This week’s top Oculus releases focus more on mind than reflexes, literally and figuratively. Twist your brain in the VR sequel to one of the greatest comedic adventures of all time, set your brain to work as a virtual city planner, or just relax with some paper airplanes:
Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin
from Double Fine Productions and React Games
The beloved team of youthful psychics is back with an all-new adventure, initially released as a PSVR exclusive and now available for the Rift. Exclusive to VR and serving as a bridge between the original classic and its forthcoming sequel, Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin picks up right where the first Psychonauts game left off.
Featuring some interesting control choices – like using your head to pick up and manipulate objects instead of your hands, in a simulation of telekinesis – this abounds with tricky puzzles that will push both your logic and your psychic abilities to their limits.
More importantly, it’s got the signature writing and twisted humor we’ve come to expect from Double Fine Productions in general and this series in particular.
from Plethora-Project and General Arcade
Another expansion of an existing – and award-winning – game concept into virtual space, Block’hood VR puts a 3D spin on the original game’s ecologically-focused, voxel-based approach to the city-building sim.
Players will still build neighborhoods using a block-based system that requires careful thought not only of each section’s own qualities but those of surrounding blocks, and the use of VR space gives each choice and combination even more impact.
from Vitei Backroom
If psychic puzzles and ecological urban planning is making your head hurt, why not relax by tossing some paper airplanes in an idyllic wooded vale? Paper Valley is a meditative experience that still offers puzzles as tossed paper airplanes help to reveal a lost civilization – a bit like Myst gone papercraft.
Its combination of simple mechanics and tranquil environments netted developers Vitei Backroom a Famitsu Media Highlight Award at last year’s BitSummit in Japan.
Oculus Rift | 657 MB | $19.99 from Oculus
Not all this week’s releases are slow-paced – Fibre is far from it, in fact – but this combination of rail shooter and endless runner for Gear VR is incredibly meditative once you get into the rhythm of it. Stark, abstract graphics inspired by data packets on a network also make this a far different experience than the robot and zombie games more typical of the genre.
Gear VR | 130 MB | $2.99 from Oculus
3D Mahjong Worlds
from PixelBrain Studio
A favorite casual game genre – the venerable Mahjong solitaire tile game – makes its way to the Oculus. UK developer PixelBrain Studio previously released a similar game for mobile VR, and the experience served them well. This is a simple idea executed extremely well, bringing the relaxing puzzle-solving and hypnotic tile-clicks into a more immersive space.