If you take a look at the most reviewed apps on Quest over time you’ll notice there isn’t a whole lot of movement happening. The chart is dominated mostly the same group of apps, and all are growing at fairly similar rates… with one exception.

Beat Saber has been a Quest staple ever since the headset launched. It’s the most reviewed app on the headset by nearly a factor of three. And its trajectory has consistently exceeded those among the top 20 most reviewed apps on the headset. But recently, another app has shown even faster growth.

Blade & Sorcery is a fan-favorite melee combat sim that’s been available on PC VR since 2018. It finally came to Quest in November of 2021 under the name Blade & Sorcery: Nomad [our review] and seems to have tapped into serious demand for its brand of up-close-and-personal melee action in VR.

‘Blade & Sorcery: Nomad’ on Quest | Image courtesy Warpfrog

Nomad has seen a meteoric rise among the most reviewed apps on the headset; in just a little over three months since launch, the game has found itself in the #6 position with more than 11,000 reviews.

Comparing its rise side-by-side with the other most reviewed apps on the headset shows just how quickly it has overtaken other games in review count (which is a strong relative indicator of unit sales). Its pace shows little sign of slowing down, and it looks like Nomad is set to continue to overtake other titles in the near future.

If it makes it to #2 however, there’s still a huge gap to cross before it would even begin to approach VR’s killer app, Beat Saber. Though there’s something to be said about its immense pace.

Given the numbers, we’d estimate Blade & Sorcery: Nomad has sold around 560,000 units on Quest so far, to the tune of $11.2 million in revenue (assuming all sales at the full USD price). It’s a tremendous success for indie studio Warpfrog, especially considering that its founder (which goes by the alias Kospy) is a first-time developer.

Beyond just being a game that people clearly want, there’s other factors that have surely contributed to Nomad’s speedy growth on Quest. For one, there’s many more Quest headsets out there today than when our graph view starts (back in late 2019). That means the game launched into a larger market than any of the games before it. It also launched just ahead of the 2021 holidays (which was huge for Quest), giving it visibility on the Quest store at just the right time.

And last but not least, there really isn’t anything quite like Blade & Sorcery: Nomad on the Quest store, giving the game a first-mover advantage on untapped demand for a melee combat sim. Yes there’s other melee games on Quest like Until You Fall, but that’s more of a fantasy experience with gesture-based combat. Blade & Sorcery, on the other hand, is more of a melee physics sim, with combat that’s distinctly brutal in comparison.

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I spoke with Warpfrog’s Producer and Community Manager, who goes by the alias The Baron, to learn more about what the studio makes of Nomad’s success on Quest thus far.

“We knew that there was an audience for a standalone version of Blade & Sorcery from the amount of fan mail we would get from non-PC VR players requesting a port, and we were also hearing anecdotal reports from other VR devs that the Quest player-base was more robust than PC VR,” said The Baron. “So we were confident that Nomad would at least do okay on the Quest market, but honestly the response from the Nomad fanbase has been incredible and far beyond our best hopes.”

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As for whether there are any clear differences in player behavior between the PC and Quest versions of the game, The Baron said that engagement metrics look similar and he suspects this is thanks to the game’s underlying design.

Blade & Sorcery is one of the few VR games that is completely blessed to have a high replayability and retention value, and the player metrics show that on average Nomad players are playing the game about as much as PC VR players, both in play sessions and overall hours played,” he said. “This suggests it is the Blade & Sorcery game design formula that is resonating with players more so than any particular version [of the game] or headset.”

Blade & Sorcery was already a well known success among PC VR enthusiasts, and while it’s no surprise to see it received well by the Quest playerbase, what is surprising is how little influence the game’s success has had on the broader VR game marketplace. While there’s a handful of indie projects going after the melee combat sim genre, none of VR’s well known studios have picked up the proverbial dagger to take a stab at this end of the VR marketplace.

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  • Compliments to the dev, I wasn’t expecting this fast growth on Quest market either!

  • XRC

    Never got round to buying this on PCVR, thanks for the reminder

    • d0x360

      Who the hell would downvote this?

    • david vincent

      It’s a great timing to buy S&S, now that there is a dungeon mode, the game is a bit less repetitive. Also take a look at the mods.

  • Ryan

    Amazing for a game that is barely a game yet. I think the key to success is the rejection of anything “gamey” like swing cool-downs etc. Would love to play SkyrimVR like this. I hope Kospy has the management skills to grow the team and do something ambitious. Or that some larger studio has the sense to buy their tech. Kudos also to Oculus for seeing the potential of this, very violent game.

    • d0x360

      Not there tech. Its also something that’s been around for 20 years, this was just the first in VR but there’s actually another similar game in development that’s already way better.

      • Ryan

        I’ve tried Hell Split and Legendary Tales, but just don’t like the feel of the combat as much. AFAIK, the tech is really just accurate collision.

  • Rob Walker

    Great review, but in regards to ” … there really isn’t anything quite like Blade & Sorcery: Nomad on the Quest store”, is this actually correct? What about Gorn? I’ve only watched gameplay vids, it seems to be set in the same era and also focuses on combat meelee. It has a higer rating of 4.8 (half the amount of reviews though) versus S&S’s 4.2 rating.

    • d0x360

      There is actually a game in development that’s similar but already way better than Blades. You need to side load it but that’s easy enough…

      I also wouldn’t say Gorn is that similar. It’s more of an arcade game where blades requires you to do more than just flail around.

      Both fun but different in many many ways

      • jiink

        What is the name of that game in development? I would like to check it out

        • Tommy

          Hellsplit

          • d0x360

            I can’t confirm that’s it but… It’s probably it lol. It definitely runs better, looks better and has more accurate physics… Well neither is exactly accurate but yeah

    • RedcoatTrooper

      Many people have stated and I agree that once you play B & S you will never play Gorn again and I feel the same.

      Gorn was a clever idea to what do you do if the weapon doesn’t move as fast as your hand? Their answer make all the weapons feel like pool noodles and cartoony enemies so everything is wacky fun good for a bit but gets old.

      B & S has artificial weight, (sort of) realistic physics and enemies that block and doge your attacks.

      They may be the same style but they are not comparable.

  • Roger Bentley

    I had B&S on steam and love that game and day 1 purchased for quest and play daily.

  • Tommy

    I prefer the PCVR version just for the ridiculous amount of mods for it.
    The melee game I’m really waiting on is Undead Citadel.

    • david vincent

      What are your favorite mods ? (can’t wait to see new dungeons made by the community)

  • shadow9d9

    Generic prealpha garbage attracts mainstream generic gamers.

  • namekuseijin

    it’s half the price of RE4. but yeah, small dev, no marketing budget, no need to pay big studio etc. RE4 original audiences are mostly not on Quest or on the market at large. That’s how do many pointless mini experiences thrive…

  • Shuozhe Nan

    Anyone else only bought it on Steam to play outer rim?