Minigolf is great, but where do you play it? With HTC Vive, the answer to that question will soon be any room in your house.
Cloudlands VR Mini Golf is a slice of a larger VR experience collection known as Futuretown. It is one of 12 HTC Vive games on display at the Steam VR Developer Showcase in Seattle where UploadVR had the chance to go hands-on with the demo. We also had the chance to speak with members of the dev team including company co-founder Justin Liebregts.
Cloudlands VR Minigolf combines the familiar fun and straightforward mechanics of a traditional round of golf with the barrier-breaking power of virtual reality. The levels have the freedom to break free from any course you’ll ever play in real life, but the beauty is that at the end of the day you’re still just playing mini-golf so your goals are super clear and execution feels natural.
The game is played on the HTC Vive using a single hand controller. Like most successful VR demos, the mechanics can be understood in moments. The single hand controller is used in a wii-sports kind of way. You hold it like you would an actual club to move your digitally rendered putter and knock the ball through the crazy-corridors of each level.
Now obviously you won’t be holding a physical putter and the absence of that counter-weight does make executing your shots a bit harder. There is haptic feedback when you strike the ball which helps mitigate the problem, and the Futuretown team built their own physics engine to make the experience feel as natural as possible.
This is good news because, make no mistake, the game is truly difficult. Don’t’ let the mini-game genre or the simple mechanics fool you. It’s going to take serious skill and patience to make your way through the increasingly devilish 18 holes that will be released when the game fully launches.
The holes incorporate a myriad of creative obstacles and diverse surfaces (Grass, Glass, Ice, etc.) that are all determined to manipulate your shot and keep you from scoring. You’ll have to be just as creative and determined yourself to get by them and achieve victory.
The spacial limitations of a walk-around Vive experience are overcome fairly easily in this game. After each stroke, a quick tap of the trigger button teleports you to meet your ball and after each hole is complete the game automatically takes you to the next challenge. You still have freedom to walk around, crouch and crawl and you’ll need to if you want to foresee obstacles and plan out a good shot.
Futuretown is planning to release three of its five experiences in time for the Vive’s April launch. VR Minigolf will be joined by the arcade-style Jeeboman, and the space-shooter A-10 VR.
The final two titles have not yet been announced but according to the Futuretown team they will ship just a few months past the Vive’s release. Each game will be released as a standalone download connected by the overarching Futuretown brand.