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 two here: https://www.opiumpulses.com/article/411/10-more-oculus-quest-game-reviews-p2
Let’s start in alphabetical order, simply ‘cause it's prettier…
More simply described as a 1v1 online duelling game, the concept of which most will be familiar with if they’ve seen almost any Wild West movie, but this time with a more futuristic theme. You start each match facing another colourful-looking robotic opponent with a timer counting down the seconds before the duel starts. After the timer ends, you’ll be surrounded with various guns and tools to use in your duel against the other player. Similar to beat-em-up games, you both have a health bar and can only take some much pain before you lose the duel.
Each game has differently sized projectiles with varying speeds, but you’ll also be able to use other tools such as shields to block bullets you’d struggle to dodge. Some bullets go so slow you can almost use them strategically to stop your opponent from dodging in a specific direction, while you bombard them with a volley of faster moving projectiles. There’s actually quite a lot of strategy, which you wouldn’t expect from a game based on two people shooting each other practically point-blank. Your success will be in which guns you choose and when / how you decide to use them. Just aiming directly at your opponent with every gun will give them too much opportunity to dodge your attacks, you have to think ahead of the immediate.
Impressed by how deep the developers have made the premise of the game, we can’t help but wonder how long this type of game would keep some VR users occupied. We could be wrong though, maybe the progression and learning-curve only gets more satisfying as you play. We’d like to see maybe support for 2v2 and AI duels and better support for those playing seated (snap turning is supposedly not a thing yet). We’re also a little iffy on micro-transactions in a paid game, so don’t be surprised if Blaston one day switches to free-to-play. Blaston shoots first and lands a…
Essentially a three-dimensional colouring book, we recently reviewed another artistic Oculus Quest title called ScuptVR and our main issue with that is that if you aren’t all that creative then it can be hard to know where to start or what to build (which also made the game hard to review!). Color Space doesn’t have this problem, the environments are created for you and are on the pages of various books which signify different themes of the spaces available to paint (wildlife, transport etc). You have incredibly easy to use tools to colour every unique object and area of terrain in the world around you, complete freedom allows you to colour familiar words in bizarre colours, no strings attached.
Your paint palette and wand have visual tools that are mapped to the location of buttons on your controllers, which means making changes and colour tweaks is refreshingly simple. We can imagine this would be wonderfully relaxing and enjoyable for people of all ages, from children to the elderly. One nice touch is that scenes almost come to life as you colour areas around you, almost like you’re bringing the drawings to life. The team still seem to be added more content for free so hopefully, they continue to add extra scenes, or maybe even allow user-submitted content somehow?
Some things we’d love to see to help the game improve would be the ability to colour the sky-box, a way to play the game online with others would be great and help give the game replayability after players start to run out of scenes to colour in and a way for more content to trickle into the game to keep things fresh, maybe there’s opportunity to work out some licensing deals. Overall Color Space is a really nice way to just sit back and de-stress in VR and relax your mind but our main concern is longevity. Color Space only smudges a few lines and rates a…
This game can be considered virtual reality’s answer to the smash hit party game ‘Overcooked’. The objective is to accurately fill the orders of customers to a sandwich bar, getting the correct ingredients in the right order in a certain amount of time. Each customer will have a specific request you have to pick and chop the ingredients and condiments and build them their dream sandwich. Which starts off simple and enjoyable and eventually ramps up until you and anyone else around you are hysterical, ingredients flying around the room!
While this game can be played in solo, with a speaking AI robot to aid you, where this game really shines is in the multiplayer. You’ll have all ingredients unique to you and tasks in the kitchen that need pitch-perfect team communication to keep on track and even the slightest mishap can snowball your once well-oiled team into a trembling mess as customers begin to impatiently walk away. Both of these scenarios are great to play and hilarious in their own ways so there’s almost no way to not have fun in this game unless of course, you take it all a little too seriously.
Our only real criticisms would be that the difficulty in games with fewer people can be a little brutal at times, so more balancing here would go a long way, even if it's just giving the customers a little more patience for the under-staffed situation we’re in! We’re incredibly happy that someone has decided to bring this concept to VR and couldn’t be happier that Resolution Games were the ones responsible, it has a hell of a lot of potential and hopefully more content and game modes are in-bound. Cook-Out serves up a tasty…
Dash Dash World
The virtual reality equivalent to Mario Kart, Dash Dash World is a fast and frantic racer packed with multiple game modes, challenges, tracks, vehicles, weapons, customisations and more. The developers have really packed as much content and features into the game as possible, seemingly in an effort to achieve the highest level of replayability. If you’re into casual but competitive racers, there’s a whole lot to do and aim for in Dash Dash World.
The multiplayer is likely where most the fun is to be had (although there is a fleshed-out AI-focused single-player mode included), cross-play is supported between Steam, PSVR, Rift and Quest versions and we had no trouble finding other players in the early afternoon GMT. The power-ups are wacky and unique, I personally never thought I’d be slowing down other racers with pools of honey swarming with bees, shooting up their ride with egg-launching chickens or smacking them upside the head with a giant frying pan.
This was the first racer that we’ve reviewed for the Oculus Quest so we don’t have much to compare it to, but we think the bar is set pretty high with DDW, at least as far as casual racers go. Our only negative would be that if you’re not careful this game can induce some pretty serious motion sickness, especially during the sharp turning or loop-the-loop moments. This, however, is not the game’s fault as it offers more than enough options to help reduce sickness, we just wrongly assumed our VR legs were stronger than they evidently were. We recommend studying the anti-sickness options before jumping into a race. Besides that, the only negative we can muster is the fairy generic and boring name… Dash Dash World passes the finish line with only 3 minutes to spare, scoring a…
We should start by saying this one is not a game and more a short film / immersive experience. However, that does not in any way make it not worthy of anyone’s attention, gamer or not! Without ruining any of the plot, Gloomy Eyes paints the picture of a very dark word, with very little light and scary, twisted characters. The whole experience is focused on telling the story from your unique point of view, almost although you’re a camera or higher being, watching the moments unfold in front of you. Scenes rise and swing into your focus, allowing you to see the small detail of characters’ expressions and the drearily beautiful world they inhabit.
The art, atmosphere and music could be described as the work of Tim Burton, H. P. Lovecraft and Stranger Things inspired creators, the characters wouldn’t look out of place in The Nightmare Before Christmas. The design alone is not solely where this game shines, the story, the narration, the way lighting is used, the way the dark and depressing atmosphere is penetrated by the hope and love of the characters who’s complicated relationship builds an almost continuous smile upon your face during your time spent watching. An absolute joy, start to finish – even if we couldn’t help wishing there were some interactive moments.
If we had to nit-pick, we’d say that snap turning would be appreciated for those who choose or have to watch this seated, you either need to be stood up or sat in a swivel chair to experience it without hurting your neck and even them sometimes scenes formed too close or too far away resulting in you having to back up. Besides this, the textures used in scenes where you are watching very closely sometimes left a lot to be desired, however, the game is just too beautiful to cry over spilt milk. As huge Burton fans, Gloomy Eyes resonated with us in a big way, lighting up an easy score of…
Guns'n'Stories: Bulletproof VR
This game could be perfect for a particular type of person who just likes basic shooters where the gunplay is the focus, particularly if you’re into Wild West themes. There are two main game modes, story and arcade. In story you will be presented before each mission with an almost comic-like cutscene involving the discussion between an elderly man and his grandson, which loosely sets the story behind the next stage, which seem to be mostly showdown gunfights in which you are stood still and have to shoot cowboys surrounding the saloon and carts ahead of you, bullets move in slow motion, allowing you to dodge or shoot/swipe them away with your gun. Arcade is essentially the same thing, just without the story elements.
If that sounds like your type of game then great, but you should consider some points that impacted our enjoyment first, and make a judgment as to whether they are deal-breakers to you or not. First of all, for a game based almost solely on shooting guns, it doesn’t feel particularly great – there are no hit markers and blood effects are so minor than enemies further away will be hard to tell if you’ve hit them. You’ll take fire from all angles and there’s no way to tell if bullets are on their way to you outside of your view, meaning you can be aiming at one group while being gunned down by another you didn’t know existed. This might be intentional but it's just frustrating, Pistol Whip do this job much, much better. There’s also no multiplayer and the dialogue is so badly written and acted that it just comes across as corny and borderline cringe.
Looking at the reviews on the Oculus webstore, it seems like opinions are divided and many people enjoy the simplicities and tunnel vision functions of the game, which can be welcomed attributes if you hone that one trick into something beautifully tight and polished. As far as we’re concerned Guns’n’Stories (another terrible name), had one job, and they lazily slapped it together. While it has some redeeming qualities if you’re into this specific type of game, it gets a GOOD (to a degree, but mostly) BAD and UGLY from us, we’d rather play LucasArts’ 1997 masterpiece ‘Outlaws’. You people need a new sheriff…
As the underdog of VR’s many popular workout/rhythm games, OhShape tries to do something very different from the norm and should be commended for doing so. In a similar vein to game show ‘Hole in the Wall’, your objective is to position your body in displayed shapes as walls come towards you, allowing you to fit through. This is roughly done to the rhythm of the music playing, which features a fair amount of decent quality but relatively unknown artists.
On easier difficulties and slower songs, it can feel a little silly just raising and bending your arms every 5-6 seconds, however, once the difficulty or tempo picks up and you’re changing position every 1-2 seconds it can start to get very intense and exciting and begins to feel much more in line with the music. Unlike a lot of rhythm games, OhShape is specifically designed to encourage you to move your entire body, including legs. Although some serious stretching means you can reach most positions, there’s also a small room mode for people who want the fun without as much of the workout.
Generally, OhShape is some good fun, especially for more casual players and those looking for more of a workout and less of a video game. It’s not as exhilarating or adrenaline pumping as other games in the genre, but we’re fairly sure that’s supposed to be the point. Our main downside would be that the accuracy metre is either incredibly unforgiving or the tracking is a little wonky, as it appeared we only hit around 50-60% of our stances, despite being pretty much on the ball throughout. OhShape moulds itself a respectful…
Pixel Ripped 1995
This might be the first time we’ve played a game where it pained us that we don’t have a whole article to dedicate to it alone. Pixel Ripped is a VR adventure set in the imagination and video games of a young boy growing up in the 90s, you’ll switch perspective from playing games in your VR world on a TV, to playing directly from within the games, to actually having the graphics and characters materialise around you. It feels exactly like how you’re absolutely enveloped in a game when you’re young, so much so that they form and warp your daily thoughts and dreams, for a period of time, they become your entire world.
While the Pixel Ripped has a story, characters and environments that you’ll progress through, the main content is in its mini-games that are heavily influenced by 90s video games like Zelda, Pokémon, Sonic, Metroid, Zool, Road Rash, Streets of Rage (and SO many more that we don’t have time to list), each game is beautifully designed with polished gameplay and tight controls, so much so they could easily have been classics from back in the day. As someone who grew up in the late 80s / early 90s, I recognise and appreciate so many of the homages the game plays to classic titles of the age, it’s like a pure shot of nostalgic adrenaline. It’s also one of the most immersive games we’ve played, one time I was sat playing at my TV in-game and the door swung open and for half a second my brain thought someone was coming through my real-world front door!
The dialogue, voice acting and aesthetics display a refreshingly high level of attention to detail. There’s no mistaking that this game is plain and simple a labour of love, if you were born between 1980-1990 then its worth your money for the nostalgia alone, we guarantee you’ll smile and chuckle a minimum of 5 times an hour, if you don’t, you’re dead inside. I genuinely can’t think of any negatives, besides maybe the weird Latin American accent they give your clearly Caucasian Mother? No, but seriously, 6 articles down, 60 games reviewed… this is the first to get a near-perfect…
If you’ve played Space Pirate Trainer, Star Shaman feels almost like its fantasy-themed cousin, with a colourful and almost psychedelic art style. You’re tasked with travelling around the galaxy, fighting off evil forces in an attempt to bring the beauty of life back to planets long forgotten. If you enjoy themes of magic and majesty, combining spells and weapons with last-second strategy and tactics under an upbeat and addictively funky soundtrack, Star Shaman might be the perfect game for you!
Unfortunately for us, it didn’t quite grab our attention for long enough, the dialogue and progression between planets (including unnecessary grind) can be painfully slow and boring and even when the combat is exciting and intense, you’re brought back to an abrupt halt the moment poorly written dialogue and absolutely unnecessary alien languages are tasked with keeping your attention, no one likes reading subtitles in VR and this game essentially forces it on all of us. For those who are more story-driven and like to feel drenched in the lore and atmosphere of the worlds, might feel differently to us, however, we play VR to do things we can’t do in the real world and if I wanted to hear boring characters natter about stuff that isn’t interesting, I’d call an old people’s home.
The negatives we’ve already discussed could easily be positives to others, depending on your interests. However, the graphics are poor regardless of which angle you’re coming from, for a game so colourful and simple, we didn’t expect ugly and low-resolution textures to feature so much, there’s really no need, the Quest can handle much better than this. We’re feeling rather over-negative here and want to make clear that this game could be a joy to the right person, so we ask you to do your research and watch some video reviews before you buy. Star Shaman casts a spell on limited energy and scores a…
Where Thoughts Go
Quite possibly the more beautiful and heart-warming titles we have ever reviewed in VR. The basic concept is that you are asked questions about yourself and you must answer truthfully. All those that have spent time in Where Thoughts Go before you will have already recorded their responses and are there for you to listen to while you think of your own response. Some answers can be very generic while others can be a lot more emotional and from the heart. While some questions (such as childhood dreams) can be very straight cut, some questions go a lot deeper and you really get the impression that these thoughts might be the first time these people have uttered the words out loud.
As there is no identifying information or names etc shared with users, you really are sharing your thoughts, hopes and fears with complete strangers around the world, with the safety of knowing you don’t have to answer to or explain yourself to anyone. We wouldn’t be surprised if the nature in which you are able to safely express yourself and listen to what weighs on other possibly like-minded people, might have a deeply positive psychological effect on the people sharing their thoughts, without there ever being any actual intervention from family, professionals or other potentially judgmental influences. You’re completely free to send your feelings out into the void.
It feels completely counter to our aim to recommend this game is EVERYONE to point out any negatives, but we feel it's worth mentioning that we didn’t hear any trolling or childish responses to the questions meaning they’re possibly vetted before being submitted, which can be seen as either a good or bad thing (who’s to say whose thoughts are worthy of being shared for example). Also, it seems like you basically have to contribute before you can move on to listen to more question responses, which does give people the nudge they might need to get their voice out there, but it also seems a little pushy for people who are genuinely terrified of speaking up, again, can be seen both ways, maybe chapters 1-3 should be open to begin with. These are nit-picks, Where Thoughts Go is perfectly named (unlike most VR titles) and the best social experiment we’ve personally be a part of. As for scoring, this is where our thoughts go…
Our next series of reviews will all be games played on our newly acquired Oculus Quest 2, so we've reserved all our biggest games for then!
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?