Coming to our 6th and final installment of our series covering some of the most promising content to come out of the Oculus Mobile VR Jam, we take a look at a mix of games and experiences that not only focus on a cohesive experience, but also employ innovative visual styles.
Finalists of the Oculus Mobile VR Jam have been announced! Winners in the jam’s two category tracks—Games and Experiences—will be announced on June 3rd at 10:00am PDT. Here we continue a look at our favorites, find the other parts of this series here:
- Part 1: Technolust, SMS Racing, Colosse
- Part 2: NeoS The Universe, House of Languages, Inside the Human Body
- Part 3: Tactera, Crashland, DRIFT
- Part 4: Scorched Battalion, Pulsar Arena, Sherlock Holmes
- Part 5: Telescopic, Tana Pura, SoundScape
Mixing 3D action with traditional 2D sidescrolling platformer mechanics is a good way to give an old genre a new look, and if that’s where Phase Shift decided to end things, then we’d have a standard game on our hands. A good game, a very pretty game, but standard nonetheless. But with the addition of a time warping window, driven by the protagonist Dr. Hoffman, “a brilliant chemist who, as a result of a breakthrough discovery – accidentally synthesizes a compound which activates latent receptors within the human brain,” we’re left with something much more.
Phase Shift recalls an earlier era of point-and-click classics like Indian Jones and the Fate of Atlantis (1992), but changes things with Dr. Hoffman’s acquired “interdimensional lens” that allows him to switch between realms. And because Phase Shift uses the gamepad, you’ll be running, jumping, clicking, and shifting all at the same time as you help Dr. Hoffman reveal the secrets of his world and his time-shifting abilities.
I left Phase Shift (quite predictably) wanting more. More story. More mystery. More everything so I could keep reliving the simpler days of my youth sat in front of a wonky CRT, but still being able to keep my attention with the innovative mechanic that can only exist in VR.
The Night Cafe – And Immersive Tribute to Vincent Van Gogh
The Night Cafe is an experience that lets you casually stroll through a physical 3D collage of Vincent Van Gogh’s most famous paintings. Seemingly lifted directly from the Dutch post-impressionist’s mind himself, we see a number of his iconic oil paintings and watercolors brought to life.
We enter into the cafe to see a white-clad landlord standing watchfully over his billiards table, a still life directly inspired by the 1888 The Night Cafe painting. Positional audio streaming from a piano draws you closer to the other room, where we find old Vincent sitting down pensively, smoking his ever present pipe alla his Self-portrait circa 1889.
More familiar scenes liter the cafe, requiring close inspection of every room and corner. You might just end up sitting back down with two-ear Vincent for a while longer to absorb the style (maybe with a pipe and a small port wine).
In Cityscape Repairman you play a delightfully blocky repairman tasked with puzzles and challenges, aimed at keeping the city’s massive infrastructure from screeching to a halt.
In the four-level demo you’re given a third-person view so you can control your nameless block-buddy, who must pick up blocks, gears, and vials of fluid that city apparently needs for some reason. Don’t ask why. In Cityscape Repairman they don’t pay you to ask why. So get back to work!
Stack the blocks and activate machines to make your way to the next level. Simple as that.
Cityscape Repairman is painfully easy at the moment, but the concept and art direct look promising as a full game release, one that could keep you hopping and stacking for as long as you like to do those sorts of things. Cityscape Repairman would easily find a home next to Gear VR’s growing puzzle game titles like Esper and Ikarus.
We want to salute the hard work of each and every competitor from the over 300 submissions entered into Oculus’ 2015 Mobile Jam. There are plenty of excellent entries left that we didn’t have the chance to cover, so let us know what your favorite game/experience was in the comments below!