Donkey Kong, Super Monkey Ball, Gorilla Tag, there’s something about monkeys and apes in videogames that we all just love. Needless to say, when Agera Games and Vertigo Games announced TOSS! for virtual reality (VR) headsets, the colourful title looked like it could be a welcome addition to any game library. And in our TOSS! review for Meta Quest 2, we found a game full of boundless energy and physical gameplay.
Schell Games’ I Expect You To Die series is a very rare breed in VR. Not only has the franchise survived several hardware generations, but it has also got better with age. The original was funny, tense and inventive, making for an almost perfect escape room experience in VR. Now in its third instalment, somehow, Schell Games continues to make the quintessential VR escape room. As XR Source finds in its Meta Quest 2 review, I Expect You To Die 3: A Cog in the Machine is as much of a mystery as the world-ending event you’re trying to thwart.
It’s astonishing to think that videogames have existed for over 40 years. And that in their infancy they were no more than a few lines on a screen. One of the most iconic companies to emerge from those early years was Atari, dominating the landscape in the ’70s and ’80s. Atari might not be the company that it once was, but ARVORE’s latest Pixel Ripped instalment harks back to those simpler times. The third game in the franchise, Pixel Ripped 1978 is a title full of nostalgia, and interesting ideas, yet doesn’t quite have the same magic as its predecessors.
The idea behind bringing back decades-old franchises tends to be driven by nostalgia. Rather than exploring an old, innovative game mechanic, companies want to reinvigorate old IPs even when everyone else has forgotten them. That certainly seems the case with the mouthful that is Operation Wolf Returns: First Mission VR. Virtuallyz Gaming saw fit to bring back TAITO’s cult classic arcade game Operation Wolf from 1987, with all of its 80s gungho-ness and now cliched storytelling. As you find out in XR Source’s Operation Wolf Returns review on Quest 2, this recipe hasn’t stood the test of time.
Developers draw inspiration from all sorts of places with other videogames a common one. One franchise that’s always been admired and gleaned from is DOOM, with its wall-to-wall action, seemingly endless enemies and destructive weaponry. And that certainly seems to be the case with Joy Way’s latest title, a roguelike shooter called Dead Hook. In XR Source’s Dead Hook review, we find that for all the gun-toting action there’s little else driving this.
Purple Yonder’s cute city-building game Little Cities has been available for Meta Quest 2 for over a year. When I first played the game at launch, I found it wonderfully charming, well-balanced and easy to pick up. However, it was a tiny bit light on features to extend the gameplay once I’d explored all the available areas. A year on and I still find that same delight as before. Now with all the added bonuses a year out in the wild provides in our Little Cities review.
Some of the best VR puzzle games are the simplest ones. Titles like Cubism and Puzzling Places demonstrate perfectly that a good, well-crafted puzzle is all you need. No fluff, just you and your problem-solving skills. If you love this style of game then Carbon Studio’s latest, Mindset, has likely caught your eye. Littered with cube-based head-scratchers, as we find in our Mindset review, the studio has bravely paired the gameplay with a somewhat bizarre narrative and hand tracking for a mixed result.
Baobab Studios has built a reputation for adorable, finely crafted virtual reality (VR) experiences. Not videogames, more interactive movies like Namoo, Bonfire and Crow: The Legend. But its most famous characters came from Baobab’s earliest projects, Asteroids! and Invasion! These starred two hapless alien friends Mac and Cheez, who get into various scrapes. So it’s great to see them return for the studio’s very first videogame, as we review Galactic Catch.
When you have no nobody around you to rely on, you have to learn to trust in yourself. Or the other solution is to bend time and utilise many versions of yourself. And that’s exactly what Flat Head Studio offers in its latest puzzle game We Are One. Merging a critical take on current environmental issues with VR puzzle gameplay, in our We Are One review for Meta Quest 2, XR Source finds a videogame burning with ambition yet lacking the expression of others in this field.
A lot of my favourite VR games tend to be big action fixes. Games like Population: One or Resident Evil 4. But there are times when I want something different. A VR experience that challenges me to think creatively or a gripping narrative that hooks me with its performance. Sometimes, quite unexpectedly, I encounter both. Weirdly, that just so happened to be inside a radio station, sat on a DJ chair in front of a mic. Welcome to the radio talk show that is this Killer Frequency review.