Oculus’ Mobile VR Jam has garnered over 300 entries vying for over $1,000,000 in cash prizes, and that means the competition to deliver immersive content for Gear VR is as stiff as they come. In part one of a regular series, we take a look at 3 hopeful entrants that have caught our eyes at Road to VR.
The deadline for developers to submit final games and applications to the first Mobile VR Jam has now come and gone. As developers fall into a coma-like slumber and flush Red Bull from their systems, it falls to the community to judge which submissions deserve a share of the $1,020,000 prize fund.
Public voting is open from May 12-27th, and final winners in the two category tracks—Games and Experiences/Apps—will be announced on June 3rd at 10:00am PDT.
We’ll be highlighting the titles we think show particular promise over the next couple of weeks until voting closes. Without further ado, here are our first 3 selections.
Technolust: Thought Crimes
Technolust: Thought Crimes is a game set in the same bleak and impressively cohesive cyberpunk neo-noir world of Technolust, the Kickstarter-funded VR adventure that has taken inspiration from works of fiction such as Blade Runner(1982), Neuromancer (1984), and Robocop (1987).
In Technolust: Thought Crimes, developers Blair Renaud and Mark Schramm weave an intriguing tale of pre-crime madness that puts you in a dingy high-rise hacker den. The task: to scrub the city’s multiple CCTV cameras for clues, issue warrants for known suspects, and steer the very fabric of time away from an impending EMP bomb that threatens to wipe out the city. How quickly you can string together the suspects, and change the course of the crime ultimately determine your score in the end.
Thought Crimes takes a little while to figure out, but once you do, you’ll be torn between the immersive, visual feast of the inside world and the drama unfolding before you on the cluster of monitors connecting you to the outside world. The fully animated photoscanned NPC’s with realistic social animations don’t hurt either.
In the game SMS Racing, maintaining rich and connective dialogue like “lululuz” and “u mad bro” is important, but don’t let it distract you too much as you drive full speed around one of two race tracks. Like the app says, “it’s easier to repair your car than your friendships,” so you better text everyone back within the allotted time or you’ll be automatically disqualified from the race at hand.
The controls are simple and are decidedly more arcade style than on the driving sim-end of the spectrum, but the challenge actually lies in sending multi-word texts using the gamepad’s XYAB buttons while not crashing into other cars.
Colosse: A Story in Virtual Reality
We silently observe a spearfisher standing ankle-deep in the arctic waters, his attention caught by a tiny scuttling crab—a clever foreshadowing of what’s to come. He positions for the pounce, but suddenly out of nowhere a stoney giant looms overhead, absentmindedly smashing ice and rock. Our spearfisher flees, taking us with him to witness what comes next…
Competing in the Experience/App portion of the Jam, Colosse seems to be taking stylistic notes from Hayao Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli. With its highly stylized environment and level of pensive intention soaked into every step our nameless protagonist, we are transported to a magical world where giants roam the earth, carrying along with them shining, mysterious crystals.
All of this comes as to no surprise, considering one of the minds behind the project is Nick Pittom (aka ‘Red of Paw‘), a Miyazaki fan and creator of a number of made-for-VR scenes from Spirited Away (2001) and Totoro (1988). The dynamic visual style of Colosse was created by Kevin Dart, working along with Jasmin Lai. The nameless spearfisher was created by Eran Hilleli. We can’t wait to see more from the team!
We’ll be covering as many titles as possible right up until the winners are announced on June 3rd. In the mean time, don’t forget to vote for your favourites right here and stay tuned for part 2 of our round up.