9 Best New VR Games We Played At Oculus Connect 4
Marvel Powers United VR
Marvel Powers United VR is, as the name suggests, a game that lets you become different Marvel superheroes in VR. Developed by Sanzaru Games, the creators behind Oculus Rift games like Ripcoil and VR Sports Challenge, Marvel Powers United VR is a cooperative first-person brawler. From what I saw, there were roughly half a dozen characters to choose from. I picked the Hulk and played alongside three other people that chose Rocket Raccoon, Deadpool, and Thor. As the Hulk, I felt appropriately much bigger than my superhero companions, like I was at least 10 feet tall.
Our mission had us picking up and transporting batteries to a mechanical contraption in the middle of a large arena while fending off waves of enemy Kree. Once we brought enough batteries to the device, we had to defend it against hordes of the blue aliens. Loki eventually showed up as a boss, and as he had a lot of life and could zip around the arena, we had to band together to take him down.
As the Hulk, I could punch, charge, grab, and throw enemies. One aspect that I found a little disappointing was that I could pick up enemies, but I couldn’t slam them against walls. Hulk smash, no? Perhaps this issue can be resolved when Marvel Powers United VR comes out later next year.
Developed by Ubisoft Montpellier, Space Junkies is a multiplayer VR first-person shooter that plays like a blend between Quake and VR game Echo Arena. In the game, you’re able to quickly zip around in space and have a wide assortment of guns to choose from. The sci-fi weapons range from pistol blasters, to shotguns, to sniper rifles, and more. They all feel distinct and great. The shotguns and sniper rifles require two hands to hold and to reload, but you can also dual-wield pistols. You don’t have infinite ammo, however, and have to fly around to pick up new weapons once you’re out of bullets. If you’re confronted without ammo, the odds are definitely stacked against you, but Space Junkies also allows you to whip out a lightsaber-like weapon and a shield from your back for close-ranged attacks. You can also use the shield in conjunction with a one-handed gun like an SMG to get a mixture of offense and defense.
While many modern shooters automatically regenerate your health over time, Space Junkies keeps it old school with health packs spread throughout the levels. Speaking of the environments, I played one level that looked like a floating space station that’s reminiscent of something you might see in an Unreal Tournament game. The other level I played was trippy and had us zipping through what looked like giant sea anemones floating in space.
The game supports up to four players either in free-for-all or 2v2 modes. I played against three other players and it really felt like I was flying through alien-environments blasting other speedy astronauts. In its current state, Space Junkies is a lot of fun and shows a lot of potential. It launches in 2018.
Brass Tactics is a VR real-time strategy game from some of the creators behind Age of Empires II. You can play it against the AI or 1v1 with a human opponent. Like traditional RTS games, you have a base to defend and need to manage your forces to attack your opponent. You won’t have to worry about resource management since they generate over time.
To set the stage in VR, there’s a very large rectangular table in front of you that serves as the battlefield. There are nodes scattered throughout the map, which serve as points for you to plop new barracks down to form your army. You have many different barrack options that allow you to spawn archers, foot soldiers, tanks, and more. You can use your resources to increase the size of your army, build new structures that will upgrade your troops, and more.
Across the two maps that I played, there are multiple nodes and pathways scattered across the map. While you navigate most computer RTS games with a mouse, what makes Brass Tactics unique to VR is that you’ll need to pull and push the table around you with your Oculus Touch controllers to navigate the terrain. This can make it feel like you’re a floating general crawling across the map as you issue orders to your troops. You can get a taste for the action when Brass Tactics launches on February 22.
Developed by Vertigo Games, the creators behind VR zombie shooter Arizona Sunshine, Skyworld is a turn-based RPG/real-time strategy hybrid game. There’s a single player mode, but Skyworld also supports 1v1 multiplayer.
In the game, players sit in front of a large circular table and take turns fortifying their base. You can build new structures, which opens up new troop and ability cards you can later use in battle. Each player also has a hero unit, and when the hero units clash with the enemy on the board, combat ensues. When you’re in combat, the table in front of you completely flips upside down and the layout changes to a battlefield. Here is where you have access to the character cards you’ve been investing in during the turn-based portion of the game. You can summon these cards down onto the battlefield against your opponent in a fast-paced RTS battle. Skyworld launches today.
Red Matter is a sci-fi adventure/VR puzzle game. The premise is that you’re an astronaut exploring Mars. There is no shooting in Red Matter, but you’re equipped with a scanner that will allow you to search for environmental clues to progress through the game.
With my short time with it, I explored an abandoned space station, and looked for battery packs to power defunct doors. Red Matter feels like a modern-day point-and-click adventure game re-imagined for VR. It also has a Russian theme to it, which makes it feel like an homage to the Cold Wa-era cosmonaut aesthetics.
The Unspoken: Acolytes
While The Unspoken offered a fun 1v1 wizard-dueling experience when it was released late last year, it lacked a single-player campaign. Developer Insomniac Games is solving that this time around with The Unspoken: Acolytes. The upcoming single-player campaign still takes place in The Unspoken’s neon urban world, but now allows you to teleport from rooftop to rooftop as you chase evil wizards and fight demons along the way.
When I played a short demo of the game, I chased down a rogue wizard who was wreaking havoc on a metropolitan city. The game maintains its very Dr. Strange-like vibe and allows you to shoot fireballs and whip out your magical shield to reflect incoming enemy fire back at your foes.
In addition to delivering a story that contextualizes more of The Unspoken’s mythos, Acolytes aims to teach players how to use all the wizard classes and abilities to ease them into the multiplayer.
Acolytes is shaping up to fill a void that was missing from the original release. It will be free to all owners of the base game.
Blade Runner 2049: Memory Lab
Blade Runner 2049: Memory Lab is a free 20-30 minute VR experience that bridges the gap between the original 1982 film and Blade Runner 2049. While it’s light on gameplay, it isn’t a completely passive 360 video either.
The premise of Memory Lab is that you are a Blade Runner. Without giving too much away, it begins with you killing a suspect who may or may not be a replicant. The rest of the short experience involves you retracing your memories by re-living them from other perspectives.
In Memory Lab, you’ll use a scanner to look for clues, which opens up story sequences. Visually, the graphics look very impressive and realistic. It uses cutting-edge 3D photogrammetry to accurately model actors and sets to recreate the look of the Blade Runner world. One major issue we had with the tech is that since the actors’ performance are pre-captured, they aren’t able to directly look at you if you move out of their line of sight when they’re talking to you. Memory Lab comes out October 26.
Windlands 2 is perhaps the closest thing to a web-slinging Spider Man VR game yet. You are equipped with two grappling hooks on each hand and have to swing from tree to tree in a large fantasy environment.
The learning curve is steep, as you can only swing from certain designated areas and it’s easy to miss these targets. Once you get a good handle on the swinging mechanics, however, it can feel exhilarating as you zip through the air. If you miss a hook, though, you will virtually fall from great heights. As a result, Windlands 2 may not be the best game for those who easily suffer from VR motion sickness.
In addition to the swinging mechanics, you’re also equipped with a bow, which you’ll be able to use against the game’s various bosses. Visually, the game takes a page straight out of Zelda: Breath of the Wild with its colorful, slightly cel-shaded look. This is especially evident with the NPCs you’ll encounter throughout the game. You’ll be able to swing into action when Windlands 2 comes out next year.
Actor Elijah Wood teamed up with Ubisoft to develop Transference. In the psychological horror game, you play a character who suffers from PTSD. I played a demo that lasted roughly 15 minutes and explored a creepy, dimly-lit house. With the flip of certain light switches, I could jump between the years 1993 and 2002. In one time zone, a shadowy kid runs out from the halls and tells me that I do not belong there. Exploring the rest of the house, I came across jump scares that involved ghostlike apparitions quickly walking down the halls. When I went into the basement, I saw a man with his back turned towards me working on a table off in the distance. Then all of a sudden, he teleports right in front of my face and shoots me with his shotgun. Without giving away too much of the demo, Transference is shaping up to be an unsettling, trippy experience that touches upon themes of murder and suicide.