There is no denying that the VR craze is starting to take of, so why not jump on the bandwagon and kickstart your journey to the still fresh waters of Virtual Reality? Along with the PlayStation VR, Oculus as the torchbearer, Vive has started the revolution the effects of which are still to be felt.
Vive has upped the ante with the ability to truly step inside the games using motion trackers, since reaching inside the application and interacting with the object was something that the users yearned for years.
So, you have decided to buy your Vive set, set up your station, and you are anxious to dive into the vast sea of opportunities. Where do you start you might wonder?
Well, look no further, since we have it all laid out for you.
1. The Lab
They say that the best things in life are free, so we start our list with the breakthrough game that was showcased at the Vive launch, courtesy of Valve. It is perfect for starting your experience since it showcases the possibilities of Vive quite nicely. It features eight total room-scale experiences from using archery to castle defending. Since it is made by Valve it is spiced with some humour and references to the Portal franchise.
A definite starting point for any Vive user!
2. Google Earth VR
Truly an application that shows the potential that the VR can bring. Originally, the users could only visit certain sites, such as Grand Canyon, Eiffel Tower, Alps and such, in recent updates the number of location has increased together with freedom of movement. Now, you can visit your childhood vacation spots, revisit old memories, and explore than as you are truly there.
The best part is the feeling of flying while you hover over the Earth in search of random locations of visit. Makes you feel like a superhero, doesn’t it?
3. Tilt Brush
Now, this might very well be an undiscovered diamond, it is widely acclaimed as one of the best VR applications to date, this seemingly VR upgraded version of MS Paint is much more powerful, and more importantly, much more entertaining. Now quite a game, since the range of possible uses for this application is truly staggering, but also a quite entertaining in its own right. If you have ever wanted to unchain your inner Picasso, now is the time, and the whole world is your canvas! Tilt Brush gives you the possibility to make 3D drawings, effectively making sculptures and not drawings! You can inspect them from all directions and marvel at your creation.
With the huge variety of brushes available, the possibilities are truly endless, take your time and paint yourself an entire scene if you would like.
theBlu might very well be one of the most beautiful experiences created for your amazement. As the name implies, the scenery is the vast ocean, as vast as your imagination, while with the help of your trusty VR set you dive into the abyss. There are three experiences to try: Whale Encounter, Reef Migration and Luminous Abyss, every one of which brings its own unique flavour to the table.
Whale Encounter is, just as the name implies, an opportunity to truly marvel at one of the biggest creatures that has ever inhabited this blue planet. You start at the edge of an underwater shipwreck, praying that is doesn’t fall of the underwater cliff while suddenly, the blue whale swims past you, the details of which are truly magnificent and amazing.
Reef Migration transports you at the edge of an underwater reef while being surrounded firstly by jellyfish and then by other sea inhabitants. You may try to touch them with your controllers, but they quickly move away, as they would in real life. Such details truly increase the immersion.
The most awe inspiring of them all might be the Luminous Abyss. If you have ever wondered what lurks beneath the ocean’s surface where even light doesn’t reach, you might find out….at Your own peril.
5. Rec Room
Immersing yourself all alone in VR might become a little boring after a while. Luckily here is a true gem of a game, and totally free at that. Rec Room is the closest thing to uninhibited social interactions since you were a child that you will get. A true VR social experience where you can participate in games with other players is so entertaining that you might find yourself spending hours at a time.
When you put on a headset you are immediately transports to something that might remind you of your local YMCA in it’s best days. You see avatars of people all around you with fists bumping, interacting with in game objects and widely grinning which gives it its fun and social character. The Rec Room falls into the category of mini game adventures some of which include paintball, 3D Charades, disc golf, and the Rec Room Quests which you can complete with a friend. Paintball is amongst the most entertaining, it is competitive but light-hearted enough so that it leaves you with a smile on your face.
And while playing games and socializing is extremely fun, if you are not in the mood, there is also a possibility to start a private room in the Lounge Bar. It lets you spend time with your loved ones in a place where you feel like they are actually near you, truly an amazing experience!
6. Raw Data
Now that you have tried out all the beginner courses and you aim for the bread and butter of VR. Of course, I’m talking about the feeling of first person combat that will transform your classic 2D experience into a true fighting arena, where the Vive’s room-scale tracking possibilities come to its full potential. It is definitely not a starting experience, but once you get the hand of it, you will marvel at the level of detail and polish in this game, which makes it one of the most beautiful and well thought out experiences on Vive to date.
Throwing you head-first into a hostile world of enemy humanoid robots, once you master the controls you will not want to stop playing it. With responsive gunplay and an ever-growing collection of content, it is an unmissable experience for any VR shooter enthusiast.
7. Paranormal Activity: The Lost Soul
After you play this game, you will undoubtedly say to your self, the future of horror experiences is not the TV or the cinema, it is the VR, and Paranormal Activity: The Lost Soul is the best example of it.
While the Paranormal Activity has carved its name in the cinemas, where it has swept the box offices and terrified the audiences, nothing comes close to the feeling of haunting in first person. After a brief tutorial, you are left completely by yourself (or, are you?) in a beautiful-yet-frightening house without even a HUD to help you if you’re lost. This only increases the feeling of helplessness and tension.
The experience is definitely not for the faint of heart. Merely watching YouTube playthroughs will not prepare you for the scares that await. They are generated randomly, not to mention that videos cannot grasp even an iota of the feeling when you put on your headset.
If you are a fan of horrors, this is a game you must not avoid, with its dark setting, escape audio, and loud and sudden audio and visual effects that will make the hair on the back of your neck stand out from the sheer terror that awaits you.
8. Arizona Sunshine
If the feeling of helplessness is not something you particularly enjoy, and you would much rather just blast away all the buggers coming your way, Arizona Sunshine is the game for you. Although the Vive is still a quite new platform with its huge content and vast in game areas to explore it gives us a breeze of triple A games lurking around the corner. Not only does it have a single player and multiplayer mode, it also packs in a robust campaign mode that you can play alone or with a friend.
Arizona Sunshine truly gives the player a lot for his buck, with it’s endless hordes of zombies that you will stop in any way possible from trying to chew your face. Who knows, maybe this experience might come in handy, in the case that there is a zombie apocalypse lurking behind corner.
VR offers not only visual, but auditory experiences as well, all blended together with the 3D experience which gives it a certain blend of properties unlike any other. Why not start with Audioshield and see (and hear) for yourself? As we have covered it in one of our articles, Audioshield is a new way to experience your music.
In the game you are given two controllers, one blue and one red, and with it you try to catch balls of light of corresponding colour coming at you at the beat of the music.
Not only does it give you an enjoyable experience, but quite a little workout as well.
10. Job Simulator
Putting on your VR headgear, the last place you would like to find yourself would be the office that you have just left, but his game puts a nice little spin on the whole experience. The year is 2050, the robots have taken over all the jobs, and all that is left for the humans is a nice little simulator to experience all that nice drudgery of a 9-5 job. Unfortunately, someone has messed with the records and the simulation isn’t quite accurate, who would know that having a job was that fun and entertaining?
The visual and auditory stimulations together with the physical feeling of doing something familiar truly tricks our bodies into thinking that we are in the year 2050. From the clerks’ desks and cubicles in the boring office, all the way to such exotic places as behind a grill or a counter, the game truly makes the interactions so lifelike and entertaining. By applying generous dose of humour, all those dreadful menial tasks that make the world go round have transformed into a somewhat magical experience.
11. Rick and Morty – Virtual Rick-ality
The studio behind the Job simulator brings us another gem, which undoubtedly succeeds into bringing a smile to the face or a chuckle to anyone familiar with the universe of Rick and Morty. By capturing the charm of our favourite series and bringing it into VR , it truly is an example of a licensed game done right.
The similarities of both games are evident, since both require the use of items at your disposal to solve certain puzzles, although with a twist of familiar sarcasm. Players will find themselves into a Virtual Rick-ality, as one of the Morty clones in charge things small and large, from fixing Rick’s car to repelling alien invasion that want to conquer the Earth. It is a must experience for anyone who is a fan of the TV series.
12. Netflix VR
Playing games or having fun in applications isn’t the only thing you could be doing when you put on your Vive headset. As is covered more thoroughly in one of our previous post on VR on Netflix, why not watch your favourite movie as well? If you ever find yourself wanting to relive the cinematic VR experience from the comfort of your home, you simply must set up your Netflix and enjoy the show.
13. Project CARs
If you have ever wanted to experience the adrenaline rush of a race car driver speeding on the famous race tracks across the world, look no further. This game is especially fun if you’re equipped with a steering wheel and a peddle, which brings a whole another level of immersion into the game.
Choose amongst a huge variety of cars available in the game and experience this vastly popular racing simulator in another light. Feel the adrenaline rushing throughout your body as you check the rear view mirrors while stepping on the peddle leaving your competitors in the dust.
As you have seen, the Vive offers a huge variety of experiences. It will be hard to choose one as your favourite. From the classical shooters given its new form, to the stunning visuals transporting you into the depths of the unknown to the whole new set of experiences made by combing all of our senses, VR is still a field of hugely untapped potential. Fortunately, there are new applications coming out every day, which give an array of possibilities and experiences that will keep your eyes glued to the set.