New HTC Vive Releases for the Week of 06/19/16

by David Jagneaux • June 24th, 2016

A week on from E3 and VR releases are back in full swing. There’s plenty of new titles to check out across Rift and Gear this week, including some pretty significant new games for both. Don’t forget that Oculus also has a new summer sale going on, and other Rift games are also seeing discounts over on Steam. This could be your most expensive week in the VR year.

If you missed last week, you can see those new releases here. And don’t forget that UploadVR now has its own SteamVR community group, complete with a curated list of recommendations so that you don’t have to waste any money finding out what’s good in the world of VR. Let’s get to it.

Astroderps, from Chronos VR

Release Date:06/17/16  Price: $14.99

Astroderps technically released last week, but it didn’t appear on Steam until after we had already published our list for the week. It’s a puzzle-solving game that’s remniscent of Lemmings or even the more recent Oculus Rift title, Fly to KUMA. You’re tasked with guiding your little astronaut buddies to safety as they avoid perilous fates in cyberspace.

Recommendation: It’s a very specific type of game for a very specific type of gamer. If you like Lemmings and quirky puzzle games, it’s worth checking out. 

Left-Hand Path, from Strange Company

Release Date:06/20/16  Price: $14.99 (Currently 10% Off)

First-person RPGs in VR are bound to be one of the most popular genres as the medium continues to take off and Left-Hand Path does a great job of showing why. If you’re familiar with games like A Legend of Luca, or the stellar Vanishing Realms, then you have a solid foundation of what to expect here. The developer draws inspiration from Dark Souls, taking a much darker and intense interpretation on the format.

Recommendation: If RPGs in VR are your thing, definitely check this out. Early Access means lots of updates incoming. 

Pong Waves VR, from Hamzeh Alsalhi 

Release Date:06/20/16  Price: $4.99 (Currently 15% Off)

Pong Waves VR is singleplayer ping pong. There’s not much else to say right now while it’s still in early access. There’s no multiplayer, the physics are a bit wonky, and it’s super basic.

Recommendation: If you absolutely love ping pong, then this might be worth it, but you’d honestly be better off waiting for at least multiplayer.

LUNE, from Isaac Cohen

Release Date:06/20/16  Price: $2.99 (Currently 10% Off)

As one of the most abstract VR experiences we’ve seen so far, LUNE is fascinating on that merit alone. It’s part of psychedelic experiential visual interpretation of VR as a new medium, and part haiku dedicated to the format itself like a complex love note.

Recommendation: It’s cheap and you should check this out. Don’t ever let anyone tell you there’s nothing interesting going on in VR. 

Hoops VR, from Wizard Games, Inc.

Release Date:06/20/16  Price: $9.99 (Currently 15% Off)

One of my favorite Gear VR apps is Baskhead, which tasks you with catching basketballs on your face, which has a rim protruding from it. In Hoops VR, you instead take on the role of the shooter in a more traditional setting. The best thing about Hoops VR is how good the dribbling feels. The accuracy of the shooting physics aren’t bad either.

Recommendation: Grab this one for a great showcase of some quality physics in VR. Real world sports in VR are always fun. 

Mind OVR Matter, from Joe Chatfield 

Release Date:06/20/16  Price: $2.99

The concept of having super powers has always been a popular idea – it’s essentially the basis for why we have superheroes and the entire impetus for this upcoming VR superhero game. While Mind OVR Matter takes a much more sci-fi approach, it’s still extremely early in development. It’s little more than a proof of gameplay concept in its current form.

Recommendation: There isn’t a whole lot to do here yet, but it is quite cheap. The mechanics are fun, so it could be worth an hour of fun to show some friends.

Garage Drummer VR, from Blazing Tree Studio

Release Date:06/21/16  Price: $5.99 (Currently 20% Off)

Garage Drummer VR is exactly what it sounds like. You get to play a realistic drum kit, while sitting in a garage, in VR. No false advertising going on here. This is still in early access, so hopefully a lot of other features will roll out over time (racing pedal support, multiplayer, a studio/recording setup of some kind, tutorials) but it’s a great start.

Recommendation: If you’ve already got a drum set, I’m not sure this really has much value, but if you don’t have room or funds for a professional drum kit, this is a great compromise. 

Bowl VR, from Carbon Fiber Games

Release Date:06/24/16  Price: $6.99 (Currently 15% Off)

Ever since Wii Sports, bowling games with motion controllers have made a lot of sense. Bowl VR isn’t the most feature-filled game this week, but it does have nice environments and decent physics. The menus are ugly and some of the sounds and visuals need work, but it’s a decent start at a good price. Local multiplayer is a nice touch as well, but there’s still no online.

Recommendation: If you love bowling, check it out. It doesn’t have the silly fun and polish of Wii Sports, but it’s a decent distraction.

ABE VR, from Hammerhead VR

Release Date:06/23/16  Price: Free

You might have seen some of our coverage of ABE VR in recent weeks. It’s a short film about a robot that seeks the approval of humans, going to shocking lengths to do what it thinks will earn it. Hammerhead VR is doing plenty of interesting work in this space with the help of Unreal Engine 4. It’s also based on another short film from Rob McLellan which is a great watch too.

Recommendation: This is a great example of VR storytelling. Don’t miss it.

Final Approach: Pilot Edition, from Phaser Lock Interactive

Release Date: 06/23/16 Price: $24.99

If you already own the original version of Final Approach, you should get access to the new Pilot Edition for free. This version lets you take control of the actual plane pilots and control them, while seated, using a gamepad. This version is mostly for the Rift, so if you have the Vive already, you may as well play the more inventive original version.

Recommendation: If you’ve got the original, you should get this for free automatically, but the original is still better in our opinion anyway.

Final Strike, from Ghost Machine

Release Date: 06/23/16 Price: $9.99 (Currently 15% Off)

It’s not surprising to see Final Strike release around the same time as the new Independence Day movie seeing as the original so heavily inspired it. This is a flight-based action game in which you take on hordes of alien fighters in a jet. It’s designed to provide cinematic moments that you only dreamed of taking part in back in the 90’s.

Recommendation: Ghost Machine doesn’t have the best track record and this has mixed reviews. Maybe wait for the Early Access phase to pass.

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  • RSoames

    If Abe VR is “a great example of VR Storytelling”, then the medium is doomed. Abe VR is a 5-minute cheap torture porn experience that’s been done far better elsewhere. Just because you can look around a room while a character engages in a monologue doesn’t mean it’s a compelling use of VR. It looks great — don’t get me wrong — but we need to aim higher. Very disappointing lowest common denominator shock violence.

    • Early days are early days. We’ll get to bigger and better narratives eventually, but for something that’s free and digestible by most people, we felt like it was pretty compelling.

      • RSoames

        I’m really curious about what makes it compelling in your opinion — and this is an honest question, I’m not being snarky. The narrative isn’t great, and you’re locked into a perspective view with the robot just moving around the room. You can move your head and see that you have a virtual body that’s strapped on a gurney, but there’s nothing there to take advantage of VR over a 2D experience. Is it the fact that at the end the robot approaches you and saws-off the top of your head? I mean, I suppose that’s more visceral than watching it on a 2D screen, but truthfully it’s only visceral because the violence feels more immediately connected to your body when you’re in VR. It’s a cheap trick.

        Yes, it’s early days. That doesn’t mean we should praise mediocre creative efforts. Abe VR looks great, but that’s really where it starts and stops. It doesn’t make compelling use of VR over 2D, it’s relies on tired and problematic violent tropes, and it’s ultimately nothing but cheap shock value. Not appropriate for kids or anyone who might have a problem with virtually experiencing violent torture and death. We can do so much better, even in these early days.

        • Robbie DeRoo

          Well said!

    • usherjerksoffsonyfanboys

      It’s free so who cares…and of course it’s compelling because ur they one in the chair, that’s the point of vr is being in the scene not some 2d screen with a first-person view. VR is in its infancy, it looks great can’t wait for its growth.