The virtual reality market is finally starting to fill with fun, interesting titles that are making VR gaming a viable replacement for your XBox. We wanted to share what our favorite games are so far and help you make the most of your VR dollar. Here are the Britelite top five best of VR Games… Because who doesn’t love a top five.
What can be said about the lab… It was one of the most interesting launch titles and it has only continued to improve from there. Not only is it a super fun collection of games, it also is a forerunner in the Vive technology as it is produced by Valve itself. The games have gone through several revisions since launch and about a month ago started keeping leaderboards in the different games. We are slowly moving our names up on the Xortex leaderboard and are very proud of our accomplishments.
The lab is great because it really capitalizes off what VR does really well right now. While it seemed incredibly revolutionary when it first launched, it is now more of a handbook on how to develop Vive experiences well. The look of the games have such a nice polish that Valve went as far as to publish their render engine that they used to create the look of the games as an add on for Unity.
Whether you are into archery, space shooters, physics games or just exploration, the Lab has something that you can really get into, and that is what makes it so cool. The lab does a fantastic job of ushering in the age of VR games, by keeping the gameplay simple and giving enough diverse options so that everyone can have a favorite game in the lab. Sometimes VR doesn’t have to transport you too far to make the experience unlike anything you have ever had.
I spent countless hours in my youth playing point and click adventure games. I loved the meticulous exploration and unfolding the story as I discovered every hidden facet of Daventry. Well the classic adventure game has made its way into the VR world with the release of The Assembly. The Assembly is a deep, complex and very mature adventure game about technology, research and the morality of progress.
You experience the game through the point of view of two different characters. One is Madeline Stone, a disgraced neuroscientist and general guinea pig for the shadowy organization The Assembly (roll credits). She is brought into an intake area and tasked with solving a series of puzzles colloquially named “the trials”. It’s all very reminiscent of any number of RPGs to come before, but it works and moves the story along nicely. The other character is Cal Pearson, virologist and employee at the previously mentioned lab who is struggling with the morality of some of the more potent viruses that The Assembly is creating. Both characters do a good job bringing both sides of the story to life and it becomes easy to empathize with both parties as you begin to learn how and why they are in this situation.
The game does not utilize the vive controllers, but is well integrated and planned so that the keyboard/mouse interface feels very usable and realistic. For many of the puzzles the keyboard and mouse actually make a pretty good interface, letting you explore the many computers and intricate puzzles with ease while allowing you to move around without too much trouble.
Overall The Assembly is a really interesting game that is a great experience in Vive and really makes you want to make it through to the end. It does have some lulls and it has a real insistence that you read every email you come across, which is something I have trouble with in real life, but the complexity of the puzzles and the interest created by the deep moral choices is plenty to keep me going. I would recommend this to anyone looking for something unique and more thoughtful than the other Vive offerings to date.
The Brookhaven Experiment
Well I kinda love this game. It is incredibly simple at it’s heart, but keeps you engaged and is about the right length to give me a satisfying dose of VR without taking up my whole afternoon. The Brookhaven Experiment is a first person shooter/ wave defense game where you begin in a decaying city that is being torn apart by a (the?) horde of mutated undead. It is somewhere between Area 51 and Resident Evil 2 and it is so much fun.
The atmosphere is well constructed and gives you a sense of dystopian despair that complements the textured shaders nicely. While you can see the city in the background, you start in a park that is very dark, and menacing. You are given a flashlight with limited battery, a pistol and are told to survive. The controls are well mapped and gun handling, while not totally realistic, is some of the best I have seen in a VR game. The pistol and other weapons point very naturally, the sights actually work and the magazine changes feel real enough to be fun and frantic in the heat of action.
Brookhaven delivers on the promise of a VR FPS better than any other game I have tried so far. The combination of good controls, great atmosphere and a solid game mechanic means that it is easy to get lost in this game and find yourself a part of Brookhaven. The waves of zombies, cramped corridors and carefully constructed horror motif make this the first truly scary game for the Vive; if zombies or shooters are your thing, this game is a must play.
Star Wars: Trials on Tatooine
I don’t want to be hyperbolic here, but this is going to be the best thing ever. While it is only a demo right now, this looks like it is going to be the big budget Star Wars game that I have been waiting for… since forever really.
The game starts with the classic Star Wars theme and title crawl along with the obligatory shot of a ship, this time the Millennium Falcon, traveling toward a planet. On that planet is you, humble Padwan waiting for instructions from your teacher, Luke Skywalker. The Falcon lands, some buttons are pushed, some enemies show up and you are thrust into a lightsaber fight with a group of invading storm troopers.
The demo is short and does not give you much to work with, but lays an incredibly promising foundation for further development. If this development is anything like Brookhaven, the full game is going to be the fully featured Jedi fest that I have been waiting for. Holding the lightsaber feels really good, hitting the barrels and debris around you produces satisfying burns and lightsaber sound effects. After a few minutes I was starting to get the hang of the lightsaber and was fancying myself a young Ben Kenobe for a hot second. Then the storm troopers showed up. Dodging the blaster shots was not too hard, but getting them to deflect in a way that was menacing to the enemy was a real trick. Toward the end of the demo I was pretty happy with my skills and could send shots back to whence they came with the prowess of the mid-level Padwan that I was.
The game does not offer much more than a simple training scenario, but there is so much to be excited for. Given some time and further development I think that this will be something really special when the full version is released. If they include some vehicles and a few memorable characters they are going to have the first real AAA star wars experience in VR, and I am happy to be along for the ride.
Time Machine VR
There is just something about VR and dinosaurs that play really nicely together. It might be because you have less real world information to compare it to so it seems more real, but whatever it is I really love it and Time Machine VR does a great job of putting you in the middle of it’s own aquatic Jurassic Park.
The game is a seated VR experience which is kinda nice since it allows you to play complex levels and navigate large areas without getting tired and tying you up in your cables. You are placed at the controls of a submersible “pod” that is not totally unlike the land based pod vehicles from Jurassic World. The pod looks nice and it is easy to forget that you are inside it, unless you turn around; for some reason the rear of the pod is obstructed and so you cannot look behind you. I feel like this is a glaring error since part of the beauty of VR is the ability to look around, but I digress. The controls are not what I would call intuitive, but after some getting used to they are usable. On my first go around I found myself stuck in a rock unable to navigate as the first predator I encountered in the game swam above me and took more and more interest in my activities. Once I got the hang of it I was able to get around, but I would never call it natural. I should note however that I don’t have much submersible driving experience to compare it to.
The premise of this adventure is that you are sent via the eponymous time machine to different prehistoric oceans to study the marine life there and help the scientists you are working for unlock the mystery of a current eco disaster. The quests it gives you are pretty straightforward, from tagging turtles to scanning skeletons of giant predators, and offer just enough challenge to keep it fun. I found this game to be really breathtaking and even scary at times. Tooling around in your little pod while giant predators swim above you is just an unnerving experience in VR, and I am not sure that being eaten by a dinosaur in VR will ever not be disturbing. Even after being attacked several times by undersea dinosaurs it was still terrifying when they start coming for you with their mouth open. I did eventually get the hang of not getting eaten and started to make some pretty good progress. It is really an amazing game and the closest you are going to get to swimming with dinosaurs with what is available today. I would say that this is a must play for anyone interested in the ocean, dinosaurs or any combination of the two.
So that is what we think is the best of the current VR market. With all the new releases coming out every week there are more than enough great games available to justify the spend on a VR unit if you are tepid. Check back later this year for another update of our Top 5 games and see where you should be investing your virtual time. Until then enjoy the future.