If you're a regular reader here at Opium Pulses, you might remember a series of game reviews we did in the months following the release of the Oculus Quest.
As the Oculus Quest 2 recently released around the world, we're starting a new series of reviews featuring old and new titles that we haven't shared with readers here before.
Read part one here: https://www.opiumpulses.com/article/407/10-more-oculus-quest-game-reviews-p1
Let’s start in alphabetical order, simply ‘cause it's prettier…
A Fisherman's Tale
Not what we were expecting going into this game all, for a start we expected it to have a lot more to do with fishing that it does. But we’re thankful that this wasn’t the case, there are tons of VR fishing games, but there is nothing quite like A Fisherman’s Tale. Surreal, charming, funny and deeply clever, we’re not the biggest puzzle-adventure fans as you might have gathered from our previous reviews, however, this game totally immersed and entertained us, to the point that we nearly finished the entire game in one sitting!
It's hard to talk about A Fisherman’s Tale without giving away from of the surprises and twists that make up some of the ear-to-ear-smile moments we believe most players would experience from time to time while playing. You’re essentially a wooden puppet fisherman at his lighthouse home and have to solve mysteries and puzzles that open up new areas of your home and progress the story. All while manipulating objects and their size between different realities, we won’t spoil anymore than that because we genuinely think saying any more would ruin some really great surprises.
As for the downsides, the controls take a little while getting used to and while these might only be a little fiddly in seated mode, they still made certain tasks a pain to get right first time. Complete lack of free locomotion is also a real bummer since we find teleportation a huge immersion killer. I know a good amount of people are more than happy when games have teleport methods of motion though, we just wish players had the choice. Overall A Fisherman’s Tale is a beautiful and endlessly intriguing game that completely took us by surprise and hooks an easy…
Death Horizon: Reloaded
Originally an on-the-rails zombie shooter released for GearVR and Oculus Go headsets, Death Horizon has come a lot way since then. Reloaded is more of a sequel than it is a remaster, with new levels and a completely different way to play (thanks to the two 6DoF controllers), it really feels much more like a complete game now. Although many will likely compare this title to games like Arizona Sunshine and Drop Dead (both games we’ve reviewed in the past), we actually think it has more now in common with PC games like Doom 3 and Half-Life, particularly in regards to the atmosphere and aesthetics.
Based in a scientific research laboratory called Horizon, you’re fighting your way alone or with a friend in co-op through zombie-infested rooms and hallways, now with full locomotion and dual controller support, the game actually competes with some of the better VR zombie games on the market. Tons of atmosphere and depth has been added to the game’s setting and tone, with the realistic distant sounds of zombies lurking around, falling into furniture in adjacent rooms fills you with a sense of dread and a fear of what lies ahead. Full voice acting gives the game plot and therefore the journey through the lab some sense of meaning.
From humble beginnings, Death Horizon has really come a long way and feels way more than the generic hallway shooter that some may have defined it as during its initial release. Because of that, we wish the developers had given the game a name that suggested more strongly that it was both an evolution and sequel to the original, and not just a port. What we’d really like to see is some form of cross-play between headsets, at least with future ports to 6DoF headsets. Death Horizon: Reloaded swipes an easy…
Drunkn Bar Fight
I’ll get the good notes out of the way first as I’ll be honest, this game has so much potential to be something unique and great and sadly falls flat in almost every category. The game pretty much gives away what the concept of this title is. You walk in and around different areas surrounding a generic pub and start fights with the guests, using your fists or practically any object you can get hold of. The physics and reactions of the people you attack can create some real laugh out moments and it's true that the first few times you play it can act as a real stress reliever. The game has a solid soundtrack, online multiplayer and great item variety to keep the encounters fresh for a while.
What we dislike about the game is pretty much everything else. The graphics are worse than poor, they’re ugly. Some textures are so low resolution they’re straight up blurry, and that’s before you even get close. There are slow loading times between each small room, I’ve never seen another game on the quest as badly optimised as this, it slows the game down and is needlessly frustrating. The dialogue from the characters is immature and mentions bitcoin way too often not to notice, I’m surprised the walls aren’t plastered with posters of dead memes. The physics (while funny at times) are just janky and come across as sloppy. It gets boring and shows off all of its tricks after no more than 15 minutes of gameplay. It's just… bad.
We’re pretty big Postal fans at Opium Pulses and I had a feeling going in that maybe this game would share some similarities, but sadly this isn’t the case. For a clearly adult game with strong language, that allows you to beat the living crap out of people and even smoke / get drunk, we were surprised to see no blood or gore in the game, despite there being weapons like knives, glass bottles, saws, darts, nail guns etc. Which we imagine is less to do with age restrictions and more to do with optimisation reasons. If you have enough money to blow on 15-30 minutes of silly fun, by all means, go for it, but if you’d rather spend your money on genuinely immersing projects with talent and passion behind them, turn the other way and buy something else. Drunkn Bar Fights swings and misses, scoring just a…
An incredibly unique and well-polished title is Last Labyrinth. A mixture of horror, escape-room and puzzle the game oozes a Saw-like atmosphere and is really not what we were expecting after seeing the cover art. We really love the idea of you essentially being just an observant to the horrors in front of you, chained to your wheelchair with very limited movement in your hands and head (a true made-for-seated-VR experience), it gives you a deep sense of helplessness. You guide a young Asian girl through a house filled with puzzle-traps that can result in the gory demise of you and/or the girl. The developers seriously don’t hold back how visceral they make the traps, if you’re into horror movies you’ll be grinning ear to ear like a crazed lunatic.
With nothing but a laser pointer and ‘yes’ and ‘no’ responses via head nods and shakes, it’s up to you to instruct the girl what to do to open the next room's door. The game doesn’t hold back and after the first room’s puzzle throws you straight into the deep end. The first proper puzzle had us, well, puzzled for a good 15-20 minutes, trying numerous variations before it suddenly clicked what we had to do. But our first failure gave us a real shock, especially since the child is the one who got the chop before the trap slowly turned its attention to us. As horror fans ourselves we were delighted by the game’s attitude of not holding back. Don’t screw up, or you’re dead – and you’ll soon realise when you’ve made that fatal mistake.
This is the closest at the moment that you’d get to a Saw VR game and its not a bad start by a long shot. Our negatives would be that it's not made clear the child is speaking in a fictional language, leading you to believe you screwed up the language settings presented when you boot up the game. I assumed she was speaking Japanese and I needed to turn on subtitles somewhere. But its actually intentional and used to create a real language barrier between the two of you. The game can also be very slow at times, with the girl taking her sweet time to get between levers and the like. But we’ve played nothing else like it so far and think it would really scratch the itch of escape room fans who want something with a little more depth and consequence. Last Labyrinth fails only 3 puzzles and pulls in a rating of…
Penn & Teller VR: F U, U, U & U
We were very excited about this game when it was first revealed, Penn and Teller are legendary magicians by this point who have inspired countless others all around the world to get into magic. The idea of the game is to learn tricks and then act them out to your friends and family. The absolutely cringey game name (that you can tell the people involved find genuinely hilarious) stands for “Frankly Unfair, Unkind, Unnecessary, & Underhanded”, but the only U we really find is relevant here is the third one.
While the concept is a great idea and there is more than enough content to justify the price, we can’t help but feel like there was a lot of missed opportunities to come up with magic tricks that would actually amaze those you perform them with. Instead, it feels like mostly pranks aimed to scare or make a of a fool of people, to the point where it actually asks you to grab your friend very suddenly while they can see a shotgun aimed at them, we kind of found ourselves wondering when the lowkey bullying would end and the magic would begin, we sadly didn’t end up that lucky.
While we’re big fans of Penn and Teller as entertainers, we couldn’t help but notice how much Penn loves the sound of his own voice, babbling on far more than is necessary to teach you the tricks. If you bought this shortly before having family and friends over, they’d have to sit around for 30-60 minutes while you wade through endless dialogue and tutorials just to learn a very simple trick. This isn’t a show Penn and Teller, it’s a video game, a video game that’s potential was sawed in half and left with…
One of the better-looking games we’ve ever had the pleasure to play on the Oculus Quest, showcasing what can actually be achieved if you put in some real effort. Textures, lighting and reflections are all stunningly good. Based on one of Saturn’s moons, you’re an agent sent to investigate a research project. The story is full of eerie atmosphere and almost horror-like moments, and even though it does feel like there’s a genuine threat at times, the majority of what you will be doing during your time in-game is solving puzzles.
It’s actually this fact that led us to think we might not enjoy Red Matter much, we’re not the world’s biggest puzzle fans, but there’s something about these particular tasks that aren’t just hard enough to give you a real sense of reward, without being hard enough to be frustrating. The game has some interesting control and movement ideas, a mixture of teleporting, dashes and smooth locomotion (used in tandem) give you a unique way to traverse the world compared to most games. The developers even custom designed in-game tools that match the general aesthetic of the controllers you use to play the game, giving a deeper sense of immersion when looking at your hands in-game, which is such a great idea given the drastic difference in design between Vive and Oculus controllers for example.
Red Matter is a wonderfully put together game, polished enough that there’s no obvious immersion-breaking bugs or glitches. Truly setting the bar of what is achievable on portable Quest hardware. This is usually where we start to talk about the negatives and the only one we can think of is the game’s length, clocking in at only around 4-5 hours, depending on how fast your noggin works. Besides that, we think if a puzzle game is exciting to a non-puzzle fan, then it must be something pretty special. Red Matter only leaves one and a half puzzles unsolved, scoring a…
This might end up on of our shortest reviews as there really isn’t much to discuss, least of all for the relatively uncreative group of people that we at Opium Pulses are. SculptVR can be described in its most basic form as a 3D version of Microsoft Paint, however, the tools and features are a lot deeper than this and allow for truly incredible works of art. Unlike 2D applications, ScultVR is able to track every twist, turn and flick of your hand, allowing for very precise detail. It felt at times almost like a creative mode in Minecraft, the world is very much your oyster.
The most exciting and impressive feature for us was the inclusion of online multiplayer, you can join rooms of up to 5 different people, to create your work of art together whilst chatting nonsense and having a laugh. You can play in your own private room, open yours up to friends, or join strangers – so whatever you’d prefer at the click of a button you can be playing with as little or many people as you like. Get a bunch of creative people in a room together and bet the types of things created would be spectacular.
Our downsides would be the restricted movement options, at times we wanted to view our creation from a different or further angle and had to manually turn on locomotion manually, which would turn off by default every time we started creating again, even though the left stick seemingly isn’t used to create at all. Another frustration is we couldn’t find a simple way to erase some of what we’d done without hitting undo or firing a rocket at our creation, sometimes you want to erase just the tip of an exaggerated paint flick or something and we couldn’t find a way to do this easily. Besides these few irritations, SculptVR paints itself a comfortable…
TribeXR DJ School
While this game is described as a “DJ School” we think its main audience should be focused towards those who are interested in but can’t or can no longer DJ with a real deck, whether due to space, cost or time restraints. It’s clearly designed to be incredibly realistic, without a single knob or dial overlooked. We’re not experienced DJs by any stretch of the word, but we’re sure with enough dedicated time spent in TribeXR, we could learn enough to be competent enough to DJ in the physical world. However, we do think the physical resistance and feedback that you feel and become accustomed to with a physical set will not be something you can effectively learn in the VR world.
The game appears to only feature samples of a handful of tracks, encouraging you to import your own to the mix. It’s a shame the game doesn’t have an established soundtrack but I’m sure most aspiring or experienced DJs would prefer to mix their own tracks anyway. There is lobby and streaming functionality meaning there are options to play privately alongside friends or live to the world. If you’re new to DJing entirely, then there are tutorials and training sessions that can explain the fundamentals and what dial does what, but we do think describing the game as a “school” might be a little of a stretch.
The deck being real size means the play space is quite large, we found ourselves hitting tables and walls a lot when reaching from one turntable to the next, if you’re hoping this will reduce the amount of space needed to play, that only applies really once you take the headset off. The other thing to note is that desk and environment skins are sold for real money, these are obviously only cosmetic, but the base game isn’t cheap either – so if these sorts of microtransactions put you off, then it’s something to bear in mind. In summary, we think TribeXR is positively meticulous in its execution and would be a joy to play for anyone with even a passing interest in DJing, but not very accessible for those who want an easy and fun way to mash-up tracks. It spins up a score of…
Tsuro: The Game of The Path
Let us start by saying we absolutely adored our time playing Tsuro (Japanese for ‘Route’). It’s simple rules and unpredictability make it a joy to jump in and play without reading an hour of game rules. The aim is to stay on the board longer than any of your opponents by placing tiles adjacent to your player piece with paths that lead in various directions, if your path ever leads to the outer edge of the board then you’re out of the game. If another player is on the edge of the tile you put down, you can affect their movement, meaning you can take others out of the game while saving yourself. It's so simple yet so deeply complex that its nothing but a joy to play.
We’ve never been huge advocates for board games in VR as we find most the time we’d prefer to take the hulking weight off our forehead and play the physical board game instead, but Tsuro tries to justify its presence in VR as much as possible by including online play as well as allowing you to warp to different locations around the board to get better viewing angles as the paths crisscrossing can sometimes confuse where your piece might end up after placing a tile. We still don’t think it fully justifies being played in VR, but it still gives you perks for doing so.
The game supports Oculus Quest hand-tracking which is still not adopted by most developers at the moment, so it's nice to see some love for an incredibly useful and unique function. Our only downsides so far would be lack of free locomotion controls and limited seating and turning options, but we believe these are in the pipeline to be implemented soon, which is encouraging but frustrating as we think accessibility features like this should be there from release. Despite our nit-picky downsides, we encourage all boardgame fanatics and those seeking a Zen-like multiplayer experience to check Tsuro out. This game makes a genius move and scores a…
This carnival-themed collection of six cute and cheerful minigames is both hit and miss, depending on the types of things you enjoy (we particularly enjoyed the firehose game). Very much aimed towards children, you unlock minigames one at a time until you’ve played each one at least once. With random chances to earn extra tokens with each play, which you can redeem and spend on a wheel of fortune, unlocking cosmetics and items you can use with each of the minigames. The end goal really is to earn enough to unlock all items and be skilled enough to hit a top score in each game type.
You guide your character around a fairground, selecting each minigame and its difficulty variant by walking towards it. There’s maybe some fun to be had as an adult here, but it will be limited to an hour or so worth of play. Luckily the game is fairly priced, so you won’t feel short-changed. This started as an Oculus Go/Gear VR game, and while it plays perfectly well on the Quest, it doesn’t do much else to take advantage of the new 6DoF technology, just allows for more fluid and better-tracked movement. The golf game, however, seems overly wonky and not optimised fully to 6DoF controls. Would nice to see a few games made specifically with the Quest in mind.
Areas for improvement would be firstly multiplayer, right now this is just pass-and-play, which can barely be considered multiplayer. Your character seems to have a stock look, you can’t customise the way they look outside of unlocked cosmetics, which was an odd choice considered there are so many other kids at the carnival they could have allowed you to pick from. It would have been nice to allow you to control your character with the thumbstick on the Quest controllers, as opposed to pointing and clicking where you want him/her to move, this was clearly left over from the Go version and seems an odd choice when playing on the Quest. Besides all that, it’s a nice collection of child-friendly minigames that should keep them entertained for a few hours. It's not spectacular but it's not bad by a long shot. It shoots and scores…
Are you interested in buying an Oculus Quest 1/2? Which games pique your interest the most and are there any you think we should review?