Netherlands-based Yorick van Vliet upgraded his winning Oculus Mobile VR Jam entry into a full game released this week in the Oculus store on Gear VR. Audio Arena is $5 and features an innovative gameplay mechanic I’ve not seen tried in VR before.
The player controls a mouse cursor-like icon that can be guided around a 360-degree arena with head movements, requiring the player to do so very precisely to avoid enemies along the way. There’s catchy techno music playing and circular pulsing weapons located around the arena that can clear the field of enemies.
The players must carefully navigate around those enemies and move the cursor to intersect with the weapon. The score increases if you do so at just the right moment in the pulse, to the beat of the music. He built the game as a prototype for the Oculus Mobile VR Jam earlier this year and won a $10,000 bronze prize. The upgraded game features 20 different songs and is probably best enjoyed in a swivel chair though the developer told me “the powerups spawn in a way that always facing forward is viable” too.
Check it out in this gameplay trailer:
When I played the game I skipped over the tutorial, which I wouldn’t recommend because it is so different from any I’ve tried before in VR. Different colored enemies get larger or speed up with the beat of the music, making them harder to avoid. It’s easy to get lost a bit just enjoying the music, making the cursor dance around the arena.
The slew of new apps launching with the consumer Gear VR showcase such a range of ideas in practically every aspect. A game like Audio Arena underscores the value of the Oculus Mobile Jam in generating apps for the Gear VR and also shows how even a single developer can execute such an idea well. Between the catchy music, colorful environment and innovative gameplay, Audio Arena is certainly a game to check out, especially for developers looking for ideas about how to use the Gear VR.