Top 10 Most Recommended Virtual Reality Titles of 2016
Hello everyone! Well, it sure has been quite a while, hasn’t it (not really). As we gear up for the holiday season, many people, at least those who can afford it, are picking up virtual reality headsets for their loved ones or just simply for themselves. So for those of you who are diving into the world of virtual reality for the first title, here are the best virtual reality titles of 2016!
10. Star Chart – Multiple Platforms
Why don’t we start off with a rather calm entry? Much more of an experience rather than a game itself, Star Chart allows you to explore our solar system and some deep space through the comfort of virtual reality. The experience provides real time 3D renderings of current planets paths and current positions, with more in depth analysis if you explore further. If that isn’t enough for you, all 88 constellations are recreated with beautiful artwork for your viewing pleasure.
But wait, there’s more!
Man I have always wanted to say that.
Star Chart can also recreate the night sky based on your GPS coordinates to give you an accurate representation.
While reviews of Star Chart have mostly been negative, if you are an aficionado for space exploration like I am than you sure wouldn’t want to miss this. Also, as an added bonus you can use Star Chart with just your desktop even though it is not as impressive. After testing this across multiple versions I actually recommend Google Cardboard, as the app just runs smoothest on Android.
9. Audioshield – HTC Vive
Let’s move onto a slightly older title that feels very familiar. Similarly designed like the popular freeware rhythm game Audiosurf, Audioshield is a rhythm title with a focus on music and…wait for it…EXERCISE. I know, the stereotypical nightmare for any gamer. Nah, I am just giving y’all a hard time…or am I?
Before this entry derails too much, the point of Audioshield is pretty self-explanatory. You need to block incoming orbs with each one of your shields, one in each hand. It may sound basic, but there are actually difficulty settings on the pre-loaded tracks, plus once you make it all the way through those, you can upload your own tracks! I have seen some songs with pretty ridiculous “orb charts” that are pretty hard to block. But yeah, essentially a VR version of Audiosurf.
8. Tilt Brush – HTC VIVE
Leave it up to Google to make even the most mundane of a person an artist. Developed and published by the tech giant, Tilt Brush is an art program that allows anyone to make an absolute three dimensional work of art. I have never really had much artistic capability (except when building props), but I felt free when given the ability to make something beautiful, even if it is just virtually. What Tilt Brush does best is in utilizing the Vive’s room-scaling capabilities, transforming the entire area in the field into your own canvas.
When it came to the actual art itself, it allowed me to make some fantastic sculptures using 3D lines. I was even able to add effects such as smoke trails to add to the ambiance. Unfortunately, making geometric shapes was an entirely different story. Nonetheless, Tilt Brush made me feel like a modern Salvador Dali…just not conceptually or as skilled. In all, Tilt Brush really is a testament to the quality of the Vive, and the best of all it is free!
7. Raw Data – HTC VIVE
Sometimes Raw Data is hard to analyze. Just not in this case. Oh, and I apologize for the stupid joke. A first person shooter developed Survios, Raw Data thrusts the player directly into the story as a member of the elite hacker group SyndiK8 fighting against the stereotypical not really evil corporation known as the Eden Crop. What are they, supposed to be our saviors?
At it’s core, Raw Data is essentially a “defeat them all, wave after wave” kind of shooter, which actually kind of reminds me of Superhot. You have a few different methods of dispatching your robot foe adversaries, whether it is by blade, pistol, or a special unlock-able move; it is rather satisfying. What puts Raw Data ahead past its competitors is the sheer immersive experience. For example, when you have to reload your pistols you have to physically remove the magazine and grab another from your inventory. Rapid movement across the stage is also at a supreme level, which makes the comfort level in the VR simulation at an all time high.
6. Job Simulator: The 2050 Archives – PlayStation VR (Multiple Platforms)
When I first went to my local virtual reality arena to try out our next entry, many of my friends asked me why I would want to play a game about working. Well…I didn’t have a solid answer for them. Just something about it intrigued me. Job Simulator is an interesting game, as it provides VR adaptations of four menial positions of employment in our society. These positions are: office worker, convenience store clerk, gourmet chef, and mechanic. Your A.I. companion even gives you stupid and ridiculous tasks like cashing out customers items, buying presents for your co-workers, and even “cooking the books” for your boss. It doesn’t sound like it should be fun, but it is hilarious and entertaining.
While Job Simulator is incredibly fun, it does feel like the comedy gets quite stale after the first two episodes. Also I recommend playing Job Simulator on a more advanced VR headset than the PSVR, as the limitations of the PlayStation Camera can create problems when trying to reach cabinets that are just out of range of the camera.
5. The Lab – HTC VIVE
Now now, this couldn’t be a decent VR list if I had not included something involving the great Aperture Science. Widely considered one of the top VR titles out right now, Valve’s The Lab really introduces the entire family to their own virtual world. Set across eight small-scale room experiences, each “level” of The Lab offers a variety of experiences for each player.
Unfortunately if you are looking for an intriguing story, you aren’t going to find it here. The Lab is strictly mini-games only. Still, they will probably suffice for at least a little while. What we can all agree on is that The Lab really can introduce beginners to almost every aspect that virtual reality has to offer. While many of the games are loosely inspired by Valve titles such as Portal and Dota 2, there are a few that are just unique and different. I personally recommend “Longbow”, a tower defense game that has you operating a bow and arrow against your enemies. Try it out and you won’t be disappointed.
4. Island 359 – HTC VIVE
I am going to call it right now, this is as close to Jurassic Park as we are going to get. From the makers of The Brookhaven Experiment comes the dinosaur hunting VR starter kit known as Island 359. In this title the player is challenged to survive against all odds on an island filled with our favorite extinct predators. Unlike The Brookhaven Experiment, Island 359 gives the player the ability to rapidly move. Can you escape the notorious velociraptors or the triceratops?
This may sound silly, but my favorite feature of Island 359 is the inventory system. While it is incredibly junky and kind of hard to manage, I just find it so intriguing that you actually have to reach behind your back and pull out your backpack in order to have access. Island 359 really stresses that resource management is key, right down to making sure your weapons are locked and loaded or that they have the right attachments or other optics. It’s the little things that are supposed to blow us away right?
3. The Brookhaven Experiment – HTC VIVE
Oh come on people, you know this one was going to be on here. Let me preface this by stating that you can read my full review here The Brookhaven Experiment.
The TL:DR version: The Brookhaven Experiment tasks the player with a rather serious task…to kill all of the monsters that have come into our world as a result of said experiment. The title is a solid VR shooter, allowing the player to utilize almost every feature that the HTC Vive has to offer. Insanely addictive and crazy fun, its shortcomings as a horror title are almost completely forgotten. Now if only you could move…but then it would just be a horror version of Island 359.
2. The Climb – Oculus
So…The Climb would have probably not have made the list if it wasn’t updated to work with Oculus’s Touch handsets. Why The Climb was even released before building support for Oculus Touch blows me away, as The Climb is a much different title when you are playing with an Xbox controller. Anyway, I am getting off track.
As if the title wasn’t evidence enough, The Climb is a climbing simulator developed by Crytek to really show off the capabilities of the Oculus. While The Climb is basic in design at best, there is something about traversing up the mountain face that just makes me feel empowered. Like I am conquering the world, only if by desperately looking for handholds so I can keep climbing towards my goal. I can’t also forget to mention that The Climb is absolutely gorgeous. You really have to play the game in the headset to receive the full experience, but damn…do the screenshots not do it justice.
1. Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes – Oculus
Alright, alright. I know we you are going to say. “Rhuts, Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes has been out since 2015 so it shouldn’t qualify.” Well since the VR market is still relatively new and new titles are being created every day, sometimes they just can’t surpass the “older model”.
Anyway, Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes puts the players in the roles of bomb handlers for some kind of enforcement agency, who diffuse different types of bombs at increasing difficulty. The game is a rather unique entry on our list as it combines both virtual reality and couch play. Primarily a co-op title, the game is played with one person using the VR goggles and handling the explosive. The second player has a manual that contains all the information needed to diffuse each compartment of the explosive. However, this is where is becomes difficult. Why? Well the players must communicate among themselves to figure out the bomb’s components and how to disarm them. The title surged in popularity as many big-name Youtubers have challenged themselves, often with disastrous results.
Alright, there you have it, the best title for your new virtual reality system. Whether you decide to go all the way with an Oculus Rift/HTC Vive or decide on a less immersive version of VR with a Samsung VR, Playstation VR, or even Google Cardboard, just make sure that you enjoy it. No reason to throw down $600+ on a whole set up and not even like it right? Ciao for now and Merry Christmas!
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