FREEDIVER: Triton DownPC
Freediver: Triton Down is better than it has any right to be. What could well have been a soul-crushing slog turns out to be a pleasingly immediate palette cleanser. Its got some B-movie style missteps, but sharp design punctuates every element of a game that never outstays its welcome. So take a deep breath and grab your goggles; this is one adventure that’s worth undertaking.
This is the rare sort of game where I actually want to unlock as many bits and bobs as possible just to forge my own identity.Mini-Mech Mayhem is likely destined for the same kind of obscurity as FuturLab’s Tiny Trax before it, but there’s endless joy to be found from its frantic mash-up of tabletop gaming and VR. This is an untamable, often hilarious bit of strategy that’s to be enjoyed just as much when you’re throwing your hands up in defeat as it is in victory. I just wish I had more people to play it with.
Trover Saves The UniversePS4
Trover Saves The Universe is without a doubt one of the funniest games I’ve ever played. It honestly had my side hurting from all the laughter. Despite some generic core gameplay, repetition, and an overall grating comedic tone that isn’t for everyone, Trover gets a lot right. The bottom line is that if you liked games such as Lucky’s Tale and Astro Bot and also appreciate Justin Roiland’s style of vulgar fourth-wall breaking comedy, then this is a match made in third-person action-adventure heaven.
Blood & TruthPS4
Despite the sometimes frustrating movement system and occasional pacing issues, Blood & Truth is a tour de force for PSVR. Sony’s London Studio should be proud of what they’ve accomplished here by turning the brief London Heist demo from PlayStation VR Worlds into a fully-fledged narrative that features some of the best performances we’ve seen in VR yet. The action is pulse-pounding and so bombastic it rivals even the biggest summer blockbusters. This one is easily recommended to any PSVR owner that likes to shoot bad guys and watch stuff blow up.
Ironically, Vacation Simulator feels like a progress report. It’s an encouraging news flash from Owlchemy about where it is with making VR as immersive as possible as we continue to tolerate the shortcomings of other, ‘fuller’ games. But its philosophy of authenticity and intuition above all else is to be praised and preserved. There’s playful fun, immersive wonder and liberating agency all gathered under one roof, here. Vacation Simulator may only be a small step in a wider journey, but it’s one well worth taking.
Falcon Age nurtures a soft spot inside of you, one big enough to overlook many of its technical shortcomings. It’s a sentimental game, one that knows VR’s ability to build relationships is as compelling as and additive to any other feature. It never fully capitalizes on that connection in the way you might expect, but it’s a spark of companionship to be cherished all the same. That’s something the industry could use a little more of.
Space Junkies does what games have done for decades: it brings a smile to your face. It’s the kind of game you can either play for one match, or accidentally lose hours to. The matches are fast-paced and frenetic, the weapons are fun and varied, and the customization brings a deeper level to it all. Frankly, it’s fun in a way that is sometimes missing from more serious affairs. It’s already an exceptional experience and if it evolves and gains new content it will become unmissable. Now, if you’ll excuse us, there is a slingshot with our name on it.Note: This version of the review is specifically for the PC VR version of the game. There are a few differences on PSVR not accounted for here.
The Wizards - Enhanced EditionPS4
Plenty of collectibles, a replayable Arena mode, and lots of mission augmentations add up to this being a really fun journey. But some of the repetition, relatively short length, and recycled wave-shooter-style mission structures left us wanting a bit more creativity. I absolutely enjoyed my time with The Wizards, but with a few additions it could have been the definitive VR spell-casting game.
Shadow Legend VRPC
Shadow Legend probably isn’t going to blow any minds or make believers out of anyone that has decided VR isn’t for them, but it does deliver on its promise of offering a feature-filled single player VR RPG that tells a complete story with action and intrigue. Production values and clunkiness aside, the mere fact that Shadow Legend feels like an actual game probably says more about the state of the VR market than it does the quality of the adventure itself. At the end of the day when I lay down my Knight’s Templar sword and finish slaying demons, all I could think is how badly I wish there was more.
Dick Wilde 2PS4
Dick Wilde 2 is inarguably an improvement on the first, for what it’s worth. This by-the-numbers sequel remains a decent wave shooter with a rock solid foundation that never elevates itself beyond the limitations of its genre. It’s just a little more balanced, a little less creepy and there’s a lot more of it. Co-op support may be underwhelming, but if you’re still craving the core thrill of simple VR shooting, you could do a lot worse than Dick Wilde 2.
Originally released in 2015 for PC, Mac and Linux before eventually making its way onto consoles, ChromaGun was initially both hailed and mocked for (lightly) scratching gamers’ itches for a new Portal-like in the absence of Portal 3. Following its long-awaited VR port, ChromaGun VR is definitely not up to the bar set by the Portal series, but its puzzles are satisfying nonetheless.
Xing: The Land BeyondPS4
This was despite the fact that the game’s progress menu showed I had done so already, and after replaying the third world and completing the fourth, I turned off the system again. Once again, the most recent world I completed had to be played again, and when entering the final stage, a glitch left me floating in outer space.
Despite its good intentions Eden Tomorrow rarely breaks free of its many issues. An intensely disagreeable sidekick, dull pacing and by-the-numbers plotting will put you on autopilot for 90% of the game. There are moments of magic here but, for the most part, Eden Tomorrow is simply a slog.
Intruders: Hide and SeekPS4
Intruders is a welcome case of less is more. It’s an engaging little short that largely keeps its ambitions in check with enjoyable if unremarkable sneaking. You likely won’t remember much about Intruders a week or two past playing it, but it keeps you hooked while it lasts. For a home invasion game, it’s perhaps just a little too safe.
Holopoint Chronicle is a fitting follow-up to a VR fitness gem with some welcome additions. This remains one of VR’s most engaging active games even if it requires a strong stomach (in more ways than one). But developer Alzan Studios could definitely push things a step further to encourage more people to keep playing. The Holopoint series has the foundations of active VR gaming down.
A Fisherman's TalePC
From slow-motion shootouts to trips across the universe and stories of loved ones lost, VR has already proven that each of its core design tenants can be tamed. But A Fisherman’s Tale might be the first to achieve a perfect storm of gameplay, immersion and narrative in a single experience. Though brief, it fuses experience and interactivity to really show what this medium is capable of. This is exactly what old seadogs aren’t meant to be capable of; something genuinely new.
Ace Combat 7: Skies UnknownPS4
A conundrum, then. Ace Combat 7’s VR support makes for one of the most convincing, bombastic games you’ll see in a headset. It’s a powerhouse display of roaring engines and teeth-grinding tension that’s never anything less than relentlessly enjoyable. And yet it’s painfully short, over before you can even pinch yourself to see if you’re dreaming. But, to hell with it, it’s left me with a heightened pulse rate, sweaty palms and the biggest grin VR has yet put on my face.
Red Matter is nothing short of a textbook example of how to do VR adventure games right. It emphasizes design and experience, putting immersion front and center, making a bullet-proof case for why it needs to be seen and played in VR. Short length and some troublesome puzzles betray its winning streak to some degree, but don’t change the fact that this is one sci-fi story you shouldn’t miss out on.
RollerCoaster Tycoon JoyridePS4
RollerCoaster Tycoon Joyride serves as a decent proof-of-concept for PlayStation VR, but more than two years after the headset launches, is that really what we need anymore? During our time with the game, we also experienced three crashes and a bug that forced us to restart it completely, and without a large group of players interested in designing their own courses, it’s going to end up like many of the worst RollerCoaster Tycoon theme parks: empty and dull.
Borderlands 2 VRPS4
The small gameplay tweaks aren’t enough to rewrite a game that was designed around four-player co-op, but the core of the experience is so strong, rewarding, and entertaining that it serves as a feature-rich and exciting VR shooter in its own right despite its flaws. If you’re looking for a PSVR game to really sink your teeth into with dozens of hours of content, then Borderlands 2 VR is still an easy recommendation.
Arca's Path VRPS4
There’s no denying that Arca’s Path is a safe debut from DRI (or at least as safe as you can get with VR), but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth your time. This is a perfectly palatable little marble maze that straddles the line between challenge and fairness with mostly successful results. Most importantly, though, it’s that rare VR game that genuinely feels like anyone can pick up and play. For DRI, I suspect that’s mission accomplished.
Scraper: First StrikePC
Scraper: First Strike is a game that initially promises so much, yet never makes good on any of its promises. It offers the most basic mechanical trappings of what could later become a linear action RPG, yet never uses any of its design foundation for means greater than rote tasks and wave shooter combat. And while it continuously implies its intentions to segue into a larger narrative, it never comes close to giving you a reason to care.
Squishies may not be some profound realization of what puzzle games can be in VR, but it’s never anything less than entertaining even if that does often dip into frustration. Struggles with the controls aside, it’s a polished and thoughtfully-made experience with plenty of content and a charming world to explore. As far as ticking the boxes goes, it does so quite admirably.