With the huge Viveport announcement of adding 75+ new titles to the subscription service, which means there are now 150+ titles available in total, Vive Report wanted to dig in and explore all the fresh additions. Thus was born our “Decisions, Decisions, & Viveport Subscription” series, which we will start off by taking a look at our top 15 titles currently available on Viveport Subscription.
When first signing up for Viveport subscription, it may be a bit overwhelming to decide on your five titles for the month. We hope this article helps you with the decision-making process. Keep in mind that on a monthly basis, you can swap up to three of your current selections within the first three days of the subscription month, allowing you to keep two of your favorites while also allowing you to try something new.
This list is more focused on full VR experiences–mostly games or simulations that we find are popular throughout the VR community. We want to remind you, though, that there is a great deal of content available on Viveport subscription for things like meditation, education, travel, and even short interactive VR movie experiences. Our list really doesn’t touch upon these more niche experiences, but we want to applaud Viveport for their efforts to secure such a wide array of options for their subscribers.
First, let’s look at the most loved titles which I would have to say are Tilt Brush, Cloudlands Mini Golf, ROM: Extraction and Sairento VR. It’s no surprise one of these titles, Tilt Brush, actually won a 2016 Vivey Award for Best HTC Vive Application. You can check out the 2016 Vivey Award winners here.
In Tilt Brush, you are given the tools to draw in 3d space, in front of, behind, above and all around you. Something illustrators have likely dreamed about their entire life is now a possibility, thanks to Google’s Tilt Brush. If you’re an artist or just enjoy doodling on the corners of your notebooks, you’re bound to get lost for hours in Tilt Brush. Check out some amazing illustrations made with Tilt Brush here and be inspired.
Recreational fun for all!
Cloudlands: VR Mini Golf was a winner of the Viveport Developer Awards 2016. I stick to my hypothesis that almost everyone loves mini-golf, and the developer Futuretown was smart and quick to create the first, thoughtfully-developed version of mini-golf with Cloudlands. They’ve included a level editor which essentially means there are endless possibilities for new levels to keep you entertained. Imagine demo-ing to a first timer in VR, getting them set up in Cloudlands, and getting to say, “Oh and by the way, I built the course you’re on ;)”. It really opens up to a bit more of a creative aspect when you get into the level design area. But outside of that, this is good ol’ mini golf, set atop floating cloud lands of course, and with plenty of fun obstacles to keep you on your toes along the way.
We published an in-depth review back in October 2016, take a peep here.
FPS VR – Experience the action!
Here, we dive into two red-hot VR titles that are burning up the interwebs with people sharing gameplay, gifs and mixed reality videos. Even the developers are on fire with update after update bringing in new content, new mechanics, graphics improvements and general quality improvements.
ROM: Extraction is another game for which we published a full in-depth review alongside its launch. Check it out here. ROM: Extraction places you in the shoes of an extractor whose mission is to break into an alien underground base, steal their eggs and GTHO. The gameplay starts when it’s time to GTHO. Needless to say, things get a little hectic. You’re placed on an elevator platform your team has lost control of, and you are stuck with an onslaught of robot alien baddies running straight for you, while you wait for your team to regain control of the elevator to get you out of there (alive, hopefully). Lights are flashing. Your team reports in your ear, “They’re coming, get ready!” and you’re off. They come at you from all sides, in groups of about 10, shooting and ducking behind parts of the environment.
Your one task is to stay alive while your rescue ship is being readied (and score as many points possible). You have one secret super weapon: orbs. Oh and your gun has the ability to slow time, which leads to some of the most awesome visuals while you battle it out with the enemy. You’re encouraged to “Throw, slow, and shoot,” by the devs First Contact, and it works. For instance, I can throw an orb, slow down time, and then shoot the orb right as it approaches the enemy, and it will explode in a spectacle of light and of what looks like space collapsing in on itself destroying any nearby bots. This makes for some fast-paced FPS action with stunning visuals to bewilder you along the way. Plus they recently added a whole new level and new gun, which changes things up quite a bit, but I won’t spoil that for you. Go check it out for yourself!
Sairento VR was on my radar before its release as I’d been waiting for a Ninja Gaiden/Devil May Cry type VR game since I first tried VR. This is the first game to come closest to realizing these amazing gameplay mechanics, and doing it successfully in VR. Again, it’s no surprise we published a full in-depth review for Sairento when it first launched, which you can check out here.
In Sairento, you get to step into the shoes of a futuristic cyber samurai. What sets Sairento apart the most is its fantastic locomotion system and the freedom it offers. You can jump, double-jump, wall run, and even slide on landing, all with zero motion sickness (as reported by most users). This is where Sairento shines, allowing you the freedom to pick any weapon you want for your load-out, and then equip relics (modifiers) to your weapons and armor. You can play how you want to play, then dive in and go crazy running along walls while decapitating your foes. Once you start to achieve a style to your slaughtering, you’ll really feel like an action movie star. I personally play with dual katanas, occasionally using slow motion mid-air. I may grab a gun to shoot one or two enemies off in the distance, leaving enough time to re-equip my katana before I land and deliver even more carnage, as I slide toward my next foe with my blade already in motion.
Viveport features the Lite version of Sairento with “less levels, less enemies, less weapons, less ninja moves,” but the same amount of kick-ass.
Another game in the FPS/action genre that made our list is Overkill VR. While it may have started out as a mobile game, its VR port is surprisingly great and has had a steady stream of updates. That, along with an amazing response to community feedback and implementing players’ input, has made for a solid title. There’s a good deal of content to be found in Overkill in the form of unlock-able upgrades, countless weapons, and a map-by-map progression that gives a campaign feel to it. You earn stars based on your performance in a level, and with enough stars, open up more levels.
We see less freedom of movement in this game, so it’s better for people with smaller play spaces or people concerned about playing in a small space. This is more of your classic arcade cover shooter, where you are always placed by a wall or barricade so you can hide while being deluged with bullets, then jump up and take them all out! After a set point in the level, movement is handled by you shooting where you want to go next. This game is great for fans of FPS in general, and guns, tons of guns that the devs do their best to match their real life counterpart, both in looks and in physics.
Let’s get fantastic!
One of the first bundled games to be included with the Vive made the list. We all know and love it as Fantastic Contraption. It’s a… fantastic game, literally. It’s essentially an engineering challenge game. You’re provided certain materials–rods, connectors, wheels, and more–and have to use these to build a contraption to achieve a set goal. For instance, “Move this ball 10 feet in a straight line.” You then must craft a contraption out of your available materials, bending, stretching, twisting, all to create a mechanism to move the ball. It’s won countless awards at this point, and anyone who sits down with it and puts in some time into it will likely really get into it (Warning: possibly addictive). Plus, there’s a good deal of content, making it a title you can get countless hours from, especially if you’re the type who likes thinking out of the box.
Real Time Strategy in VR
RTS fans rejoice, as you have not been overlooked! Two absolutely awesome RTS titles are available on Viveport subscription: Cosmic Trip, which recently left early access with a bang, and Kittypocalypse, a title which offers equal amounts of challenge as it does cuteness.
In Cosmic Trip, you’re on a mission in a strange land. The game stands out in gameplay mechanics and aesthetics, and really takes advantage of room-scale VR by putting you right in the action, effectively making it a first-person RTS game. In it, everything is alien in a retro-sci-fi kind of way, and you will definitely have to spend some time learning how to play. There are a bunch of great gameplay videos you can check out for a glimpse of the action, or you can check out the strategy guide the developers, Funktronic, just made available recently here. This title is a particular favorite of Shurl. You can read her in-depth review here, for a deeper look, along with a few tips to make your Cosmic Trip as enjoyable and funky as possible.
Kittypocalypse, another one of Shurl’s favorites (VR has made her a big RTS fan), hence her full review which you can check out here. It’s essentially a classic RTS, but in VR. So, you have the ability to hover above the landscape as a god and scale or move the environment to your desire, which allows you to monitor all the action and lay out your plan of attack, or defense, I should say. Let’s not forget the most important aspect, oodles of cute kittens! Sure they are extraterrestrial, evil kittens set out to destroy you, and your goal is to decimate them. But hey, cute is cute!
Active games are my personal favorite VR experiences, only because they’re so unique to VR. To be able to step into the ring, dodge, duck and weave, and feel like I’m really there–is what VR is all about. Delivering experiences no other medium has even come close to achieving is where the Vive really stands out and delivers the most immersive experiences in virtual reality.
Knockout League, a graphically impressive boxing game developed by Grab Games in partner with Vive Studios, is a sure bet to get your heartbeat racing and even build up a bit of sweat. This game is essentially a VR recreation of a legend, “Punch-Out,” but with its own style and characters, plus training modes included. That’s right, you can go practice on the speed bag, or have your trainer call out punches for you for a warm-up before jumping into a match. There are currently four opponents awaiting you in Knockout League, each with their own set of punches, dodges and special moves.
In Knockout league, most opponents are only vulnerable to attacks at certain points, so you need to pay attention to your opponent and look for indicators when it’s your time to strike. Anyone looking for some fun with a side of workout is going to love Knockout League.
Space Fist, is a unique first-person fighting game. But instead of boxing, we see more of a street fight type of experience. Space Fist is the closest VR game to popular fighting games we all know and love, such as Street Fighter. You’re placed against various opponents with unique fighting styles and special attacks, but you are also given your own special attacks to execute, something we don’t see in other fighting games currently.
This game was developed by Chinese developers, so the interface is mostly in Chinese characters, but it does not affect the fun and immersive gameplay. You can either do the campaign mode or just the one-off matches against an opponent of your choice. Most environments are outdoors and are quite stunning, with high quality fighter models, as well. The gameplay is quite challenging, so it should take you some time to build up your VR muscles in order to beat all of the opponents. Any fans of fighting games in general are likely to enjoy Space Fist, but again, with any active game, you’ll likely be working up a sweat before you know it.
Pro tip: Take a break!
Quick note, with regard to sweat. If you are feeling sweaty around where the Vive rests against your face, I strongly encourage you to take breaks! Take a breather, stay hydrated, and give the Vive a wipe-down if there is any sweat built up. These are standard tips for any exercise, and active VR experiences will have you exercising without you even realizing it! The last thing we want is for any trouble, so take breaks and check your play space.
Back to it, let’s take a look at another Vive Studios production: Virtual Sports!
Virtual Sports, developed by Free Range Games and published by Vive Studios, is a 2-in-1 as you get both ping pong and lawn tennis.
Thoughtfully, the developers have included a fun mode and a simulation mode. For those who are looking for a light arcade fun experience, this game will deliver. And for those serious about their ping pong or tennis, the simulation mode is insanely accurate. In one of the Viveport live casts, one of the game’s devs speaks to the overwhelming amount of calculation and variables to consider when making a realistic ping pong VR experience. It’s mind boggling, to say the least. But they’ve managed to deliver it cleverly, so that both sides of the fence can enjoy their time with Virtual Sports. Opponents who “hail” from a few different countries keep the mood light. The funniest part is that the umpire is a dog! We feel most everyone would find some fun with Virtual Sports, so do yourself the favor and give it a try.
Exploration games: fantastical worlds await!
MageWorks! For fans of the supernatural, or anyone who’s ever wanted to whip up a fireball in their hands, we have the magical Mageworks. Mageworks places a long flowing robe over your shoulders and allows you to experience, first hand, the power of spell casting and live out your wizard fantasies.
Windlands! This next exploration title was the game on everyone’s lips shortly after the Vive was first released. It was among the first available titles, which of course led to many of the early adopters picking it up. We saw a bit of a split in terms of people’s opinions on locomotion handling and motion sickness. I’ll admit, this early talk actually kept me away from the title. But as the developer, Psytec Games, listened to the community feedback, further fine-tuned elements of the locomotion and the game in general, they’ve managed to alleviate the majority of these issues, especially motion sickness.
I finally got to play this title just a few months ago, and instantly was in awe. I don’t want to throw around the term man-spider, but let’s just say the in-game mechanic of having grappling hooks for hands is, in effect, very similar to what I imagine a man-spider might feel as he traverses the city with his web-slinging abilities. Just for the pure thrill of swinging from tree to tree to building to tree, it’s worth your time to try this game out.
HoverSkate VR, the name alone is sure to pique some interest. We were lucky enough to be testers of this title prior to its launch so, we were able to write an in-depth review to help people grasp the concept of using your hands as feet. Yes, that’s right. Your hands become feet in HoverSkate VR. You can read our full review here.
Most of us are familiar with the idea of a hover board from the classic film, Back to the Future, and this title definitely delivers in letting you experience what riding a hover board might be like. When I first launched the game, I spent a good 20-30 minutes just playing with the glorious board physics, working out which does what, where my hand-feet should rest on the board, what positioning works best for flip tricks, etc.
After taking the time to really get comfortable with the controls and concept, I was pleasantly surprised at how fantastic everything worked together.
We’ve already seen a bunch of updates, so it’s clear that the developer, Hyper Light Studios, is committed to improving the title and listening to community feedback. For instance, just a few weeks ago, multiplayer was added. Now you can hoverskate with up to three of your friends. There are a handful of maps currently available, all with different styles, ledges, rails, etc. for you to get radical with. There is “on rails” artificial locomotion, which is how you move through a level. You set a start point on any map, then click the touchpad to “play” and you will start moving forward, allowing you to land grinds and nail as many tricks as you can think up. The board will display the trick name and your current combo multiplier, if any. There are over 250 tricks to execute. There’s a tracking system to let you know how many times you’ve performed any one trick, as well as tutorial videos to show you how to execute any specific trick.
A very cool aspect of this game is the built-in gif creator. With it, you can replay your last run and and freely teleport around the map. Record during replay from any angle, and save it as a gif from the in-game menu. There’s also a store included where you can purchase new boards and shoes, and even special challenges that will earn you in-game cash. I find I spend most of my time trying to perform a specific set of tricks, then trying to capture cool gifs of said tricks, from different angles and even different speeds. I’ve put together a collection of some of my favorite gifs here. This title definitely stands out as a fun and interesting concept that really makes great use of VR, as I doubt we’ll be seeing real hover boards any time soon.
Last, but certainly not the least, Pierhead Arcade! This title will always hold a place close to my heart. I remember browsing through every single VR game available when the Vive first came out and stumbling across this amazing simulation of your classic Americana pier arcade. Growing up on the East Coast, my family often made trips to the beach. And instead of diving into the ocean, I would always run straight for the arcades. These are the classic games that give you tickets when you win, tickets you can save and redeem for goofy prizes. I remember thinking “I could stay here forever!” and “I wish I had unlimited access to a place like this!”.
Well now, thanks to VR, you can! Pierhead Arcade is exactly that: a realistic simulation of a classic pier arcade. There are a bunch of different games to play, pretty much all the classics that are in real arcades are represented. You do win tickets for playing games, and there’s a prize booth where you can trade your tickets with toys! You can choose from fireworks, drones, toy cars and more, and then play with them.
With Pierhead, we saw regular updates, sometimes adding in entirely new games! It was our first experience with early access and with a dev who communicated directly with the community. They even had season-themed updates just for the sake of fun and nostalgia. There’s also multiplayer mode, so if you and a friend both have the game, you can connect and play side by side in the very same arcade.
Pierhead Arcade is a great place to start for anyone new to VR and a must have for any VR veterans. We highly recommend you check out Pierhead at least once to enjoy this fantastic simulation of a classic American pastime. You can also check out our full review here.
Enticing & Mysterious: Titles from the Far East
Before I wrap things up, I quickly wanted to touch upon the super interesting and potentially awesome titles recently made available to the US and other regions through Viveport. For my personal Viveport Subscription for the month of June, I decided to dive in and download exclusively Asian titles, hoping that I could explore and provide some insight into these experiences, especially as a few of them boast some of the best-looking VR gameplay trailers to date.
The sole aspect of not really having English as a supported language is the main reason none of them made our Top 15 list, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a gem or two to hiding here. If you’re not risking to gamble one of your five subscriptions slots on a foreign title just yet, you can look forward to our next write-up where we explore VR experiences from the East.
These are our top picks:
You are the Future of VR
With Viveport subscription, we are seeing a whole new service being born. We’re in the unique position to witness its birth and have the power to contribute. Your input is incredibly valuable. So please, I encourage anyone who buys or subscribes to any of the titles on Viveport to leave a review!
Let the community know what you think, because they are you; you are them! Be sure to leave your mark in this ever-growing community. Our voices shall be heard and heralded throughout future generations! Both Vive.Report and Viveport are eager for your feedback.
With the certainty that VR is here to stay, being part of the VR community is one of my favorite aspects of being an early adopter. You’ve got nothing to lose, and have countless experiences to try and new friends to make.
Welcome to VR, welcome to Vive, and welcome to Viveport Subscription.