Loads of VR drum offerings are coming out all at once for some reason, and we picked a couple of the most interesting to feature in this week’s new Oculus releases. Don’t fancy picking up the sticks? Get behind the wheel of a race car. Or you could try falling in love…
Into the Rhythm VR
by NTWO Studio Co., Ltd.
Into the Rhythm VR is a drumming rhythm game in the vein of the Rock Band series (or at least the drummer’s part in the Rock Band series). Use your Oculus Touch Controllers as your sticks and bash along to the rhythm; you probably shouldn’t do that thing where you twirl them into the air, though.
What impresses us isn’t so much the game concept, but the level of customization and editing available. Players not only can adjust and customize game difficulty, drum placement and stages, but the program comes with two editors for inserting your own music and even creating your own drum patterns. It’s probably not going to turn you into Neil Peart, but the composition options in place are a lot more than we’d expect from a typical rhythm game.
Oculus Rift | 3 GB | $19.99 from Steam
Fall in Love
by Moth + Flame
Designed by Moth + Flame, the studio responsible the VR music video for Taylor Swift’s “Style,” Fall in Love is based on “The 36 Questions that Lead to Love,” an essay by Mandy Len Catron – itself based on a psychological study by SUNY Stony Brook professor Arthur Aron – about a series of questions designed to lead to the sensation of falling in love.
We’re not entirely sure that either AI or VR is quite ready to lead to a Her scenario, but the concept – in which players choose an actor and then experience the 36 questions using voice recognition software – is a fascinating experiment in simulated intimacy.
Oculus Rift | 7.5 GB | FREE from the Oculus Store
Tombé Drums VR
by Chroma Coda
Yes, it’s another drum simulator! Tombé Drums, though, seems more oriented toward people that already have some musical experience – it’s a drums-only offshoot of The Music Room, developer Chroma Coda’s VR MIDI controller.
This program won’t interface directly with a digital audio workstation the way The Music Room does, but it will let players bang virtually on dozens of accurately scanned drums and cymbals in such locations as Australia’s famed Bakehouse Studio.
Oculus Rift | 1 GB | $19.99 from Steam
Project CARS 2
by Slightly Mad Studios
The sequel to the popular auto racing sim, Project CARS 2 features more cars, more racing styles – like rallycross and IndyCar – plus a complete 24-hour day and night cycle and weather effects. Given that the first game was praised for its realism – not to mention the fact that this is shipping VR-ready right out of the gate – this could be the most immersive motorsport game ever released.
That said, the VR version of the original was a little strange to handle, and we missed having the proper steering wheel and accelerator/brake peripherals, though having them would make this that much more immersive.
Oculus Rift | 50 GB | $59.99 from Steam
XING: The Land Beyond
by White Lotus Interactive
A deliberately slow-paced and atmospheric puzzle game, XING: The Land Beyond is a contemplative journey into the afterlife. With its ethereal environments inspired by both real-world locations and games like the Myst series, this offering highlights the imaginative beauty VR can provide.
Other Noteworthy Oculus Releases:
Where’s Om Nom?
The colorful mascot from the popular Cut the Rope series of mostly-mobile puzzle games makes his way to mobile VR. Where’s Om Nom? is more of a hidden objects game than its physics puzzle predecessors, but it retains the candy-feeding mechanic and the almost unbearable cuteness of previous entries in the series.
Gear VR | 411 MB | $4.99 from the Oculus Store
Serious Sam VR: The Last Hope
by Croteam VR
Serious Sam series developers Croteam have been at this for a long time, first designing their own engines for the classic FPS games, and then moving to VR early this year. We know that there are a lot of shooters coming out for VR and that few of them are particularly noteworthy, but the HD VR ports of the original games released earlier this year were well reviewed, so we think this is worth a look.
Serious Sam VR: The Last Hope is an original game, rather than an adaptation, and it’s a standing wave shooter, but if anyone’s going to make that genre worth playing, it’s the people at Croteam.
Eternity Warriors VR
Given that it’s a standing wave shooter adaptation of a free-to-play mobile RPG series, we didn’t have high expectations for Eternity Warriors VR, but this game has already won numerous awards for its graphics. We have to admit, even in Early Access, its monsters are awfully impressive.
Oculus Rift | 10 GB | $14.99 from Steam
Aside from drum simulators and the ever-present wave shooters, there are also a few new noteworthy educational experiences out this week. Virry Safari is a 45-minute exploration of the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Kenya for both Oculus Rift and Gear VR that includes close-up encounters with lions, baboons, elephants and more; all that’s missing are the smells.
If you prefer art and architecture to wild animals, two new offerings for Gear VR may be of interest. Wonders of the World allows players to explore the Colossus of Rhodes, the Taj Mahal and the Incan city of Machu Picchu, while Meeting Rembrandt: Master of Reality offers a free encounter with the Dutch master.
Several new workspace platforms also came out for Oculus this week, with Cisco Systems releasing the beta version of Spark in VR and newcomer mindmeld.io releasing their Holomeld platform. There’s also Neutrans, a more playful-looking shared space from Dopamine developers Synamon, Inc. that has the advantage of being free to use.
Be sure to check back next week for more exciting Oculus news and a curated selection of recent games and experiences.