Game Highlights

Game Highlight: Conjuror's Eye

Game Overview

Conjuror’s Eye, from Escality Games, is a short puzzle game where the simple mechanism of being able to magically resize objects is used in surprising ways throughout 5 levels. It is single player, but it’s a fun one for others to watch and try to assist with solving the challenges. We’ve seen it solved in 15-20 minutes in most cases, so you’ll have time to fit it into a single session.

Difficulty

Our usual scale for difficulty is simply ease of use. Are the controls easy to learn? Is the interface intuitive? How hard is it to step in and just start playing? This game is a bit different: while the mechanics themselves are very easy, the puzzles can be challenging and require some patience and thinking outside the box.

Most Fun Moment

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As with many puzzle games, the “aha” moment that comes upon realizing the solution is quite rewarding - particularly if you’ve tried and failed a few times. The third puzzle is especially hard to solve, as it requires a sense of timing along with some analytical skill. You can always ask staff members for a hint if you need it!

Ideal Audience

Both teens and adults have enjoyed this experience. If you like puzzles and brain teasers, you'll like this, and it's a great choice for those who want something with a fantasy element that isn't filled with waves of enemies. 

Bottom Line

If you want something that's a bit unique and slower-paced, with more thinking and less physical movement, this is perfect. Even if you don’t want to spend the time to beat all the levels, solving the first couple is still fun and worth spending part of your session on.

Game Highlight: Front Defense: Heroes

Game Overview

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Front Defense: Heroes, from Fantahorn Studios, is set during World War II, and that atmosphere pervades the game in several senses. The maps have a very Call-of-Duty feel to them, the weapons are modeled on WWII-era ones, and when you look down, your arms are covered in a heavy cloth uniform. This shooter can be set up as a free-for-all, but it shines as a team-based game, with ample opportunities for buddy rushing opponents or combining a sniper with a close-range weapon to cover all angles. Unique movement options also allow for some interesting tactical decisions in the heat of the game, allowing you to sneak around corners with a VR-specific movement technique.

Difficulty

While it’s pretty easy to set up, this game is slightly more on the challenging side. It’s a good fit for players who feel comfortable with using most buttons on the controller and with moving around in their space. However, the difficulty will scale depending on the skill of the players you’re playing with, and we can set up either a private or public game.

Most Fun Moment

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While the combat is of course fun, having to actually crouch to duck down into tunnels and crawl through adds a surprising level of immersion to the game. Small details like this can make a huge difference in the realism of a VR game when done well, and Front Defense does them right. As another example: pulling a pin from a grenade with your teeth is something you might see a character do in a movie, but it could easily feel gimmicky in a video game if you just had to press a button on a controller to do it. In VR though, actually putting the controller towards your mouth to pull that pin is a whole new level.

Ideal Audience

Those who enjoy Call of Duty or other war-based video games will enjoy this, of course. In general, it’s a very solid multiplayer shooter that supports large groups (up to 6 players with us). If you enjoy shooters, it’s worth a try simply due to the level of immersion you will experience.

Bottom Line

Front Defense: Heroes has quickly become a staff favorite, and we find ourselves continuously discovering great new features as we play. We expect this game to keep improving and to become one of our more popular multiplayer choices, particularly for larger parties, fairly quickly.

Game Highlight: Pixel Arcade

Game overview

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Pixel Arcade, from Corrie Green, is a platformer with deceptively simple mechanics. Maneuver your way through a course of neon blocks as you climb, toss, and slide your way through each level. Even though it’s single player, it lends itself well to competition (with others or with yourself) with its built-in time trial mode. Attempting to bypass the whole level by throwing yourself directly to the end block is definitely worth a few (dozen) tries, but the heart of Pixel Arcade is in quick movements, spins, and hops from checkpoint to checkpoint.

Difficulty

This game scales difficulty very well. Level 1 has a built in tutorial that explains what each of the block styles do, and there aren’t so many that it’s overwhelming. The challenge in Pixel Arcade is not at all with understanding the game, but in actually beating the levels - which is exactly how an arcade game like this should work.

Most fun moment

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The satisfaction of beating a difficult level - especially if you’ve had to give it several tries - is definitely the peak here. If you enjoy challenging yourself through several replays to get the steps exactly right, then you’ll want to jump into the later levels after the tutorial. We’d love to see a multiplayer mode added, because beating your friend in a race would be a great moment as well.

Ideal audience

While this game is simple enough for anyone to step into and start swinging around, it’s really intended for those who want something that’s fast moving. Though you control the speed, climbing through the neon blocks can feel disorienting if you get moving faster than you intend to. For some players, that will be a thrill of the experience, while some won’t enjoy that challenge as much. Regardless, the movement is smooth and doesn’t cause sickness in the way that other similar games with "self-throwing" movement can with some players.

Bottom line

Pixel Arcade puts you inside the game and uses room scale VR in a way that many other games don’t quite accomplish. Many players describe feeling “just like Spiderman” once they get the hang of scaling tall obstacles and sending themselves soaring off to the next one. This is a game that can easily be enjoyed as a quick experience or for a long session (which is bound to turn into quite a workout).

Game Highlight: 2MD VR Football

Game overview

2MD VR Football, from Truant Pixel, is a game that, like Space Pirate Trainer, has a great old-school arcade feel while updating the gameplay, graphics, and responsiveness for VR’s capabilities. The concept is simple: you’re the quarterback of your team, and each game is a 2 minute drill. Throw the ball downfield to your receivers and advance along the field to score, and then take on a bonus round to perfect your accuracy and speed. A 3rd person spectator view is included for those watching on TV.

 Spectator mode, which shows on the TV out of headset, allows for a nice viewing experience.

Spectator mode, which shows on the TV out of headset, allows for a nice viewing experience.

Difficulty

This game scales difficulty pretty well. If you just want to hop in and test out how throwing a VR football feels (the answer is: very realistic), then you can do that easily. However, the game also allows you to shift your receivers and draw your own plays on a whiteboard if you’re interested in the details of passing plays. You can also choose to audible once you’re on the field.

Most fun moment

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As you might expect, the most fun moments for players tend to be scoring those touchdowns, or completing long passes on 4th down. If it’s a good football moment in real life, then it will feel great in VR. Getting in a rhythm in the bonus round and hitting those hoops one after another is also satisfying.

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Ideal audience

Those who are into football or sports in general are the most likely to hop in and enjoy this. Because of the scaling difficulty, we’ve seen both kids and adults love this game. And yes, it works for both left-handed and right-handed players: this picture shows a left-handed player surveying the field and preparing to launch a pass.

 

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Bottom line

2MD VR Football is a good example of VR allowing people access to a real-life situation that is hard for most people to get into in real life. Not everyone is built to play football or has the skill of a quarterback. But, in this game, anyone can feel the thrill of throwing that perfect spiraling pass into the end zone.

Game Highlight: Ocean Rift

Game overview

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Ocean Rift, from Llyr ap Cenydd, is more of an experience than a game, and it is a very engaging one. Choose from ocean animals such as dolphins, orcas, or giant prehistoric reptiles, and you’ll be transported to an underwater exploration site with them. Propel yourself around to swim and interact with the variety of ocean life in the soothing underwater sounds. Turn on text or audio facts to learn more about the animals, or just enjoy the swim through the deepest parts of the ocean.

Difficulty 

This game is extremely easy to get into. Because it is an open world, you simply select an animal by reaching your controller through it, and you’re instantly swimming with the eels, sharks, or turtles. An easy to access menu will let you switch environments or turn the facts on and off at any time.

Most fun moment

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People like to swim with dolphins in real life, and it makes for an incredible moment in Ocean Rift as well. Pushing the touchpad while swimming with them will drop a hoop for them to do tricks with, which is fun to watch, and propelling yourself along with them is quite relaxing. If that doesn't sound quite exciting enough to you, then you’ll probably prefer hanging out in an underwater cage with a great white shark rattling the bars from only inches away.

Ideal audience

 You can choose to read or listen to educational facts, or you can turn them off and just swim around

You can choose to read or listen to educational facts, or you can turn them off and just swim around

Due to its ease of use, Ocean Rift is a good choice for anyone looking for a introductory VR experience. Young kids who might have trouble manipulating controls or adults who aren’t into swinging around swords or shooting guns will enjoy the exploratory nature of Ocean Rift.

Bottom line

Ocean Rift is not going to have you spinning around wildly and getting physically involved with the game in the way that some of our options will. However, it is an excellent choice for someone who wants to see the potential of VR for exploration and education, or who is looking for a relaxing escape from reality.

Game Highlight: Trickster VR

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Game overview

Trickster VR, from Trickster Games, is a fantasy adventure which has both single player and cooperative multiplayer modes available. Defend against waves of orcs or travel through varied campaign missions to take on hordes of challenging opponents.

Difficulty 

While many of our players have loved it as their first VR experience, Trickster is slightly more challenging to immediately pick up than some other games due to its use of more buttons on the controllers. However, once you’re in there with friends, you’ll be able to hear each other and help each other out. If you’ve played other adventure games, you’ll likely have no trouble, and if you haven’t, then our staff is happy to give extra assistance with controls until you’re stabbing orcs like a pro.

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Most fun moment

Archery often feels extremely satisfying in VR, and Trickster is no exception. Launching arrows from afar to protect your teammates who rushed headfirst into melee combat is rewarding, and the triple-shot arrow power-up is a fun bonus. If standard longbow isn’t your style, the double crossbows are a great ranged weapon backup!

Ideal audience

We’ve seen many groups enjoy Trickster: kids’ parties, family groups, bachelor parties, work events, and more. It’s a great go-to for groups who have different experience levels, because cooperative multiplayer means that more experienced players won’t make the game less fun by constantly winning. Instead, everyone gets a share of the orc-slaying. If you’re into fantasy and want to experience multiplayer VR, it will definitely be our top recommendation to you.

Bottom line

There’s a reason that Trickster has been on our game list since we opened: it’s an immediately engaging experience that takes full advantage of room-scale VR. Check it out on your own or, better yet, with friends!

Game Highlight: Loco Dojo

Game overview  

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Take turns spinning the wheel and advance through a variety of challenges which incorporate the full range of interaction available within your virtual space. This wacky Mario-Party style series of minigames supports 1-4 players, but is best experienced with 2+ players.  Amazing graphics, quick pace, and good-natured competition make this an Augmentality Labs favorite. Developer: Make Real.

Difficulty

Loco Dojo is on the easier side of games to step into and get the hang of, and our staff is always there to talk you through the controls for each individual minigame. If one game is a bit too complex, the next is sure to be more straightforward, and the minigames fly by quickly.  One minute you’re smashing each other’s eggs with boxing gloves, and the next you’re dodging sharks - but everything can be explained quickly so you can get into the game.

Most fun moment

It’s hard to pick just one in a game that has barnacle whacking, “cat-a-pults” (with actual, virtual cats), and pig racing, sometimes all within a 10-minute span. However, sausage nunchucks take the prize here. Wielding them in the game to protect your piglets is oddly satisfying, and, from the outside, watching your friends whirling their arms wildly in circles never fails to be hilarious.

Ideal audience

Loco Dojo has something for everyone. This is a good choice for adult groups with mixed gaming experience, parents who want a kid-friendly multiplayer option, and corporate groups who want something to step into and pick up quickly.

 Sausage nunchucks!

Sausage nunchucks!

Bottom line

Loco Dojo is a great game for anyone looking for a multiplayer VR social experience - hop in and try a couple of the minigames, or spend an hour collecting coins to secure your victory!

Protonwar Tournament - Coming Feb 2

Looking to learn more about our Protonwar tournament on February 2nd? We’ve covered the timing, free practice sessions, and rules here. Read on to discover more about the game itself.

First off, even if you’ve never experienced VR before, don’t be afraid to give our tournament a try. After all, your entry includes practice sessions all afternoon before the tournament at 7 pm, is less than the cost of a normal VR session, and has the added fun of competition.

We’ve purposely selected a game that anyone can step into and learn quickly. The objective of Protonwar is simple; if you’re familiar with video games it’s similar to Halo/Quake/any arena-style shooter. Just kill your opponents more times than they kill you, and you’ll advance to the next round.

But wait, how can you do that if you don’t know how to play? Easy - screenshots of everything you need to know are right here (and don’t forget, you can come in early to fit in some practice, included with your entry fee).

Gameplay for Protonwar

To start, identify which hand is holding the gun in the game. Then, physically swap your controllers in real life so your gun is in your dominant hand.

Now, you’re ready for the tactical basics: shoot, move, and communicate. To shoot, pull your dominant hand trigger. Sometimes you will find that instead of holding a gun in your dominant hand, you will be accidentally holding a sword! This just means that you’re out of ammunition and need to go find another gun. Or just keep swinging your sword around because it’s fun (even though it’s not the most effective weapon).

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When you need to pick up a new gun, you’ll want to move over it.  Make sure it looks realistically-colored, like this:

 

And is not a neon hologram, like this:

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Each gun respawns after a given period of time, and the neon color indicates that someone else has already picked it up recently.  

Locomotion in Protonwar

How do you move over the new gun to pick it up? You have two options: the more immersive option is to swipe your thumb across the touchpad, which simulates walking through the environment. But be careful - this makes some people feel a bit sick! If this is you, simply keep your thumb away from that touchpad, and pull your non-dominant hand trigger to teleport instead. A blue beam of light shoots out, and you aim this beam to where you want to go until a blue circle appears.

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Once the circle shows up, you let go of the trigger and you are instantly teleported to this location. Sometimes, it can be helpful to teleport many smaller, shorter distances instead of one larger distance so that you keep your bearings a bit better. Very few people feel VR sickness when opting for teleportation.

Some Tactical Advice

Your 10’x10’ mat allows you to move your real-life body to duck behind cover or peek around corners, and we definitely recommend taking advantage of that. Finally, you can also jump by pushing in on the touchpad. Jumping repeatedly as an opponent is shooting you is great for entertaining spectators.

In addition to weapons, as you move, you’ll find health packs, armor, and ammunition. Again, if it’s a neon holographic outline, that means it’s not available to be picked up.

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Lastly, communication. Don’t forget that you can simply talk to and hear each other in-game. Very useful for distracting an opponent as you sneak up on them with your sword.

And that’s it - that’s all you need to know. Seems easy enough, right? Next steps: invite your friends, and then come on in on February 2nd to take your shot at winning the prizes going out to the top 3 players!