Category Archives: Oculus Game Reviews

Raccoon Lagoon game screenshot courtesy official site

Top Oculus Game Releases – July 2019

While many were justifiably excited about the release of Oculus Quest, it carried over the same problem of a lack of content. Some might call it the Beat Saber toy. Then we had the controversy around Oculus’ aggressively “curatorial” stance, which was accused of being overly like a walled garden that shunned experimental, indie or otherwise unproven titles. Going into month two and three, however, we are starting to see some interesting new titles pop up, and blow through a much needed air of novelty and refreshment. Here are some of our top picks.

Defector

from Twisted Pixel

Incorporating a little of every sort of action – from high tech gun play to down-and-dirty fisticuffs – as well as stealth, deception and even psychological warfare, Defector is a plot-driven spy thriller with multiple diverse missions.

While some of the promotional material compares this to Mission Impossible, the combination of futuristic weaponry and Middle Eastern setting had us thinking of George Alec Effinger’s stories set in the Arabic cyberpunk metropolis of Budayeen.

In any case, this is a polished FPS action experience for VR players looking for something a bit more meaningful than wave or rail shooters, and its setting is close enough to the “real world” to make its action all the more immersive.

Oculus Rift, Oculus Rift S | 25 GB | $19.99 from Oculus

Journey of the Gods

from Turtle Rock Studios

We’ve all been on our fare share of heroic fantasy quests where the fate of the very world itself hangs in the balance, but we’ve never seen one that looks quite like Journey of the Gods.

This game’s bizarre vistas and weird, angular – and occasionally tentacled – inhabitants are as far from the usual elves and dragons as you can get, with color schemes and creature designs drawing less from the usual European myth than from recent indie games like Hyper Light Drifter and even Sundered.

No doubt the titular Journey of the Gods – and the related quest to save the world or whatever – is plenty compelling, but the setting alone is worth giving this one a look.

Oculus Rift, Oculus Quest | 970 MB | $29.99 from Oculus

Raccoon Lagoon

from Hidden Path Entertainment

Raccoon Lagoon game screenshot courtesy official site
Raccoon Lagoon – screenshot courtesy official site

Based on the title, I was expecting Raccoon Lagoon – from the same studio behind Defense Grid and Brass Tactics – to be nonstop trash pandas. It isn’t, but my disappointment wore off quickly when I realized that it’s actually an incredibly charming farm simulation for VR.

The relaxing rural chores of the Harvest Moon series combine with cute, Pokemon-inspired creatures and a pastoral island setting that gives you plenty to do but doesn’t hurry you along.

This is VR gaming at its most relaxing; go on quests, turn your island into a thriving home…or just take off and spend the day fishing.

Oculus Rift S, Oculus Quest | (COMING SOON)

Accounting+

from Crows Crows Crows

So happy to see the continued success of the wacky stuff: Accounting+ comes with tremendous game dev pedigree – William Pugh (The Stanley Parable), Dominik Johann (Minit) and Justin Roiland (Rick and Morty).

The game started as a jam, but has ballooned/blossomed into a much bigger experience in its two years. It also has a killer soundtrack. Give yourself a little Dada, Po-Mo joy and hop into this zany world. You will laugh. Your mouth will be agape. You will swim in meta. Just do it. Account.

Oculus Quest, Rift, Rift S | 1.93 GB | $11.99 from Oculus

Gravity Sketch

from Gravity Sketch

Excited to see this exacting design tool get the Oculus Quest port treatment. Of course, we don’t like having to pay for stuff a second or third time for device-specificity, but at the same time, we know that devs, investors and Facebook/Oculus have spent money on not only making these ports but improving the experiences in the process. We also note that slowly the prices are coming down from their nose-bleed heights and many of these tools/games are now quite affordable – about the cost of a lunch for two.

Gravity Sketch is not just another Tiltbrush or Quill – it is geared towards creating detailed models, scenes and artwork that can be exported into other design tools, CAD software, game engines, or 3D printing platforms.

It will be amazing to see what the combo of this kind of design software can do when combined with tetherless, free roaming hardware.

Oh and did we mention that it’s a tiny download?

Oculus Quest, Rift, Rift S | 121.6 MB | $29.99 from Oculus

What VR games did you play this month (excluding Beat Saber)?

Top 5 Oculus Releases – Jan. 27th-February 2nd – Sails, Six-Guns and Steampunk

A little of everything this week, from third-person action to sailing sims. And instead of the usual generic wave shooters, fans of VR gun-play – and bow-play, for that matter – have an embarrassment of riches to choose from, with several new games arriving that actually manage to innovate with new approaches to storytelling, locomotion and the shooting itself:

VR Regatta – The Sailing Game

from MarineVerse

VR Regatta - The Sailing Game - screenshot courtesy Steam
VR Regatta – The Sailing Game – screenshot courtesy Steam

One of the things we love about VR is how it can let us experience things we might not otherwise have access to. For VR players without memberships at their local yacht clubs, there’s VR Regatta, a realistic sailing simulator that’s been garnering positive Steam reviews from both gamers and actual sailors.

The fact that this one isn’t recommended for players susceptible to motion sickness probably goes without saying.

Oculus Rift | $14.99 from Steam

Cold Iron

Catch & Release, LLC

Cold Iron game screenshot courtesy Steam
Cold Iron – screenshot courtesy Steam

The opposite side of the wave shooter coin, Cold Iron is a dueling game: instead of endless waves of enemies, players outdraw and gun down opponents one at a time.

While the drawing and shooting mechanics are garnering positive reviews, we’re also intrigued by the narrative thread and its “Weird West” setting – basically cowboy stuff with supernatural elements – which we’re betting has a good chance at overtaking steampunk as the fantasy setting du jour.

Oculus Rift | 3 GB | $19.99 from Oculus or from Steam

Seek & Destroy – Steampunk Arcade

from GamestormVR

Seek & Destroy - Steampunk Arcade - screenshot courtesy Steam
Seek & Destroy – Steampunk Arcade – screenshot courtesy Steam

And speaking of steampunk, Seek & Destroy – Steampunk Arcade gives you all the brass robots, gear-driven mechanisms and Tesla-inspired lightning gloves you could possibly hope for, if you’re a fan of science fiction Victoriana. At heart it’s a wave shooter, but with level names like “Panic in the Streets of London” and “Kick in the Crown Jewels,” we like that it doesn’t take itself too seriously.

It’s also compatible with the 3dRudder foot controller to make dodging steam-driven automatons all the more realistic.

Oculus Rift | 8 GB | $5.99 from Steam

KIN

from House of Secrets

KIN game screenshot courtesy official site
KIN – screenshot courtesy official site

Previously released on Gear VR, this overhead-view platformer set on an alien planet marks developers House of Secrets’ leap from VR music videos to games proper.

Both the combat and the 3D puzzle-solving in KIN look engaging, and we particularly like the contrast between the light, airy quality of the main character – and the enemies she encounters – and the clunky but colorful low-poly environments to explore.

Oculus Rift | 8 GB | $14.99 from Oculus

Down to Dungeon

from Far North Entertainment

Down to Dungeon game screenshot courtesy Oculus
Down to Dungeon – screenshot courtesy Oculus

Simple cartoonish graphics belie the depth of this fast-paced dungeon crawler for Gear VR. Played from a third-person overhead perspective, Down to Dungeon offers plenty of procedurally generated levels and hordes of enemies to dispatch – not to mention loads of loot – for discerning action RPG fans.

Gear VR | 205 MB | $2.99 from Oculus

Other Noteworthy Oculus Releases

In Death

from Solfar Studios

In Death game screenshot courtesy Steam
In Death – screenshot courtesy Steam

This Early Access archery game interests us both with its innovative approach to VR locomotion in VR – involving teleportation arrows fired from the same bow used to dispatch enemies – and its gothic architecture.

Oculus Rift | 6 GB | $19.99 from Oculus or from Steam

In the Cloud: VR Afterlife

from Future Lighthouse

In the Cloud: VR Afterlife game screenshot courtesy Oculus
In the Cloud: VR Afterlife – screenshot courtesy Oculus

Somewhere between in interactive vignette and a short film, In the Cloud: VR Afterlife is an excursion into cyberpunk/transhumanist paranoia that will appeal to those of us who used to read Mondo 2000.

Gear VR | 65 MB | FREE from Oculus

Baby Hands

from Chicken Waffle

Baby Hands game screenshot courtesy Steam
Baby Hands – screenshot courtesy Steam

Almost literally a sandbox, Baby Hands lets you fill the shoes – and tiny, destructive hands – of a toddler. Family-friendly but legitimately funny, given all the options for mayhem available even now in Early Access.

Oculus Rift | 5 GB | $24.99 from Steam

Check back next week for more Oculus releases.

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