Now we know when Valve and HTC's Vive will be coming and by how much it will be milking our hard-earned cash, but what can we actually use it with? Thankfully the internet is already on the case and there's official word too of what is supported.
Having all that fancy virtual reality tech is nice and all but it needs a seriously tasty diet of games and other experiences to go with it or the whole movement will starve out. Sony's PlayStation VR already has a sizeable menu for what it does and will support when it launches, but what about the long-awaited SteamVR and it's Vive love-child with HTC?
Well, first and foremost it might be a good idea to run the official (and free) SteamVR Performance Test that attempts to measure your system's ability to support virtual reality, as it can be quite a demanding mistress for a smooth ride.
The officially curated recommendation list from HTC Vive itself includes a number of quirky titles right alongside the more serious releases. As mentioned in the PlayStation VR piece, going the quirky route of just plain and silly fun can help a platform thrive.
- Maximum Override
A randomly generated city full of opportunities to completely destroy everything. Sold. To be a bit more precise this colourful single-player indie titles lets us control any kind of machine to wreak havoc on an unsuspecting city. Currently it's in early access with a simplistic yet charming art style. It almost makes it look a little bit like a LEGO built city.
"Maximum Override is a chaotic city destruction game where the machines come alive. Wreak havoc in a fully destructible randomly generated city with anything you can find."
Quirk Factor: 9/10
- Mind: Path to Thalamus Enhanced Edition
Carlos Coronado, Dani Navarro, Luka Nieto
A first-person puzzler where the weather is key to solving the game's mind-teasing riddles. We're trapped insider our own mind and must use the power of our grey matter to escape to reality. Poor guy doesn't realise he just needs to take off his VR headset obviously. Mind supports both HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift.
"Wrapped in a mind-bending tale, the gameplay of “MIND” focuses on changing the very weather in order to solve puzzles: the player will cycle between day and night, modify the levels of fog and rain and even travel in time between seasons, changing the environment to advance the gameplay-driven story —indeed, the mechanics are directly related to who the protagonist is, what has happened to him and everything he is doing: a man trapped in his own mind, he must use all the tools at his disposition to escape to reality. Accompanied by the snarky yet heartfelt narration of this comatose patient, the player will guide him through fantastical forests, dark caverns and deceptive worlds of water and ice that directly relate to his emotional state at each point in his journey."
Flood Warning: Severe
- A Legend of Luca (April 29, 2016)
Here's an interesting one and a title that definitely wouldn't exist without the unholy wizardry of VR. It's described as a first-person Rogue-like in a Zelda-like world, like. Basically you get to swing a sword and explore dungeons through rooms chained together that can contain bosses with loot we need because reasons. Interestingly it can use the Lighthouse sensor to decide the scale of the dungeon rooms, meaning the bigger the playroom you've got the HTC Vive set up in the more in-game room you'll have.
"A Legend of Luca is a VR FPS Rogue-Lite in a Zelda-Like world that uses screen scrollingwhere the player explores dungeons of many linked rooms to defeat bosses and gain their weapons. Player movement and camera using Room Scale VR via the HTC Vive. To make rooms feel bigger player is only 36” tall. When a door is used the player is scrolled to the same position in next room."
Zelda-Like Likeability: Much-Like
- The Gallery - Episode 1: Call of the Starseed (TBA 2016)
A dark 80's fantasy inspired adventure that's 'built-for-VR'? Well, if you insist. Our sister is missing, there's some kind of ancient machine thingy and just to top it all there's a sinister presence. A crackpot professor will help us on our journey to discover what that twin sibling of ours is up to. The Gallery is an episodic adventure that supports both Vive and Oculus.
"A strange message left by your mischievous twin sister, Elsie, will draw you into a mysterious journey filled with bizarre characters, a sinister presence and awe inspiring adventure. Along the way, you will be assisted by a helpful yet unhinged Professor who may harbor ulterior motives of his own. Your search for Elsie will lead you to a cosmic machine that wields incredible power and it will test your will against the forces of a shadowy figure who resides within it."
Exploration Compulsion: OCD
- Alien: Isolation
Trapped as a Ripley aboard a space station with a xenomorph on the loose and you get to experience it all first-person stuck in a vent. Some people just aren't happy with playing horror titles in the dark, they need to go that extra torturous mile. Creative Assembly are tinkering with Alien: Isolation to help it really dial that claustrophobia up a notch, and to make you fearful of vents the rest of your life.
"Discover the true meaning of fear in Alien: Isolation, a survival horror set in an atmosphere of constant dread and mortal danger. Fifteen years after the events of Alien™, Ellen Ripley’s daughter, Amanda enters a desperate battle for survival, on a mission to unravel the truth behind her mother's disappearance."
"As Amanda, you will navigate through an increasingly volatile world as you find yourself confronted on all sides by a panicked, desperate population and an unpredictable, ruthless Alien. Underpowered and underprepared, you must scavenge resources, improvise solutions and use your wits, not just to succeed in your mission, but to simply stay alive."
Creep Factor: Chest-Bursting
- Grand Theft Auto 5 (Possible)
Since the PC version supported first-person mode at launch it was only a matter of time before something like virtual reality made full use of it. Getting to 'step into' the world of Grand Theft Auto is a dream come true for fans although adjusting to what it feels like to be virtually standing in Los Santos might be jarring for some. I'm sure the Vanilla Unicorn will enjoy a spike in patronage... Don't forget there's sky diving, fighter jets, high-speed chases, tense stand-offs and all the Republican Space Rangers you can watch.
It should be noted there's no official support at this time for actual virtual reality from Rockstar, however Take-Two have said they'll be willing to lend that assistance if customers are hungry enough for it like a bucket of Cluckin' Bell chicken. The community has already 'hacked' the game to support Oculus Rift, so HTC Vive support is almost a given.
"When a young street hustler, a retired bank robber and a terrifying psychopath find themselves entangled with some of the most frightening and deranged elements of the criminal underworld, the U.S. government and the entertainment industry, they must pull off a series of dangerous heists to survive in a ruthless city in which they can trust nobody, least of all each other."
"Grand Theft Auto V for PC offers players the option to explore the award-winning world of Los Santos and Blaine County in resolutions of up to 4k and beyond, as well as the chance to experience the game running at 60 frames per second."
Fan Appetite: Murderous
Leap like a superhero in this jumping puzzle game that's spread across five major world cities with a simple goal. Jump to the top of the JUMP Tower in as few jumps as possible, or just gleefully hop around a huge sprawling urban landscape of Philadelphia, Detroit, Seattle, New York City and Tokyo. Probably not for those unused to virtual reality or with an aversion to heights...
"JUMP, developed by Endeavor One Inc.©, enjoy the world's first large scale virtual reality jumping puzzle to utilize the awesome power of SteamVR! JUMP is a world where you the player get to enjoy the power fantasy of being a superhero in large major metropolitan cities from around the globe. The goal of the game is simple - get to the top of JUMP Tower in the fewest jumps! Once completed - outwit and out-jump your friends on the worldwide leaderboards."
PSA: Mind The Gap