s: Help Wanted, bringing the ridiculously popular franchise to the Oculus Quest with a collection of both classic and brand new mini-games set in your favorite twisted pizza parlor.

It’s particularly poignant as hundreds of Chuck E. Cheese’s are now being shut down, likely due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, and the already creepy and wonderful animatronic mouse and his colleagues upon which this insanely popular indie hit is based are now littering desert landfills nationwide. (Someone save them!)

Featuring updated scenes from Five Nights at Freddy’s 1 through 4 as well as Five Nights at Freddy’s: Sister Location, this collection makes hiding from murderous animatronic animals more visceral than ever.

Personally, if I were hired as a night repairman for a pizza restaurant, I’d probably quit after the first night of being chased by a killer Chuck E. Cheese knock-off – nostalgia for good times past or not – but your mileage may vary.

Plex Officially Will Not Develop An App for Any VR Platform

I Want My Plex.tv

In what is either a terrible decision, misprioritization, or submitting to strong arming by entertainment industry pressure (Paramount/Big Screen/Facebook – who knows we are speculating) popular streaming and meta-aggregation service Plex.tv has stated officially, via its forums, in response to a growing demand for Quest support, that is NOT developing the app for ANY VR platform now or in the foreseeable future.

Plex answer on VR

This, from a financial or marketing perspective obviously makes no sense, since the Oculus Quest tetherless VR headset has been selling out as fast as Facebook can produce it. Plex allows users to bring in their own copies of TV and Film titles and then compares them to various databases to assign their metadata, cover art and even audio theme songs to let them essentially make their own private OTT Netflix-style media server.

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In what is most definitely a too-good-to-be-true product, this can certainly lead to murky licensing and copyright territory. Nonetheless, recently Plex has introduced ad-supported official licensing deals for many film and TV shows, free to users of the product, and will likely be launching an a la carte storefront in the near future.

At first users were up in arms that Plex was losing its soul, selling out to the man, selling them short and turning into yet another iTunes wannabe. But Plex went to great marketing lengths to reassure its userbase that this was not the case.

So why would Plex, which is a perfect and much needed solution for streaming personal videos to an HMD, with a functional product already on the now slightly antiquated Oculus Go, not want to hop on the Quest train? You probably don’t have to think too hard to figure it out.

For now we have to deal with the limited, canned and expensive rental content on Bigscreen’s official Paramount licensing deal. You CAN also use Bigscreen to stream your desktop content, but it isn’t the same as what Plex offers; a beautifully organized gallery of custom personal content, perhaps backups of your DVD collection, or favorite recorded TV shows, or best of all 3D movies, that looks and sounds great in a VR virtual movie theater.

Too bad for us, too bad for VR. too bad for cineastes who want to watch something other that what the commercial deals allow, be they classics, indies, mondo cult films, training videos, hard to get stereoscopic content or otherwise.

OGR’s Top 5 Favorite Experiences for Oculus Quest 2020 (You Might Not Expect)

Each of these titles was chosen for its particular excellence for being expressive and benefiting from the Quest’s tetherless and dynamic form factor. Being able to quickly move between areas of your apartment or house or soccer field to punch, fish, groove or get strange enhances the value of these excellent Virtual Reality works.

In no particular order:

Real VR Fishing

Developer: MIRAGESOFT, Inc.
Publisher: MIRAGESOFT, Inc.
Website: https://www.realvrfishing.com
Release Date: September 12, 2019

This little gem came seemingly out of nowhere but has quickly won over not only our hearts but those of the Internet. Based out of South Korea, Miragesoft has filmed various locations around their country with high resolution 360 video that they then mapped over a 3D mesh and enhanced with various digital add-ons, flocks of birds, weather and lighting.

You can also use your own custom music library, which it plays through a built-in player that lets you shuffle, repeat or manually select tracks.

Furthermore, many varied and photo-realistic fish you catch can be added to a huge aquarium in your lodge, so you can enjoy them all together. Various unlockable upgrades to your fishing gear, aquarium, and home base can be added through your hard work out on the lake.

Constant updates are being added, most recently a complete saltwater fish update, with multiplayer promised by Q2 of 2020. Oh yeah, and did we mention the fishing physics are great? Seasoned fishermen have given the game their seal of approval, particularly in an advanced mode that doesn’t use color cues but only nuanced haptics and your rod, tackle and line. An amazing and transportive experience.

The Under Presents

Developer: Tender Claws
Publisher: Tender Claws
Website: https://tenderclaws.com/
Release Date: November 19, 2019

Tender Claws established themselves early on as one of the main VR developers to watch and moreover have helped to advanced the very nature and quality of the medium with their postmodern narrative efforts via Virtual Virtual Reality. and now The Under Presents.

Using a terrific warpy-world pulling locomotion mechanic, dioramas, time-delayed self-cloning and all sorts of other tricks of the trade, The Under Presents is a haunting, hilarious, imaginative, deep and puzzling romp through wonderfully creative scenarios tied together by a plot that would make Italo Calvino proud. An essential if sometimes flummoxing VR experience.

Wander

Developer: Parkline Interactive, LLC
Publisher: Parkline Interactive, LLC
Website: http://www.parklineinteractive.com/
Release Date: May 21, 2019

Wander fills the very important gap for Quest left by the absence of Google Earth VR. It allows you to travel very smoothly through many awe-inspiring locations around the world, bookmark them, search them using voice or keyboard and learn a few fun facts along the way.

Far from as comprehensive as Google Earth but a rich and inspiring experience nonetheless, this is a beautiful thing to share with others, or just wander through alone, investigating many places you may never personally get to in your own life…or that may not be here much longer.

Dance Central

Developer: Harmonix Music Systems, Inc.
Publisher: Oculus Studios
Website: http://www.dancecentral.com/
Release Date: May 21, 2019

This port of the original console game from the makers of Rock Band is a perfect pairing for the tetherless and nimble Oculus Quest. While we do recommend getting one of the various aftermarket head-strap add-ons that better balance the weight of the headset, Dance Central will give you the fun of going to your own nightclub where you will make new friends and learn or practice some pretty great hip-hop moves.

The app also has a calorie tracker and pretty banging – although decidedly short – catalog of songs, which does include tracks from Cardi B, Flo Rida, Psy, Ellie Goulding, Salt-N-Pepa, Young MC, Chainsmokers and Chvrches. Unfortunately, it seems they do not have any new DLCs planned, and the forum link for song requests is broken at their support page, but this is by far one of our favorite little corners to hang out – and sweat it – out in VR.

Box VR

Developer: FitXR
Publisher: FitXR
Website: http://www.fitxr.com/
Release Date: May 21, 2019

If you want a workout you will feel in the morning and not just swing like a lunatic at your opponents – like in some boxing VR games – this one uses extremely precise movement to register your jabs, dodges, crosses and uppercuts. With a lot of music in various categorized genres, a professionally designed athletic program and a huge community, Box VR is a true fitness tool that you can use with some assurance that it takes into mind consistency, development and mitigating injury.

Of course, the ultimate responsibility is yours.