I enjoyed my time playing Way of the Orb by new developers Brimstone Brothers, as it gave me a extremely warm fuzzy retro vibe and I found the gameplay fun and the progression style unique, and if it weren't for the fact that my playspace currently forces me to play somewhat gingerly due to surrounding furniture/items that my wife insists stay in place, then I know I would have enjoyed it a lot more. It may have had simple graphics, and the core gameplay may not be anything we haven't seen before multiple times, but it really did have its own old school charm to it and I really enjoyed the style of progression, which really suited the game.
You start off the game in a wooded area, and a quick press of the thumbpad reveals a menu that lets you choose between sword, shield, or magic staff, for each hand, so you play the game dual wielding any combination of those. I chose the shield and sword to begin with and both felt really good in the hand.
One strange thing I did find at this point was that to initiate the game I had to be armed with the staff, which fires magic, and I needed to fire it at a giant blue orb in order for the first level to start. It wasn't a major issue, I just found it odd and a tad annoying, unless of course I was missing something, which is entirely possible.
Once the game had begun, you were thrust on to a path that winds its way through the woodlands, and up ahead blocking your path would appear an often very large bad guy, who found great delight in throwing countless orbs your way which you had to block with your chosen combination of weapons. As you block them, it seems to send back negative energy at the bad guy, slowly depleting his health until he eventually dies and vanishes. Miss one orb, and it takes health away from you, and if you are anything like me, you're going to miss a lot as it does get challenging with orbs coming at you thick and fast during some of the stages, with some very quick reactions needed at times.
If you do block enough to win against your foe, you then progress further down the path to face another big bad guy, and then another, and eventually the bad guys get really big, and the amount of orbs they throw definitely seems to increase.
I did like this style of level progression, and it really suited the game, giving it an adventure type feel to it, as you round corners and discover more of the tree laden landscape, I just wish I could have got further than I did to see what's further ahead in the game and if the landscape changes.
The graphics were nice(ish) - very basic but suited the old school vibe that I think the developers have gone for, which also included the rather charming 80's style computer game music that again was a good fit for the game. Perhaps growing up in that era I have a slightly skew vision of the game, but I definitely enjoyed the look and sound more than I probably should have, it just seemed to take me back to a better time when the power of your imagination was more important than the power of your graphics card, it just seemed very uncomplicated, but fun and exciting too.
I'm not sure how much playtime exactly is available here, as I didn't get very far for reasons already mentioned, but I definitely plan to go back in and have another bash at some point, after perhaps toying around with my chaperone so I can coordinate myself a bit better in my available playspace.
All in all I enjoyed the game and if it wasn't for the (in my opinion) hefty price tag of 15GBP I would be telling people to definitely go buy it and support these guys as the game is fun, however the price is a real turn off right now as I just feel it's way to expensive, I'm therefore going to say grab it when it's on sale or wait for a price drop.
5 out of 10 - A fun and charming game that I just feel is too over priced right now for what it is.
The following review is based on a pre-release demo version of the game JetX, developed by Singularity Lab.
I'm not sure when I first heard mention of the sci-fi racing game JetX, but it seems like it was at least a couple of years ago now when I first read about the concept and saw some early images of it, so I was extremely excited a few days ago when I read on Steam that its release was imminent, with a launch date set for sometime this month, during March 2019.
A quick look over the Steam store page to refresh my memory of what the game was all about was then enough to convince me that I really needed to try it, and so I quickly reached out to the developers to see if they wouldn't mind sending me a review key, and that's exactly what they did, kindly sending me a code for a limited pre-release version of the game so that I could review it for the VR Explorer website. As the key code dropped into my email box my excitement levels went through the roof, and before I knew it I was downloading the game, prepping my play space, and removing any distractions that might interrupt my planned playtime with this awesome looking sci-fi racer. Please note: no people, pets, or phones were harmed during this process!
As per usual, a few PC problems decided to arise right at the exact moment I was about to play, and almost put paid to my planned night of VR sci-fi escapism, but a few restarts later, another couple of cups of tea to calm the nerves, and the PC was back up again on its feet and I was raring to go, and with fingers crossed I hit that play button.
I must say even the JetX logo on the loading screen impressed me, and without getting too ahead of myself, I felt confident that I was about to have an awesome time and felt very privileged to be about to play the game before most, it just felt like a real honor.
As the loading screen quickly vanished, I was suddenly staring around an impressive looking lobby with the start menu in front of me, and the low-poly graphics and effects were instantly impressive. It felt very polished, and after a quick look at the menu options I headed straight into the tutorial eager to get into some high-speed action, and I found myself in a large open tunnel where I was immediately met by a friendly bot who gave me a few basic instructions on how to move, and how to shoot. This is when I first experienced the method of locomotion and it instantly blew me away - it just felt so incredibly smooth and responsive, as you controlled your thrust with the triggers of both controllers, allowing you to almost hover perfectly, or if the the need arises, zoom off at really high speeds, turning and twisting with a good amount of control - it just felt really good and I wanted to keep zooming up and down the corridors, but felt obliged to follow the hovering robot who was trying to show me other things that the game had to offer, such as rockets to obliterate a huge set of doors blocking my way further ahead.
After demolishing the doors, I followed him/her in to another large room, which contained a couple of portals, one being to the advanced tutorial, which is where I headed, and this is when me and the bot parted ways. I can't say I'd miss him much, but I was grateful for the quick introduction, and maybe I'll bump into him further down the road.
The next section of the tutorial placed me in a large see-through dome area, which had some giant rings floating in a set course inside, allowing me to practise some precision flying. There was also a large screen at one end which showed me more things I needed to know, such as how to lock on to targets, what different power-ups did, and also taught me about energy management, as flying around at speed and shooting, all uses energy, as does your shields.
I really enjoyed this tutorial as it gave you some free rein to zoom around and take it all in at your own pace, and again the graphics were highly impressive, with some of the effects really taking my breath away, such as the ball of Dark Matter that suddenly appeared, which also has its place in the game under one of the many different game modes. From here, once the tutorial was over and I felt it was time to leave the dome, I went back to the lobby and I was presented with two options - Arena, or Race, and so I headed straight into my first race.
There were 5 or 6 of us on the course - myself, and then the rest were bots, and before I knew it I was zooming down the track, my fingers locked on to the boost buttons, draining energy like there is no tomorrow. The tracks are an open sided tunnel which it's easy to fly out of until you get the hang of the controls, and once you leave the track the speed does drop significantly, so straight away I was struggling to keep up with the bots.
The course design was excellent though so I didn't mind stopping (or rather crashing) to admire the view, which again was a stunning sci-fi affair, with cool backdrops to be admired and even alien creatures flying around but never getting in the way of the racing.
I crashed more than once, and also found myself slightly disorientated a couple of times and heading the wrong way, which slightly spoiled the enjoyment as I really am a high speed freak in these sort of games, but after a couple more runs, with my level of control increasing, the course suddenly got faster and faster and I was enjoying every moment of it and couldn't wait to race again and increase my speeds still further. However, after a few races I decided it was now time to check out the arena combat, as I was recording and knew that is probably what the viewers were now waiting for, so in to the arena I headed, and wow, another highly impressive setting that reminded me somewhat of the nightclub location 'The Distracted Globe' from the book 'Ready Player 1' - which is a great book BTW if you haven't read it already, and it is a million miles better than the film, which is best totally avoided, or at least until you have finished reading the brilliant book.
From the moment I spawned in to the arena, which I assume is a dome, I could instantly see its potential for excellent multiplayer mayhem, with walls to hide behind, platforms to launch from, holes to ambush through, and power-ups a plenty, and I suddenly wished the place was full of real people and not just bots, which although the AI wasn't too bad, it never compares to other human players. However, it was probably for the best as I was soon getting my arse handed to me on a plate by the bots and realised that just like the racing, I probably needed a bit of practise, though even as it stood it was immense fun and before long I was zooming around getting a few cool kills as I learned to manage my weapon heat and energy better.
I can only imagine how good it would feel if they had a team mode for this, or a coop mode, though even the all out death-match is going to be awesome I am sure and I really can't wait to play against other humans, whether they are on PC screen or in VR, it's going to be a lot of fun that is for sure, and I am quite confident that the game will attract a lot of players, especially as you don't need VR to enjoy it.
One round in the arena was enough for me, as I was eager to get out of VR and check my recording worked, which thankfully it did, and you can now find the whole play-through on the VR Explorer YouTube channel to watch whenever you like. Please give it a thumbs up if you enjoy the video, thank you! and when you get to play the game please come back to VR Explorer to leave a review and rating, as the more reviews I can get, the more it will help my site to get off the ground, which is always hard when a site is brand new.
Now, for my rating of JetX. To sum up my whole experience, I can honestly say that I have found JetX to be a highly polished, extremely fun experience, though I really feel like I have just scratched the surface of it with the single player game, as I believe this game is heavily focused around its multiplayer element which I really cannot wait to play.
The graphics are excellent, often bordering on the stunning, especially with some of the backdrops and the in-game effects which I really love, and together with the pumping tunes, it all blends to create one super-cool highly playable game that I know I will be playing a lot more of over the coming weeks and months. See you in the arena, or on the racetrack.
Highly Recommended - 9 out of 10.
This was so short it felt more like a demo, and it reminded me very much of the Brookhaven Experiment demo which had you similarly rooted to a clearing in the dark with just a torch and pistol shooting the approaching zombies, with some frantic reloading sometimes necessary. I enjoyed what there was, but there was just so little of it that it is very hard to recommend. It does however have a sort of story element to it, which is why I'm going to say give it a go, it's free, and you can always delete it afterwards.
When I first saw the trailer for Beat Blaster, with it's neon graphics, pumping music and fast-paced gameplay with guns, I knew it was something I wanted to play, and as the launch of the game almost coincided with the launch of the VR Explorer website, I decided to reach out to the developers with a request for a key so that I could review their cool looking game for my website. They kindly said yes and sent me one, and today I managed to find a bit of time to give it a go.
I was nervous to start with, as some games play nothing like how they might be portrayed to in the trailer, and I admit to building up a bit of hype for this game, as I thought it looked very cool and extremely good fun. Just from watching the trailer it reminded me of one of my favourite VR demos from quite a while back called TRANCE VR, which was very similar in a variety of ways, including the locomotion, fast-paced gameplay with guns, and a pumping soundtrack. So I fired up the game and jumped straight in.
The game gives you a choice of 3 types of locomotion - two types where you use your head to guide you through the courses, and one where you use the thumbpad. I tried both head locomotion systems to start with but soon found both to be a little bit tricky so I finally settled on the thumbpad movement, which was a lot easier and less stressful, helping me to stay alive longer with each attempt at a level.
The gameplay itself is simple - you speed through a futuristic course trying to avoid obstacles and shooting the myriad of enemies and targets that pop up for points, trying to stay alive long enough to reach the end of each level, which is easier said than done as you are also racing against time, as you must finish each level before the song finishes, which ensures you don't hang around, and also adds to the adreneline rush you feel with each attempt.
I loved the shooting in this game. You get the choice of either two handguns or a submachine gun, and seeing as I had one hand busy with locomotion, I eventually opted for the machine gun, which with the trigger held down let out a constant stream of bullets enabling me to literally blitz my way through the level, destroying everything I could in relentless waves of machine gun fire - it felt awesome! and on moments made me feel like I was Neo during the lobby scene of the Matrix, as I literally sped my way through the course with shards of the enemy raining down on me as I blasted them into tiny fragments. It really was a cool feeling especially when things get fast and frantic. The level design is just brilliant, as one minute you can be firing across a vast area, and the next shooting enemies right in front of your face, but it never gets too overwhelming or too hard, with the balance seeming to be just right.
The graphics in the game are a cool retro neon style, which I like, and which suits the game perfectly and ensures little chance of low frame rates even on low end machines. I have a i5 3570 and a 980ti, put settings on high and it was as smooth as butter without any problems at all. The graphics are also music reactive, with things moving and bouncing around to the beat of the songs, which looks really good as you're racing through the levels, and along with the music itself helps you to become really immersed.
The game also boasts 'Ambisonic Audio' on its Steam page, but I have no clue what that is or what it does, however what I did notice was that each time I played, the level was slightly different than the time before, which is another thing I think the developers mention on their Steam page. This kept the game feeling fresh and I never had that feeling like I'd seen it all before, even after many attempts at the same level. It never got tiring or boring during my 40 plus minutes of initial gameplay.
Each level (I got to level 3) also introduced new cool enemies (some really big ones) and different ways to kill you, which again made you want to keep playing to see what was around the next corner, and I found myself wanting just 'one more go' even when I knew I really should be quitting.
Watch the trailer or my gameplay video, and if you think this sort of fast-paced arcade action looks like fun, then I highly recommend that you give it a go. I'm not sure how many levels there are, but the game boasts 30 different songs, so my guess is it's quite a few.
8 out of 10 - Highly Recommended.
I went into this game not knowing much about it at all, which is always nice, as you get more suprises and a better sense of adventure, especially in games like this where there is lots of exploration to do and creature encounters to be enjoyed. I knew there were dinosaurs, and that's about it.
The game started up in a stark small white corridor that quickly led me into a very smart looking reception area. A quick peak outside through one of the windows showed that I was indeed in a futuristic setting, surrounded by a beautiful looking futuristic cityscape, which revealed more of itself once I had taken the lift to the level I needed to be at, and where the time machine resided.
This level had stunning visuals, its centerpeice being a large fountain like structure with giant balls of water floating upwards to the ceiling where they would meld with an area of water filled ceiling above. It really did look stunning, as indeed did the whole level, with wonderfully designed graphics and scenery. It was all open plan too, with open areas around the edge of the level allowing you to lean out and fully appreciate the design of the large buildings outside, which included a superb looking dome structure and other cool looking scifi inspired structures - I was highly impressed by it all and suddenly dreamt of exploring such a city in VR, as it looks so intriguing. However, that is not what this game is about, so on we go to the time machine, which in itself was impressive and I soon found myself at my first destination in time - The Triassic Era, in a completely underwater world reminiscent of the underwater VR experience 'TheBlu', however this one gave you more freedom to explore your underwater habitat, which again had really nice visuals, with some moments really taking my breath away.
It wasn't all about the visuals however, as you were also provided with a cool utility belt containing some very useful tools such a little bio analysis tool that you used to scan nearby creatures to obtain information about them, with stats such as lifespan, size, and an over all description, along with a neat little 3D picture of them. I really loved the analysis tool but it was awkward to use purely because some creatures simply moved too fast to scan, such as most of the fish, and then when you did manage to scan them, you simply were not given enough time to read all of the info, which was a shame. Still, it was all very nicely done apart from that little niggle and I had a great time exploring this divine location, with its beautiful shafts of light penetrating through the blueness to illuminate this magical underwater world that I was in. It was a highly enjoyable and highly immersive experience.
The next level was a lot larger, transporting me further back in time to a jungle area during the Jurassic period, and that's right - a period in time where dinosaurs roamed the earth! and I was very excited and hopeful to see one. I didn't have to wait long.
I wasn't quite as blown away with the scenery in this area as I was in the underwater world, but nevertheless it was still very impressive, with lots of jungly looking vegetation, lots of trees (some of them absolutely huge, and I mean HUGE!) and small rockfaces to climb, and climbing is what I did - lots of it, from small rockfaces to ginormous trees, and before long I felt like a very tired ape as I hung one-handed from a vine several hundred feet in the air, staring down and contemplating which way to go, it was a fantastic feeling! The jungle was littered with detail too, such as hollow logs you could peer into, butterflies and other captivating wildlife flying around, and shallow caves carpetted with mushrooms, and I was starting to realise that this game was a bit bigger than I'd initially thought, or at least this level was, as it sucked up much more time than I had anticipated, leading me toward the grand showcase of this level - a meeting with a small pack of huge dinosaurs from an elevated platform, and it was awesome! I got to use my feedy tool too, which hadn't worked on any other animal thus far, so I was extrmely pleased when the dinosaur leaned down and opened its mouth to take my offering. The highlight to me though, of the encounter, was watching them walk slowly off into the shadows of the jungle, it was just such a memorable scene.
No sooner had the dinosaurs gone, than I was confronted with my very first puzzle of the game, and it probably took me a lot longer than it should have done. Thank god for video editting! I then continued on my journey, eventually arriving at a swampy area that seems like it will have it's own challenges, so that's where I decided to end the video due to the length of the recording, which turned out to be over an hour and a half, and thankfully was in tact when I quit the game.
Throughout my playtime I encountered just one bug, though a very annoying one which saw me suddenly find myself inside one of the huge trees with no way back out or up the tree (see video), so I had to quit and restart from an auto save point. Luckily the game provides a handy card feature that lets you go back into certain points of the game and I pretty much started from where I'd left off.
I'm not sure how much more the game has to offer, but I'm hoping if it is at least an hour or so more and I get to meet a few more interesting creatures including more dinosaurs, as that is where the main excitement lies.
Based on what I have experienced so far, I can highly recommend this game. You may need a little patience with the climbing and sussing out routes through the jungle, but it is all worth it, especially when encounters with enormous dinosaurs and other wonderful creatures are your goal.
The graphics are top notch and the options are there to change the settings to match your system if you encounter any performance issues, which I did on a couple of occassions, but after turning things down a notch or two, the game ran smoothly allowing me to enjoy what it had to offer, and I can't wait to explore more very soon.
Rating based on my experience so far: 8 out of 10 - Highly Recommended
From the moment the game started up, I was immediately wowed by it all. From the gorgeous scenery surrounding the beautiful tranquil lake I was on, to the wonderful ambient sounds of insects and birds all around, it was like a sudden soothing of all the senses, and I knew already that this game was going to be something special, which is exactly how it turned out.
You start off the game sat in a small wooden rowing boat containing all you need for an enjoyable day out on the lake, including refreshments of beer and sandwiches, a radio that lets you tune into different local stations, an ice box to store your fish in, and of course a rod and line and some bait to catch your fish with.
Fishing is instinctive and easy to get to grips with, being a simple case of putting the bait on the hook, and then casting out into the beautifully clear waters, where your float sits on the surface waiting to be pulled under by any of a variety of nice looking fish.
Once the fish bite, it's a fairly uncomplicated affair of not letting the line get too taut, so giving line out when the fish pulls, and then reeling him in as he tires, just like you would in real life. Pop him off the hook and straight into the cooler if he's big enough to sell, as every time you close the lid on a fish, your money earned goes up allowing you to purchase upgrades and items from the shop, including more refreshments and a hat to keep the sun out of your eyes. The shop is accessed through a book contained on the boat, which is a handy little feature.
The graphics in this game are truly excellent, with a slightly cartoony look rather than something ultra realistic, which is fine and helps keep the frame rate silky smooth which it was all the way through on my relatively old system. The scenery was wonderful, and you couldn't ask for a more picturesque setting to be transported to, all in all helping to keep you incredibly immersed.
The rod and line felt great to handle and the line moved naturally, which again helped with the immersion, unlike some other games where the line has remained rigid and completely taken me out of the game on many occasions. Casting out was superbly done too, allowing you to be really precise with each cast, so you could get your bait out to exactly where you wanted to put it, such as close to a reed bed, or out near the middle of the tranquil lake.
Rowing was intuitive and enjoyable, simply grab the oars and off you go, which really added a new dimension to the game and a level of freedom I hadn't expected to feel. This allows you to completely explore the lake, parking your boat wherever takes your fancy, and it was a really wonderfully relaxing experience simply rowing around the lake for the first time, enjoying the sights and sounds that the game has to offer.
I probably spent almost 2 hours in the game on my first play session in order to compile this review, but I could have easily whiled away many more, as it just felt so peaceful and enjoyable being alone on the lake, doing something I enjoy, surrounded by beauty and the incredible ambient sounds, and I can honestly see myself spending way too much time in this game already.
One thing I think would really add to the ambience and realism is to see or hear the occasional fish jumping out of the water to catch one of the flying insects. This is something all fishermen like to see and get excited about, and was something I really missed whilst playing, and I am really hoping they can add this to the game, as it really would up the ambience another notch or two to incredible heights, but that really is my only negative, if you can call it that.
One small thing that may need looking at is the button press that initiates the tutorial at the beginning. For some reason I did not press the button long enough to move to the next step, which left me with a controller in my left hand in-game for a good half hour or so until I managed to sort it out. Perhaps they should change it to 'Press and hold' instead of just 'Press' on the instructions, which should cure any confusion. Apart from these two small things, and they are only minor issues after all, I found the game an absolute joy to play and hands down the best fishing experience I have had in any computer game. In fact it was one of my favourite experiences in any type of VR game thus far, and I rate it up there with some of the best experiences available today to play in VR.
Score - 8.5 out of 10
Beautiful graphics, wonderful sound, and one of the most immersive VR games to date. Highly recommended and a must-buy if you have even the slightest interest in fishing.
Real Fishing VR has some fun elements and is quite polished over all, however, the lack of life-like physics applied to the line really spoils the immersion, and the casting the line out to sea has no real weight to it, so you can't control the cast and place the bait where you want. These two things alone make it hard to recommend the game, which is a shame as the rest is nicely polished and well done, but the bits that matter most are not. Lets see if they improve things in the next few weeks.
This demo is split into two parts, one part which is called 'VR Show' and is a passive showcase of big shiny very cool looking robots with big guns, alongside enormous Mechs which are seriously impressive. The other part of the demo is a playable level called 'Survival' which is OK but severely let down by it's shoddy teleport locomotion system, which I found glitchy and annoying. This spoilt the demo a little bit for me, which I was starting to enjoy once I discovered where my weapons were (the one you want to use is attached to your back) and managed to start doing a bit of damage. Overall this is a game that is showing some promise, and it will be interesting to see how it improves over time, especially when they release the 'official' demo which they have said is in the works. Definitely one to keep an eye on. I enjoyed the scifi setting and the highly impressive robots and mechs, the demo is well worth checking out just for those.
Low framerate, buggy, short, not really worth the download and I'll be deleting it to make space for better experiences. The T-rex part, which only lasts a minute or so was its only real saving grace, but even then it was nothing spectacular. I know it's free, but I really can't recommend this as it stands. Perhaps if they polished it up a bit, improved the low framerate, and ironed out the bugs, then it might be worth another look, but no, not like this.
My first time trying skiing in VR and I can say it was great fun! Controls were as I'd hoped - the motion controllers were your poles which you pushed along with, and the single slope (this is free remember) although not very long, was super fast and offered a bit of challenge with a couple of tight turns and jumps. Found myself having 'just one more go' trying to beat my previous score. Well worth the download and I'm hopeful this is a glimpse of things to come from these guys.
Got really excited when I first saw this on Steam, and it doesn't disappoint at all. Yes the graphics may be very rudimentary, and the game lacks even a main menu at this very early stage, but it's great fun and everything so far feels really well implemented - the controls, the flying and the physics, the sound fx, and the ai's not too shoddy either! A great job so far and a game I'll be following very closely indeed.
A highly immersive World War 2 experience from the BBC, using actual audio recorded by a BBC reporter who bravely went out on a Lancaster bombing run over Berlin, recording the sights and sounds and emotions throughout. You're put inside the plane for the whole experience, which gives you a sense of just how vunerable our boys must have felt as they braved the skies over Germany.
For me, it's experiences like this where VR really comes into it's own, by not just teaching us what happened, but taking us there ourselves to see and feel what it was like. Excellent.
A fantastic futuristic racer where you get to customise your racer and fly round tracks on Mars. Each track has it's own leaderboard and you can race against other players ghosts. One of the best racers out there, and the more you put in, the more rewarding it is.
As a massive fan of the original Alien movies (1 & 2) and the game Alien Isolation on the PC, I was extremely excited to come across the Alien Isolation VR mod. However, although I completed the game a few years ago on the flat-screen and found it pretty terrifying even back then, in VR I just can't play the game for more than a few minutes at a time without ripping the headset off through sheer panic. Perhaps I've become a bit lily-livered in my old age, or perhaps that's just the power of VR. It's still the best Alien game by a long shot, and for those with balls as big as Ripley's, VR is the only way to play it. Good luck!
One of the first VR games that truly feels like a AAA production, with fantastic visuals and some really intense action-packed gameplay. Feeling of presence is sometimes incredible making it a favourite amongst me and my friends.
Thought provoking, worth the download
A beautiful experience where you find yourself inside one of the paintings of Vincent van Gogh. A very unique and creative use of VR, and although not much to it in the way of things to do, it is still one of my favourite little experiences and one I'd highly recommend.
Thirst is one of the few games that has given me that incredible feeling of 'total presence' on occasion, something a lot of VR games do not achieve. The action is fast, frenetic, and it often feels like being in a scene from a Mad Max movie. Highly recommended.
One of the most immersive experiences out there including the much talked about Whale encounter which was one of the first real showcases of VR. A great one to show people who have never experienced VR, and just an over all enjoyable experience of the beauty and wonder of life beneath the waves.