In the beginning, Oculus Rift content was rather scant, it must be said. But now that the second generation of Oculus Rift development kit is out and in the hands of developers the world over, let’s look at some of the best stuff that’s hit the Rift so far.
Many people lamented the fact that Minecraft would never be made Oculus Rift compatible, after it’s creator Notch saw the Facebook buyout as literally the worst thing that could ever happen.
We were in talks about maybe bringing a version of Minecraft to Oculus. I just cancelled that deal. Facebook creeps me out.
— Markus Persson (@notch) March 25, 2014
But the truth is that a superb mod to make an Oculus Rift mode for Minecraft had already been made, and it’s now received a full update for DK2 with positional tracking. The simplicity of Minecraft lends itself incredibly well to the Oculus Rift – there’s no need to suspend disbelief of “lifelike” textures, so you’re free to enjoy the world as intended. It’s a complete digital Lego set, and a stupendous amount of fun.
If you still haven’t given it a go, check out my Latecomer’s Guide to Minecraft to whet your appetite (the sheer freedom of Minecraft can be a little off-putting for beginners), then be sure to get familiar with the game outside of VR first. When you’re ready to truly experience the MineCraft world you’ve created, install the Minecrift mod and prepare to blow your mind with the scale of the world.
Currently on IndieGogo but with an immense demo level freely available to download, Windlands is a professionally polished 3D platformer in which you use ropes and grappling hooks to explore the levels (a Spiderman simulator?). I was going to record a video of this, but then I realized I was absolutely hopeless at platformers and spent most of my time running around on the ground and falling off things – but if you have the knack for this kind of game, I promise it’ll be an immersive and satisfying Rift experience. Best played with an Xbox360 controller and possibly not ideal for Rift newbies due to all the swinging around and flying through the air – this can be quite sick-inducing.
As someone who doesn’t generally like racing games, TrackMania is actually pretty cool – it plays like a mix between MicroMachines and Wipeout, with absurd physics, terrible handling and harmless collisions. The controls are so simple that you can’t really go wrong (on some user created tracks, simply pressing forwards is enough to complete the level), while the high octane tracks offer a unique experience for the Oculus Rift. The game is free to play for the first 48 hours and time limited each day after that. It comes with great DK2 support. What more could you ask for?
Is TrackMania honestly not intense enough racing action for you? You probably need Radial G then. Currently in development and just greenlit on Steam, a fully functioning one-level demo is available to download. Radial G feels a lot like WipeOut, with a pumping electronic soundtrack, ridiculously fast tracks, and more twistey-turney bits than a Mobius strip of double helix DNA strands (my science might be wrong there, just roll with it okay?). I’m also pretty certain you can’t actually fall off the track, at least not in this demo. Also wildly inappropriate for Rift beginners, for obvious reasons. Here’s a sample:
Technoloust is a gritty cyberpunk thriller/adventure game. With a simple point and click interface, you’ll find yourself inhabiting a believable 1984-Bladerunner-esque dystopian future. The game is very much in it’s early stages and the DK2 compatible beta demo is only available to those who pre-order the full game, but this is definitely something you won’t want to miss as an example of virtual reality done well.
Bonus: A Night At The Roculus
Goat Simulator was stupid yet oddly compelling, and it’s there that the similarities between that game, and A Night At The Roculus, both begin and end. This simple demo can be accurately described as a head-bobbing-while-sitting-in-car-listening-to-90s-music simulator. Like Dance Dance Revolution, only for lazy people, and with good music instead of mind numbing Japanese pop tunes. Look – just give it a go, ok? The average 4.4/5 rating on Oculus Share can’t be wrong! I promise you won’t be disappointed, though I use “promise” and “disappointed” in the loosest meaning possible. More than suitable for Oculus beginners.
Well, those are my favourites. Maybe these terrifying Halloween demos are more your thing; or maybe you think the amazing non-gaming ways the Rift could be used are the most exciting. Tell us – what are your favourite Oculus Rift gaming experiences so far? Do you have an idea you’re just itching for someone to make?