Category Archives: Best Oculus Games

Top 5 Oculus Releases – November 10th-16th – Slime, Stealing and Strategy

This week’s top five Oculus releases incorporate a little of everything, from cooperative heists to alien agriculture. There’s also plenty on offer for mobile VR users – no Rift required.

Slime Rancher: VR Playground

from Monopark

Slime Rancher: VR Playground game screenshot courtesy Steam
Slime Rancher: VR Playground – screenshot courtesy Steam

We loved the original version of this game – so much that we named it 2017’s Game of the Year on our sister site – so of course we’re beyond excited about the VR version.

A cute farming simulator inspired by classic JRPGs that – at least for us – can turn into an unsettling metaphor for industrial agriculture surprisingly quickly, Slime Rancher is fascinating and addicting.

Its simple “suck and blow” mechanic (using a vacuum tool) is easy to pick up and belies the complexities at play beneath the surface as herds of slimes eat, breed and mutate.

A big part of the fun is exploration the wilderness around your ranch, and Slime Rancher: VR is a stand-alone experience letting you explore three of its environments. While it doesn’t include a full implementation of the entire game, there’s plenty to suck and blow, and the focus seems to be more on the relaxing and exploring elements than the factory farming bit, which is fine with us.

Oculus Rift | 1 GB | FREE from Steam to owners of the original game

Crow: The Legend

from Baobab Studios

Crow: The Legend - screenshot courtesy Oculus
Crow: The Legend – screenshot courtesy Oculus

Directed by Eric Darnell (best known for Madagascar), this week’s most hyped VR release is an animated retelling of a Native American legend and featuring the voice of Oprah Winfrey, John Legend and Constance Wu, among others and was featured at Cannes.

Oculus Rift | 6.6 GB | FREE from Oculus
Oculus Go | 1.9 GB | FREE from Oculus
Gear VR | 1.9 GB | FREE from Oculus

Covert

from White Elk

Covert game screenshot courtesy Oculus
Covert – screenshot courtesy Oculus

A clever two-person cooperative concept based on heist movies, Covert makes good use of an asymmetric dynamic in a similar vein as Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes. The VR player is the thief, physically breaking in to highly guarded locations, while a non-VR player acts as the hacker, breaking into the security systems to assist the thief in getting away with the goods.

Crawl acrobatically through laser grids like Catherine Zeta-Jones in Entrapment! Hack like the hackers in Hackers! Live out other film-based fantasies, maybe even from movies that came out past the 1990s!

Oculus Go | 2.1 GB | $9.99 from Oculus
Gear VR | 2.1 GB | $9.99 from Oculus

Voxel Fly

from Cenek Strichel

Voxel Fly game screenshot courtesy Oculus
Voxel Fly – screenshot courtesy Oculus

We’re suckers for well-made, old-fashioned shoot-’em-ups, and Voxel Fly combines the entomological science fiction aesthetic of classics like Space Invaders and Yars’ Revenge with a voxel-based, blocky approach to graphics that’s one part Zaxxon and two parts Zenzizenzic.

Honestly, you had us at “space bugs,” but multiple game modes and different ships to select – from classic space fighters to blimps – just add to the fun.

Oculus Go | 56.2 GB | $1.99 from Oculus

Voronium – Locus Sols

from Gamalocus Studios

Voronium - Locust Sols game screenshot courtesy Steam
Voronium – Locust Sols – screenshot courtesy Steam

We’re also suckers for well-made tower defense games, in or out of VR, and Voronium – Locus Sols definitely delivers on that front. Combining tower defense and FPS mechanics with a science fiction narrative, this is a solid blend of strategy and action.

Oculus Rift | 5.5 GB | $14.99 from Oculus or from Steam

Top 3 Oculus Experiences at FIVARS 2018

OGR attended this year’s FIVARS Festival of International Virtual & Augmented Reality Stories in Toronto, Canada and found a curated collection of new narrative works for Virtual Reality, roomscale, 360 video, holography and augmented reality.

Of course we wanted to cover the new ideas coming in from around the world for the Oculus platform so here are our three top picks:

Battlescar

directed by Nico Casavecchia and Martin Allais

Battlescar film screenshot courtesy official site
Battlescar – screenshot courtesy official site

Winner of the Grand Jury prize, this pumping punk rock diary is brought to life through lighting, a killer soundtrack, a performance voiced by Rosario Dawson and use of dioarama, decoupage and other artistic techniques as ported to a CG VR context. This first episode is an amazing visual feast that feels like a cross between a Ramones music video and an off Broadway play, set in the 1970’s in Alphabet City. We’re looking forward to the next installments.

Oculus Rift | Produced by Atlas V in co-production with 1STAveMachine, Fauns and Arte France in association with Kaleidoscope

Mel’s Wake

directed by Luisa Valencia

Mel's Wake game poster

From the developers behind “We Happy Few” comes an ambitious experiment in branching spherical video narrative. While still under development, Mel’s Wake has you in the role of a ghost at her own funeral, eavesdropping on various characters from her life. Which way you look affects the way conversations unfold in realtime. At the end you are shown what characters you most interacted with/fixated upon. This could form the basis for very interesting future content.

Oculus Rift | Produced by Signal Space Lab

Where Thoughts Go

by Lucas Rizzoto

Where Thoughts Go game screenshot courtesy Oculus
Where Thoughts Go – screenshot courtesy Oculus

We are always on the lookout for people using the tech in new ways, and Lucas Rizzoto’s intimate piece does just that – over several chapters you are asked philosophical or personal questions. Reaching out into one of several dreamy environments, you grasp onto a cute floating sphere (with eyes) and here someone respond to the question – for example: “what did you want to be when you grew up?” After doing several of these, you are invited to grip both triggers and record your own. You are anonymous of course, and, at the festival this was supported by having you in a curtained off tent with little glowing lights and pillows, where you sat on a shag carpet. Your recording is then sent off into the virtual and literal cloud to join the growing number of others. A beautiful and clever exercise.

Oculus Rift | Produced by Where Thoughts Go | $9.99 via Oculus

Top 5 Oculus Releases – July 29th-August 10th – Megastars and Mental Health

Another couple of weeks’ worth of top Oculus releases! This time around, we’ve got larger than life experiences about saving the world (or just saving a music festival’s vibe with some sick beats) sandwiched between more contemplative meditations on love and mental illness.

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice

from Ninja Theory

Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice game screenshot courtesy Steam
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice – screenshot courtesy Steam

A thoughtful and intense exploration of mental illness by way of a hack-and-slash adventure set in the Norse underworld, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice was one of our sister site’s Top Indie Games of 2017.

Both its brooding atmosphere and its use of multi-layered narration – representing the auditory hallucinations and self-doubt of a psychotic episode – coupled with an notably excellent motion and facial capture animation process, helped make this a moody work of genius.

Adding VR implementation is the perfect enhancement of its themes and one of the rare times that speaking of VR as a means of guiding players toward embodied understanding actually makes sense.

A warning, though: just with headphones on, this game was intense to the point of disturbing. The added experience of playing it in VR may be too much for some players.

Oculus Rift | 30 GB | $29.99 from Steam

Electronauts

from Survios

Electronauts game screenshot courtesy Steam
Electronauts – screenshot courtesy Steam

A hyper-designed DJ simulation for electronic dance enthusiasts, Electronauts thinks of everything.

More a musical tool than a game, this experience offers easy song transitions (no worries of beat-matching train wrecks here), remixing and VR-exlusive digital instruments to let aspiring stars create their own arrangements. If you’ve always thought that people like Tiesto and Steve Aoki had a much easier job than they let on, now’s your chance to prove it.

And while the graphics are decidedly vaporwave – not that we have a problem with neon, mind you – the included music is definitely modern, including the likes of The Chainsmokers and DJ Shadow. What Electronauts gets right is that that if favors energy and and flow over literalism. An excellent immersive offering.

Oculus Rift | 2 GB | $19.99 from Oculus or from Steam

Pixel Ripped 1989

from ARVORE Immersive Games, Inc.

Pixel Ripped 1989 game screenshot courtesy Steam
Pixel Ripped 1989 – screenshot courtesy Steam

If our previous game borrowed a bit from the ‘80s with its look, Pixel Ripped 1989 embraces that decade wholeheartedly. Rubik’s Cubes and Nintendo nostalgia abound in this paean to an earlier era of games.

Its central concept, however, is cutting edge: it’s AR completely within VR, putting players in the role of a little girl with a portable video game device (it’s not quite a Nintendo Gameboy). As the reality from the game she’s playing spills out into her own, she’ll team up with her own game’s protagonist to save both worlds.

It’s a unique and clever use of VR that manages to be self-referential and meta without bashing you over the head about how smart it thinks it is. The setting is just the cherry on top of the sundae, presuming Ready Player One and Stranger Things haven’t burnt you out on ‘80s references by now.

Oculus Rift | 3 GB | $24.99 from Oculus or from Steam

Megaton Rainfall

from Pentadimensional Games, SL

Megaton Rainfall game screenshot courtesy Steam
Megaton Rainfall – screenshot courtesy Steam

Starting with a gloriously over the top premise – you’re playing as a superhero who lobs bombs at giant Independence Day-inspired flying saucers – Megaton Rainfall excels at its sense of scale and detail.

Despite a comparatively short story-driven campaign, there’s as much fun to be had here simply flying off into the wild blue yonder and exploring the universe as there is in defending earthly cities from space invaders.

Oculus Rift | 1.6 MB | $14.99 from Oculus or $15.99 from Steam

Anamorphine

from Artifact 5

Anamorphine game screenshot courtesy Steam
Anamorphine – screenshot courtesy Steam

Bringing things in a more earthly direction, Anamorphine isn’t about saving the world, just about dealing with depression and guilt.

The approach to story that the Artifact 5 team has taken, however – wordless narrative comprised of dreamlike and surrealist images to represent the memories of the game’s protagonist – have garnered this release numerous awards, and it’s been a featured selection at IndieCade, E3 and PAX East.

Oculus Rift | 10.4 GB | $19.99 from Steam