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
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
Catch & Release, LLC
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
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
from House of Secrets
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
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
from Solfar Studios
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
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
from Chicken Waffle
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.