248 Published Reviews
Overall, the few minor gripes shouldn’t take away from just how captivating Gloomy Eyes is. It masterfully commands a mysterious yet gorgeous art style and pairs it with brilliant animation. The level of detail is so high, and the world so beautiful, that I can see myself revisiting the experience more than once, just to get a better look at things. People of all ages, even with little VR experience, should enjoy Gloomy Eyes, and it’s short enough that they may as well give it a try.
The Wizards - Dark TimesPC
The Wizards never lets you forget you’re playing a VR game. Rarely do more than 10 seconds pass without the need for grand hand gestures to summon magic or for you to reach out and interact with things around you. They’ve got a great magic system that’s intuitive and fun to master in a fantastical world that provides a unique type of adventure you won’t quite find anywhere else.
Pixel Ripped 1995PS4
Pixel Ripped 1995 is a bigger, bolder, and even more nostalgic walk down memory lane that shifts the focus from the late 80s to the early 90s — perhaps the most iconic and formative decade of the video game industry to date. By mixing together riffs off of popular games such as Castlevania, The Legend of Zelda, Streets of Rage, Sonic the Hedgehog, Mario, and more, Pixel Ripped is a sleek and powerful blast of nostalgia that brings back potent memories of hunching over CRT TVs in the dead of night playing games.
FORM is a little too short and lacking in challenge for it to be considered a true classic, but it stands tall as a VR puzzler unlike any other. There’s an understanding of this new medium here that few developers have been able to demonstrate. Its atmosphere is dense and engaging and its puzzles capture a strong sense of discovery, resulting in a brilliant blend of gameplay and experience. The flood of VR puzzle games could learn a lot from the foundations that Charm Games has laid here.
There’s a fun focus on planning and improvising in Final Assault, making it an engaging, albeit somewhat less involved, entry for the genre even if it wasn’t on a headset, but in virtual reality, the RTS shines as an imaginative chest of colorful toys. Just make sure when you’re planning your attack to call in a supply drop of dramamine.
A-Tech Cybernetic is a steadfast example of the trials and triumphs of Early Access development. If you bought this game back in 2017 and kept up to date with its new chapters over the ensuing years, you probably had a great time with it, at least in parts. But, arriving as one complete package in 2020, the game can’t hide its age, offering fun, flawed shooting built on overly simple foundations with too many bugs to overlook.
It’s exciting to see a developer that was so previously rooted in the fast-paced action shooter category branching out to something more slow-paced, narratively-driven, and visually unique. The gameplay certainly leaves plenty to be desired in the wake of Half-Life: Alyx, but in terms of its story and setting there is enough here to make it worth a recommendation — especially in comparison to similar experiences already available on Quest.
The Room VR: A Dark MatterPC
The Room VR: A Dark Matter is an exemplary puzzle game that not only serves as a prime example of what makes puzzle games so compelling in the first place, but elevates the genre via VR with supreme interactivity, excellent visuals, and a palpably mysterious atmosphere. It’s only held back slightly by some minor frustrations with pacing and difficulty, but is otherwise one of the best puzzle games available in a VR headset.
Down the Rabbit HolePC
Even Down The Rabbit Hole’s sheer existence seems like lunacy. It’s as strange a VR game you’ll find, one that refuses to be pegged down to any one demographic or tick any certain box. There might be a touch of tameness to some of its puzzles and the adventure is over a little too soon, but when the game tips its box of ideas upside down, magic usually falls out. Down The Rabbit Hole is as Mad as a Hatter, and that’s exactly what you’d want it to be.
Though you’ll find yourself hungry for more, there’s something comforting in the knowledge that, for Valve, this is the dawn of a new era. Half-Life: Alyx makes good on its second chance, it is as essential a VR game as you’ll find in 2020, but perhaps the most exciting thing about it is the message is that the best is yet to come.
With Paper Beast, Eric Chahi goes for a holy trinity of VR development. It is a game not content with just one miracle, be it the authentic, almost documentarian approach to a virtual ecosystem, nor the technical milestones such a feat requires. Even its set of puzzles somehow emerge as a remarkably natural extension of its core themes and systems, creating a cohesive and curiously precious VR game to be preserved and savoured.
This an often amusing, occasionally engrossing bit of local VR collaboration that will have friends reaching the tops of their voices, if rarely doubling down on deep spy work. Still, if you’re looking for something to play with a friend that doesn’t own a headset or if you want more experiences like Keep Talking And Nobody Explodes, you should accept this mission.
While it might not have the finesse of a AAA title, it has the charm, uniqueness and personal connection that only indie games can offer. In that way, Bizarre Barber feels more like it belongs in an art gallery than on a top 25 list, and that’s the best thing about it.
Space Channel 5 VR Kinda Funky News Flash!PS4
Space Channel 5 VR should have been a glorious return to form, but this cult hit series can’t keep up with the beat set by its competitors. The surprisingly brief campaign coasts on by without ever pushing your skills and, once it’s over, there’s very little else to do. Ulala and co are long overdue a return to the main stage, but this isn’t it.
Separation is a game with something to say, it just spends too long trying to say it. While I wanted to fall for its wistful mountain climbs and poignant canyon descents, I became too frustrated with its tedious core treasure hunt to stop and pay its wider implications much mind. I suspect that some will make those connections, lost in the game’s alluring fog, but many more will be done with this pilgrimage long before it’s over.
I don’t really have a lot of bad things to say about OhShape, then. It’s a smart, straight, no-nonsense rhythm game with an energetic core mechanic and plenty of options to tailor the experience to your liking. There’s a few presentation hiccups and the initial track list could be more inspiring, but these are minor and very fixable issues. If you’re growing tired of slashing or shooting beats in VR, then you should definitely try throwing some shapes here instead.
All that is to say that Quest’s first must-play of 2020 is here. Ghost Giant remains a delicate balance of charm and poignancy; an important story told with the right amount of sensitivity, steeped in the power of VR connection and companionship. Solving its puzzles might present the occasional road bump, but you’ll otherwise be swept up by its marvellous world of miracles and the characters that live in it. And, thanks to Quest, that’s easier to do than ever.
If you enjoy the horror genre in VR, it’s probably worth checking out for the slightly different take on the genre and humorous addition of Scout the puppet. In many ways, Hello Puppets! has a lot of parallels to how you might approach a blockbuster horror movie — while not particularly groundbreaking, if you have a few spare hours on the weekend, it might be worth checking out for a bit of fun, a few scares, and maybe even a laugh.
If you’re a big fan of VR rhythm games, make no doubt: there is plenty to sink your teeth into and you’re gonna have fun, but if you’re picky about finding your flow in a game or already enamored with Beat Saber, there may not be enough to pull you in
2MD: VR Football UnleashedPC
Make no mistake: 2MD: VR Football Unleashed is not a deep game. It doesn’t have a lot of the features you’d expect out of a VR football experience, but it still manages to be fun and unique game without comparison, especially on Quest, in the right circumstances. There’s something simple and addictive about jumping into a game and driving down the field as quickly as possible to score a touchdown and win the game.
While the game may not have felt so frustrating and outdated to players in 2018, it certainly does now. Perhaps even worse, the whole experience feels kind of gimmicky, as if it’s just a fun placeholder to fill time with when you’ve got nothing else to play. The sad news for Fail Factory! is that Quest and Rift owners have much more to play these days and, frankly, they would be better off playing anything besides this.
The Walking Dead: Saints & SinnersPC
Despite its minor issues like relatively boring environments, repetitive mission structure, and human AI that leaves a bit to be desired, The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners is easily the best zombie game in VR to date. The shooting mechanics feel heavy and impactful and melee is extremely violent in just the right ways. There’s plenty of depth between the survival systems and crafting mechanics and it packs a large and dense adventure unlike anything else out there.
Winter Fury: The Longest RoadPC
The lack of proper feedback, the strange glitches (including the ability to shoot through scenery sometimes) and the graphical fidelity simply aren’t good enough to make this game worth your time despite the handful of bright spots. The game is, at the very least, true to its name, it certainly feels like the longest road, despite the incredible short playtime.
Path of the WarriorPC
Twisted Pixel have done a good job of replicating what it would feel like to go inside of a Streets of Rage-type video game and it mostly succeeds on that front. To be clear: Path of the Warrior isn’t a bad game, but with only five stages that take less than two hours to clear, repetitive combat, and not much depth at all, it’s nowhere near as impressive as it could be.
Budget Cuts 2: Mission InsolvencyPC
For all intents and purposes Budget Cuts 2: Mission Insolvency is a bigger and better version of its predecessor in virtually every way. The scope is larger, the bow and arrow adds significantly more depth and strategy to combat, levels are designed more thoughtfully, there are fewer bugs and AI issues, and it all around feels like a more complete game. Budget Cuts 2 feels like the game that the original Budget Cuts wanted to be, but never quite lived up to.