It's like the holodeck for your living room
Will you side with the Oculus Rift, the HTC Vive, PlayStation VR or another one of the VR headsets coming to gaming platforms? It's a difficult question to answer, especially when most consumers haven't had hands on time with any VR yet. But there are some stark differences between the headsets' offerings. The Vive's room sensors and motion controls make for a much more active experience than many of its competitors, because you can actually walk around and use your own body to play games.
The Vive isn't going to be cheap. With a price point of $799, its not exactly an impulse buy. But the headset aims to change your living room into new gaming worlds and to do that, developers are creating plenty of unique experiences built specifically for the headset. What exactly will those new worlds and experiences be like? That's what we're here to answer.
The Gallery - Episode 1: Call of the Starseed
It seems episodic games won't be a stranger to VR. In Call of the Starseed, you wander around a mysterious island solving puzzles, but not obvious puzzles like you'd see in The Witness. This game's puzzles will have you finding ways to ring a bell to signal a lighthouse keeper or discovering how to unlock a secured chest - more real-world problem solving. Every action is done with the Vive's motion controls, giving you direct control of your character's hands, and the ability to pick up objects, and even throw them around if you want to.
Fantastic Contraption is a builder game that allows you to manipulate the world around you with your own hands. Using the HTV Vive's motion controls, you walk around a 3D space and can interact with and grab objects lying about the virtual world. You must take basic objects like pipes and rolling jugs - which can be extended, expanded, or shrunk down then attached together - to craft machines that can carry a sphere into a designated, colored area. The game looks like it can be entertaining to play alone, but also seems to excel as an exciting party game.
Budget cuts shows what it would be like to be a spy with a portal gun. Using the Vive's motion controllers, you must use the one-to-one movement controls to navigate your way through highly secured enemy bases. But instead of crawling through ventilation systems and manually sneaking through the halls, you relocate by shooting the floor with the teleportation gun. This enables you to do things like open portals in walls, fire through the hole, and materialize on the other side. Pretty slick.
In Hover Junkers you explore a desolated wasteland in a hovering ship that conveniently has the walking space that would fit in a living room. You engage in small arms firefights from the cover of your own hovership as you face opponents who are similarly equipped. As you progress through the world, you will find parts and equipment that you can add to your ship including defensive walls, turrets, and other devices that will help you fight off attackers. The game features a mulitplayer mode that lets you compete against other players and their junkers as you try to gun them down with a variety of handguns.
Not every game has to drop you into some mysterious world or give you one-to-one control over an arsenal of weapons; some games let your express your creative side. Tilt Brush does just that - giving you a blank, virtual canvas to create a 3D art piece. The tools appear similar to any you would find in a typical art program, but instead of looking at your art on a screen, you can actually step inside your illustration, walk around it, or view it from just about any perspective.
Job Simulator: The 2050 Archives
The title pretty much explains what you're getting here. Job Simulator reproduces what it was like to have a job in a time when robots have taken all labor responsibilities. The year is 2050 and you have a chance to mimic the bland, soul-sucking employment opportunities humans used to experience in real life. See what it was like to slave in the kitchen to serve up meals, become a company drone in an office cubicle, or deal with unruly customers as a convenience store clerk.
What would a new generation of VR games be without the chance to face the walking dead? While most games would have you running away from a horde of undead zombies, Arizona Sunshine has you stand your ground at stations spread across the Arizona desert and shoot whatever comes shambling your way. It may sound simple, but the fun is in the details and one-to-one gun controls. You'll need to make the motions of loading magazines into your gun to reload, place new magazines in ammo pockets, and physically aim each shot.
It's minigolf. Not much to expect from that, right? Not quite. Cloudlands Minigolf is less about the way you follow through with your swing, and more about navigating the complex contraptions and puzzles around the seemingly simple game of 18 holes. The holes require you to inspect your surroundings as you plan your putt, using the Vive to calculate shot angles. Cloudlands Minigolf also makes use of the Vive's motion controls, putting your putting chops to the test.
Space Pirate Trainer
Another shooter for the list, but this one takes place IN SPAAAACE. In Space Pirate Trainer you will need to survive as many rounds as possible as you fight off waves of flying enemies with a variety of laser guns and projectile-blocking shields. You can duel-wield any combination of weapons, whether that be a shield and automatic pistol in either hand, two charge shot guns, or double laser-reflecting shields.
From the developers of Audiosurf comes a game that turns your music library into an interactive rhythm game. Audioshield will turn any MP3 in your library into a game level. While playing a level, you have a blue and orange shield in either hand and must block the corresponding blue or orange orbs that come your way. As you block the orbs to the beat with the motion controls, you end up, effectively dancing to the beat.