In part 3 of our ongoing series covering some of the most promising content to come out of the Oculus Mobile VR Jam, we take a look at three high-energy games from three very different game genres: real time strategy, first person shooter, and a new style of game called a “first bullet simulator.”
The final winners in the two category tracks—Games and Experiences—will be announced on June 3rd at 10:00am PDT. But don’t forget, you can vote for your favorite Mobile VR Jam app until May 27th, which will net a team $10,000 in cash and the title ‘Community’s Choice’.
We’ll be highlighting the titles we think show particular promise over the next couple of weeks until voting closes.
Tactera is a holographic tabletop RTS that puts you in a futuristic setting, making you feel like a space general commanding his forces on the planet below. The game is gaze-based and uses the touchpad as its only control scheme. E McNeill, the mind behind Darknet, is developing the title.
Your first task is to choose three unit classes that will be available to use throughout the skirmish as you take over enemy waystations and control strategic points on the map to secure supremacy. The demo suggests you go with bombers, fighters, and tanks to start out with, but units like zeppelins, artillery, and satellite strikes are greyed out, possibly to be made available with a future purchase of the full game.
Thankfully the unit classes assigned to each waystation regenerate automatically, so there’s no need to fuss with building or changing classes—but it essentially locks you into your choice as you move forwards (or backwards) across the game board. A simple tap will select your base, and another tap will assign the automatically generated unit of that base to wherever you need them.
The game was addictive, and simplified some of the standard RTS interactions to a minimum for the sake of VR (and your neck), but that doesn’t keep Tactera from being a fast-paced and fun title that will be an easy purchase if it ever hits the Gear VR store.
FPS’s in VR are tricky. There really isn’t a 100 percent comfortable way to do them yet, especially not with a standard game pad for input. But there are a few things you can do that can make for an enjoyable experience nonetheless, things that Crashland developer Llyr ap Cenydd nailed right on the head. Marooned space cadets, you’ll be needing a gamepad and a swivel chair for this one.
Crashland Reborn is a revamp of a DK1 game about which Road to VR’s Executive Editor Ben Lang had good things to say back in 2013. The game puts you on the surface of an uninhabited planet, save for the native population of blood thirsty giant spiders that you must kill to stay alive. Each dead spider, which is about the size of a Saint Bernard, or an inexplicably large cat, gives you points that you can spend on weapon upgrades and armor so you can take more than a slight grazing from the crab-walking horror shows.
A teleporting feature, which allows you to quickly travel a short distance away, can also help you dodge the beasties, but only so much. The game mechanic certainly cuts down on the constant running you would have to do to escape the giant spiders, and introduces a comfort mode that social apps like Altspace use as a regular locomotion options.
I didn’t make it the full 8 minutes, but that’s only because I’m a horrible shot with gamepads, and an all-around FPS weakling.
DRIFT is different, good different. France based game devs Aby Batti and Ferdinand Dervieux set the mood with a techno-opera track as you literally steer a bullet through a motionless tableau, like an expressive scene straight out of Inception (2010) or the Halo 3 ‘Believe’ commercial from 2007.
You control the bullet’s path by moving your head to dodge exploding scenery caught in still frame, around corridors and past a number of fight scenes taking place right before your eyes—and with a temporary ‘bullet time’ function that only gives you a limited time to slow down and make precise turns, you’ll have to make snap decisions as where to go.
Watch out for the objects, and innocent bystanders, because your target in DRIFT is a single person, highlighted in green that is usually hidden somewhere near the end of the level.
This demo features four style-soaked levels with hidden bonuses and enough sarcastic death screens to keep you gritting your teeth through to the finish.
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 4 of our round up.