This here is the third part of our Oculus Quest game reviews, this time a mixture of brand new release and launch titles! Check out our previous 10 reviews in part two here: https://www.opiumpulses.com/article/310/10-oculus-quest-new-release-reviews-p2
Let’s start in alphabetical order, simply ‘cause it's prettier…
Most likely not what you’d expect from the name, even if you’re not expecting a straight-up accountant simulator. Accounting+ has much more in common with titles like Virtual Virtual Reality and Bonfire than it does with a game like Job Simulator (what we expected going in). The game relies a lot more on the comedy of each scene’s narration than it does with its limited gameplay, with each section providing a uniquely odd and progressively adult experience that continuously takes you off guard.
The narration of the introduction area is delivered with the sass of titles like Elevator to the Moon but with the dry, deadpan silliness that only British-born minds can muster. Much of the game involves you doing next to nothing whilst you listen to crazy, eccentric characters talk absolute nonsense – which is so well written and performed you stay listening until there’s absolute silence so that you don’t miss anything. The game is so evidently inspired by Rick and Morty and even references it several times, which if you’re a fan, isn’t necessarily a bad thing – I laughed out loud at least 5 times during my first hour spent in the world of Accounting+. The first 15 minutes of narration is flawlessly funny and a rare type of humour, even when compared to similar titles, but the Rick and Morty inspiration also draws some negatives to the title.
Eventually, the narrator asks you to pick your favourite of three Ricky and Morty memes, describing each one as if memes actually offer opportunity for intellectual thought around their meanings, you can tell at this point that the narrator is serious, he genuinely loves these memes. If you’re past the age of 30 you’ll likely cringe all the way through this part as you feel yourself connect less and less with the “comedy” that started off so strong. After this it goes from strength to strength and the R&M inspiration actually starts to work heavily in the game’s favour, the only downside is that sometimes dialogue can extend to what feels like 10 minutes with very little interactivity, but this could just be down to us not wanting to miss anything, you can, in theory, skip most of the dialogue, but maybe for those who wish to sit through it all, something to do in the meantime would help the pacing. It’s still funny as hell and rarely boring so despite its flaws, just for its comedy and uniqueness alone, we’re gonna chuck it a…
The 1969 mission to land on the moon is one of human kind’s greatest achievements and John F Kennedy’s inspirational speech to accompany it is my all-time personal favourite presidential speech. Apollo 11 VR is designed to take you on a journey through that mission from the astronauts' launch to their return home to Earth. The game starts off showing extensive video from Kennedy’s speech and the launch in a 60’s attired living room - an awesome experience that really shows how lucky those living in the 60s were to have witnessed such an important moment for science and mankind. The few things that Apollo 11 on the Quest gets right are that it provides a base experience and lesson for those who want to know more about the iconic mission and allows those that lived in that moment a chance to reminisce and see the event through different eyes.
The things that it gets wrong I could sadly spend quite some time writing about, but I think I will just mention the ones that most affected my experience and enjoyment. Before we get into the negatives, one thing that may just be personal preference but one that I think is worth mentioning is the music, while there is nothing fundamentally wrong with it, I just think it’s unnecessary and actually breaks immersion in a big way. The nervous dialogue between the astronauts and ground control, the endless beeping of the rocket dashboard and the roaring blast from the take-off itself create enough powerful atmosphere without borderline cheesy action movie music layered over it – but as I said, this is just an opinion, maybe other people would think the music actually adds to the experience. A quick fix, either way, would be a music toggle, which doesn’t exist – along with almost any other notable settings.
As for outright negatives as I said there are many. The graphics are poor, and completely inconsistent, the ship can look decent but the moon surface on descent looks more pixelated than Doom graphics (not an exaggeration), how glaring these inconsistencies are is impossible not to notice and for that alone kills a lot of the immersion. There’s also a distinctive line about ¼ up from your view, and anything below has its resolution dropped by about half. At mission launch, I was clipped through the back of the chair and wasn’t sure how to fix it without leaning forward for half the experience. Interactive mode is either completely absent code or broken, as each time I switched it on hitting any button froze the visuals while the audio continued. On descent back to earth one of the astronauts was shaking around uncontrollably (understandable) while the other was almost entirely dead still. Each of the 10 or so sections have 30-60 second load times, even when placed between 2-3 minute scenes. Despite the title being an Oculus Quest launch title (a few months ago now) it still feels rushed or early in development and while it has potential to do something great, it sadly just makes free alternatives shine brighter…
Drop Dead: Dual Strike Edition
What might appear a pretty generic zombie shooter at first actually starts to grow on you over time. Offering a full single-player and surprisingly story-rich campaign that slowly teaches you the various zombie types, weapons at your disposal and different methods for earning points and beating each zone. Now for the first time since the game released for mobile headsets, you can dual wield weapons and mix-match both guns and melee objects. Unlike other popular VR zombie shooters like Arizona Sunshine and Death Horizon, Drop Dead focuses a lot less on horror and more on action, the zombies look brighter and more cartoony than we’re used to these days, but it doesn’t take away from the enjoyment.
While it’s not 100% consistent, the graphics in Drop Dead are actually surprisingly decent, even when compared to its PC counterpart, the textures on the guns and story characters are clear and detailed, some environmental objects are of lower quality but overall what actually matters, looks good. Gun and melee play is fun and responsive and there are good options for seated/standing and comfort modes (which all controllable VR game should have in our option). The multiplayer offers a horde mode that you can play in private or matchmade games, these use the Oculus avatars as your character, allows voice chat and swapping of weapons and covering fire, you also stand in different but close enough locations on the map at different angles, meaning when the mode starts increasing in difficulty your partner can cover your blind spot, which makes it feel very cooperative and not just two people shooting their own stream of zombies.
There’s way more than enough content in Drop Dead to justify its fairly low price and despite its uninspired name and cover art, it actually has a lot of charm and personality once you begin playing it. If you enjoy FPS, zombies, first-person tower defence, on-rails shooters or just the rare breed of enjoyable multiplayer VR games then Drop Dead will probably have a ‘lil sumthin for you. The game more than deserves a cheeky…
Gun Club VR
This one is a weird concept, a simulation game based simply on just.. shooting guns? While it’s unfair to say that that’s all Gun Club VR is, it’s hard to explain much else of what it is either. It’s certainly aimed at real or digital gun enthusiasts and attempts to simulate the design, mechanics, feel and sound of real-life firearms. Being British I wouldn’t know a whole deal about real-life guns as they’re essentially myths for our little crumpet munching nation. But what I do know is it feels and sounds good to fire them at targets and enemy cut-outs. Your weapons are heavily customisable and as you practice you earn cash to buy new models and add your own modifications to them.
There are different game modes and areas that you unlock over time that offer you different ways to earn cash and unlock additions to your arsenal. For someone who is going to play this game a lot, this is a great system that will keep them coming back for just one more gun or upgrade. But for the casual or curious gamer that wants to just see what content overall this game has to offer, the grind to unlock new guns and attachments can begin to feel somewhat of a chore. Not to mention that early on your gun choices really matter, my first purchase was a dessert eagle, which as many might know, has a much smaller clip size than something like an M9, meaning I had to reload a lot more often during trials and in turn shot fewer targets and earned less cash as a result, making the grind even slower. For this, we think players new to this type of experience could benefit from having good choices for successful progression pointed out to them.
Overall Gun Club offers both a realistic and fun experience for those who want to try out what it’s like to aim, shoot and reload various different weapons without taking your grandfathers ancient, dusty rifle to a field to shoot rusty old bean cans. It offers progression, a decent amount of content and has a good balance of realism and video game fun to justify its price. We’re shooting it a respectable…
Journey of the Gods
What looks like an action-RPG at first glance actually turns out to be so much more, besides the incredibly tight and good feeling sword and crossbow gameplay, Journey of the Gods also has elements of the still very under-tapped god game genre. Allowing you to be on the ground fighting an enemy and then at the grip of a button, phase into a birds-eye view and raise a tree for cover or throw down lightning from the skies at your foe. It feels incredibly unique and is so well designed with layers and layers of polish that it’s hard not to have a good time. The weapons have great feedback and sound that it’s fun just to swing about even when there’s nothing to kill.
Items to collect, villagers to help and enemies to fight is not the extent of experiences to have, the world also throws huge bosses at you 30 times as tall as you are, rampaging through villages as well as their own habitats, while you work on techniques that will bring them to the ground. It gives you such a great sense of world scale and is an awesome feeling to bring something down so many times your size with just some well-placed and well-timed attacks. Between areas you return to a town where you can trade your collectables in for upgrades and useful items, while we liked cashing in between missions to boost our abilities, it was far too large and maze-like than necessary – maybe there’s a reason for this later on in the game but at start, it does make the process between missions very slow.
I wasn’t (and still am not to a degree) a fan of the art style, the low poly aesthetic is one that’s been adopted a lot more since the recent popularity of mobile VR, and for good reason. But JotG seems to take it a step further by even removing facial features and expressions from NPCs and creatures, I see and appreciate the style, it just doesn’t 100% sit right with me. I’ve warmed to the art style in this particular game, but it’s not one of my favourite art styles used in VR. When the game feels so damn polished and runs at such a high and consistent framerate, however, it is hard to complain. Journey of the Gods very rarely falters and gives even more due credit to the Oculus Quest’s incredible launch line up…
Let’s have this said right out of the gate… Raccoon Lagoon is awesome! This title was the biggest surprise to us out of all 10 games in this article’s line up, what initially looks like just a pet simulator soon shows you how ashamed you should be of judging such a cute book by its adorable cover. Raccoon Lagoon is as much about the animals that surround you as it is about exploration and using your skills to acquire better items and discover new explorable areas. While the game is mostly focused on exploration and progressing to new areas, it also offers almost RPG like skills such as mining, fishing, woodcutting and farming used in gathering resources, it feels almost like a stripped-back virtual reality version of RuneScape where the pets drive the quests instead of human NPCs.
The game allows complete freedom to complete the tasks in any order you like, or just spend an hour fishing or mining for gems, the game goes at the pace you choose and there’s something very therapeutic about literally cutting down a tree and slicing the logs in to segments in VR. But then there’s multiplayer, now you can do all of this, but with someone else in your world exploring it all alongside you. I actually joined a multiplayer game once but noticed they’d only been playing for around 10 minutes and was still deep into exploring the world around them, I watched from the spawn point as they got on their tiptoes to try knock an apple from a tree only for it to fall on their head, raising their real-life hands to protect their physical head from a virtual apple, I couldn’t bring myself to interrupt their experience so left them to it, but it showed off perfectly well just how fun gathering resources to progress through the game with a friend could be. Raccoon Lagoon is the sort of game where hours spent in the world can feel like 10 minutes and puts you into their world of almost child-like exploration and discovery.
Our negatives are that the game doesn’t have seated/standing options, which is made even worse by the fact that your character doesn’t have and isn’t supposed to have legs – so when you start the game you think you’ve sunk into the ground, spent far too long discovering this was intentional. Besides that, maybe some more character customisations? That’s really all we’ve got.. Our hope is that the developers will introduce new skills and resources to gather to match the particular mood of anyone playing. If you want to relax, manhandle some cute animals or want a new world to explore with a friend, Raccoon Lagoon is for yoon…
Our new favourite sports game for the Oculus Quest is here. Now listen up, Racket NX is a pretty unique game – the easiest way for us to explain it is a 360 Tron-esque brick breaker game that you play centrally with a futuristic-looking tennis racket. The aim is to have the ball hit or pass coloured shapes on a tiled wall that surrounds you in the quickest time possible, getting combos and upgrades as you go. It’s the definition of easy to learn and hard to master, but not so hard that it's out of reach by the average person, after just an hour of play we felt like a tile breaking beast! The graphics are great and the music really gets you pumped, its an incredibly hard game not to have fun in and if you find none of it fun you are broken somewhere deep, deep down.
Nothing about what you do in the game is particularly spectacular, so explaining its premise doesn’t do it much justice, but what is absolutely spectacular is the gameplay itself, it might be the most polished game we’ve played so far on the Quest, the controls are incredibly precise and tight, you very rarely feel like you were robbed of a shot that you should have hit and watching the ball whirl its way around the arena creating point combos is just so exhilarating. Pulling the trigger creates a sort of gravitational pull on the ball back to your racket so if you mess up a shot or don’t like where the ball is heading, you can whip it back and line up a better shot, or use this method to increase the balls speed back to you in order to hit the ball more powerfully. For a game that draws you into quite a lot of exercise you barely notice it, however with all the spinning you can start to lose awareness of where you’re facing in the real world after not too long. There’s multiplayer and this works flawlessly too, the ball changes colour each time a player hits it, meaning only one of you can hit the ball at once, taking in turns to try make each shot land the most points.
Our only negatives would be that your second-hand doesn’t really do much, besides being able to swap the bat to this hand, would have been nice including power-ups that involved your second hand. The competitive multiplayer is great but there’s no co-operative mode (has since been added), which would be a great gateway to novice players who want to get in to multiplayer. I joined an online game very early on and was owned so badly that it made conversation with the other player very awkward. Racket NX will probably be overlooked by many as just yet another bat and ball game, I can’t see anyone realising just how much fun this title is until they jump in – so what are you waiting for?...
A hacker stealth game that feels and looks like Watch_Dogs and Splinter Cell had a child in a hospital where VR games are born. Your view of the game is via CCTV cameras that you have hacked, giving you higher control of the facility around you as you progress. Your overall mission is to help a recently locked up girl called Hope escape from her captivity while learning some pretty alarming secrets along the way. You indirectly control Hope by aiming at structures and items around her (tasers, pepper spray, collectables, items of intel etc.) - all while avoiding being caught by the armed guards.
The game is very story-driven, each person and item in the game has a story behind it, so if you’re into the deeper stories of the worlds your games are set in then République has a lot to offer. The graphics are decent enough and consistent regardless of what is being rendered. It's hard to explain the game without giving too many spoilers but what’s exciting about the gameplay is that you are only an observer, Hope’s reactions to the world and people around her are limited to your direction, so if you make a mistake you have a limited time to correct it before Hope is caught and your mission is failed – however, if you take the time and plan out your next moves, things should mostly go your way.
République brings a fresh perspective to the world of VR games and offers as many opportunities as it does limitations to unique gameplay. If you aren’t a fan of stealth titles then the only other pillar you can lean on is the story, since the hacking and action elements aren’t enough to keep you invested on their own and there aren’t too many style mix-ups to keep you on your toes. But for fans of the genres, République is a solid title with plenty of polish and optimised well for the various headsets it supports.
Swords of Gargantua
The main focus here is combat, and more specifically sword-based combat. Swords of Gargantua places you in almost Gladiator-like battles against various foes in full suits of armour. You’re thrown into training where you learn how to use your gear, how to make critical hits, how to dodge/parry attacks and how to regenerate your health. The battles start off simple and slowly increase the difficulty and amount of enemies thrown at you as you progress. As you play you can unlock new swords, throwing knives and various other weapons like maces and nunchucks.
We imagine with a lot of playtime you could build up quite the skill set, dashing around, blocking incoming attacks and swinging your weapon where you know it will hurt the enemy most, but the game lacks just the right amount of polish to help it feel intuitive. Enemy attacks sometimes go right through your shield and your weapon constantly gets stuck against them. Now the enemies are supposed to be solid objects in heavy suits of armour, so I get that you shouldn't exactly slice straight through them, but with no actual impact feedback, seeing your sword get stuck while you’re still swinging just doesn’t feel enjoyable. So many other games have swordplay aspects and perform this much better than a game that is supposed to be solely focused on the activity. Games like Orbus VR and Journey of the Gods (while RPGs) handle swordplay miles better than SoG, and actually feel good in the process.
There’s apparently cooperative multiplayer in Swords of Gargantua but the three different times I’ve tried it no one has been logged in, now this isn’t the fault of the developer but many of the reviews say the co-op is where this game most shines. But if you can’t find anyone online you’re stuck with what the developers gave you for a single-player experience and in Swords of Gargantua that content unfortunately just feels… unfinished…
Virtual Virtual Reality
No two game sessions in this title are much the same, the idea behind it is that you enter different virtual worlds using virtual reality headsets in game (hence the name) and meet various artificially intelligent beings that for the most part are embodied in various everyday items, performing a variety of physics-based tasks in order to please them. VVR doesn’t take itself seriously in the slightest and shares similarities with games like Elevator to the Moon and Accounting+. Much like these other titles you can have just as much fun sitting back and listening to the narration from all the wonky characters in the game, even before you start interacting with the crazy physics that you can manipulate in each world.
Virtual Virtual Reality is incredibly polished and just feels very well made, the physics are spot on and there’s almost nothing in each area that cannot be toyed around with. The silly dialogue keeps things light and entertaining while the tight controls make messing around with objects a strangely soothing joy. It feels like the number of headsets you can find to put on in-game are endless and each scenario feels worlds apart from the next. Some genuine talent, creativity and love has gone into the making of this game and it really shows off just how mindless fun VR can be. Certain characters and areas seem to take a decent dose of inspiration for games like Portal, but here we have fewer puzzles and more just straight up pissing around!
It looks great, it feels great and it changes things up at such a decent pace that just as something is losing its novelty, you’re thrown straight into something completely different. If you just want to get lost in unpredictable worlds of the weird and chaotic and don’t feel like using your brain all that much or just want something that is going to make you chuckle, then Virtual Virtual Reality is up there with some of the best choices you can make. If there is another game out there that has you taking bizarre orders from an over-enthusiastic tumbleweed or a kink shamed slab of butter, we’d like to know about it!
Do you have an Oculus Quest? Which games are you enjoying the most so far? Has it met, failed to meet or exceeded your expectations?