The Spawn Room

Category: Game Reviews

The almost-but-not-quite HTC Vive VR 2018 List

Last updated: 2018-03-25

This list contains all the VR experiences I’ve played that almost made by best of 2018 list, but had some glaring issue I couldn’t overlook. It contains a mix of free and paid VR experiences, order is not important, and it’s a work-in-progress.

If you’re looking for the best FREE and PAID VR experiences click those links.

  1. Colosse (FREE)- cool art style and fun little story, but too short and nothing to interact with. If you’re looking for a free and quick install and want to spend the 5 minutes to watch it, go for it, but otherwise it’s probably safe to skip over.
  2. Allumette (FREE) – this probably should be on the best free list, BUT I’m biased against the story. It just wasn’t that interesting to me, but overall this is probably worth checking out. It was really well done, it was a solid 15 minutes, and the scale was fascinating. There’s also a moment in the middle that’s worth seeing that took me by surprise.
  3. The Bellows (FREE) – this has some genuinely freaky moments and I had fun swearing in my room as things jumped out at me, but overall I felt it was a little corny or forced. It’s close to being on the best free list, but something about it just isn’t quite there. Props to the free locomotion option though and some truly terrifying moments. Oh and the zero-G effect was cool too.
  4. Paranormal Activity: The Lost Soul (PAID) – I really enjoyed this game and physically jumped and recoiled in terror a few times. The story is alright and everything worked well overall. There’s at least a couple solid hours of content, although it feels a bit expensive for what you’re getting. I’d wait for a good sale to pick it up. Not quite best of material, but close.
  5. Trials on Tatooine (FREE) – this was a fun little experience that looks great and is better than their Droid Repair Bay game (although that one is longer), BUT it’s super short. If you’re just looking to experience different things in VR, I’d say check it out, but don’t expect much more than 5 minutes of content.
  6. Wake Up (FREE) – this is an interesting dream-like VR experience that has a solid 30 minutes of content. There’s very little directions so prepare to be patient as you figure out the puzzles. They also don’t have a free locomotion option, which is always sad, but it probably didn’t make sense for this game anyway. Overall, it’s good, but I can’t quite put it on the best free list.
  7. Acan’s Call: Act 1 (FREE) – fun, well-made linear dungeon crawler experience with sword and shield combat. Games like this excite me for the future when they make Dark Souls or Skyrim with full VR. Overall, it’s a good game, but short.
  8. Abbot’s Book Demo (FREE) – I can’t quite put this on the best free list because it’s so short, BUT the vibe was creepy and awesome. It felt like a scene from Dark Souls brought to VR. If you don’t mind it being super short, check it out, otherwise it’s probably ok to skip over.
  9. The Red Stare (FREE) – this is a great game and probably deserves to be on the best free list, BUT it’s slow and you need a fair amount of patience to get into it. Some of it felt a little tedious too, almost like it needed one more game mechanic mixed in to spice it up. Oh and don’t make the same mistake I did putting the card in the wrong slot on the fax machine.
  10. Insanity VR: Last Score (FREE) – this game is downright creepy and disturbing. It’s probably one of the best scary games out there and has a decent little chunk of content, but I can’t put it on the best of list because I wasn’t a fan of the movement system and when you failed it wasn’t quick to jump back in and restart. Worth playing, but not quite a best of experience. Also, just to reiterate, this game is actually disturbing so be prepared.
  11. Quanero (FREE) – an interesting and unique free game with a decent chunk of content, but another that requires some patience to get into and solve. Definitely worth checking out, but not quite best of material.
  12. INVASION! (FREE) – another fun little animated movie with a cute bunny and some silly aliens. It’s too short to be on the best of list, but it’s probably worth the 5 minutes to check it out.
  13. Octopus Bar (FREE) – this misses the mark because it’s so short, but overall it was a weird and fascinating game. Definitely worth the 5-10 minutes, but not quite best of material.

Best Paid HTC Vive VR Experiences 2018

Last updated: 2018-04-22

I’m planning on updating this article periodically throughout 2018 with the best paid HTC Vive VR experiences on Steam. I’m sure many of these games work for Oculus Rift and on other platforms, but I only have a HTC Vive and play pretty much exclusively through Steam.

Note: order is not important, I’m just adding them sequentially based on when I played or when I remembered to add them. This also includes games from all time, not just 2018. And lastly, this is a work-in-progress.

If you’re looking for the best FREE HTC Vice VR experiences head over here.

  1. Portal Stories: VR – this game is free, BUT you have to own Portal 2 to play it so it doesn’t really qualify to be under the best free list. It’s also a tad short and the puzzles are easy, but I had fun playing it and seeing the Portal world up-close and personal was great. There’s also some bonus content at the end that I thought was awesome. Biggest drawback is that there’s no free locomotion option.
  2. Fallout 4 VR – it’s Fallout 4 in VR, of course it’s great! There’s a ton of content and replayability like you’d expect, the controls feel intuitive, and overall it’s a great game. There’s probably more to complain about the base game itself over the VR version of it, but it’s definitely worth playing. Be sure to tweak your graphics in the console/ini because there are some adjustments you can make to significantly improve the visuals without losing performance.
    1. Free Locomotion: YES
    2. Amount of content: easily 20+ hours even if you’ve thoroughly played Fallout 4 before. Content-to-cost ratio is VERY GOOD.
  3. Climbey – this game was surprisingly fun and addictive and the movement/controls felt really natural. Overall I was very pleasantly surprised and would recommend picking this up at some point. Just be aware that you’ll be flailing your arms like a madman and I accidentally punched my nice gaming monitor 3 or 4 times before I had to take a break.
  4. Pavlov VR – if you like Counter-Strike, this game is addicting. It’s competitive, well built, and brings the shooter experience to another level. I can’t wait until CS is fully ported over or the community for this explodes and they add matchmaking. That might be the end of my life outside of VR…
    1. Free Locomotion: YES
    2. Amount of content: 10+ hours minimum with high replayability if you like match-based Counter-Strike style gameplay. You could easily play this for 100+ hours if you’re competitive. Content-to-cost ratio is VERY GOOD.
  5. Skyrim VR – I have been patiently waiting for this for months now and it’s finally here! I had such a blast playing the original Skyrim and immediately knew this would renew my addiction. I do have to admit the game feels the same overall, BUT experiencing it in VR is jaw-dropping. Crank up the settings, install some mods, and spend hours immersed in this endless fantasy world.
    1. Free Locomotion: YES
    2. Amount of content: easily 20+ hours even if you’ve thoroughly played Skyrim before, especially with mods. Content-to-cost ratio is VERY GOOD.
  6. GORN – I finally got a copy of GORN and understand why people say it’s a must-have for any VR owner. I feel like their trailers and the YouTube videos out there don’t do it justice. It’s such a ridiculous yet oddly satisfying and challenging game and the ambience is truly creepy. I highly suggest picking up a copy of this at some point.
    1. Free Locomotion: YES
    2. Amount of content: 2-3 hours minimum with replayability potential. Content-to-cost ratio is GOOD.

Best Free HTC Vive VR Experiences 2018

Last updated: 2018-04-24

I’m planning on updating this article periodically throughout 2018 with the best free HTC Vive VR experiences on Steam. I’m sure many of these games work for Oculus Rift and on other platforms, but I only have a HTC Vive and play pretty much exclusively through Steam.

Note: order is not important, I’m just adding them sequentially based on when I played or when I remembered to add them. This also includes games from all time, not just 2018. And lastly, this is a work-in-progress.

If you’re looking for the best PAID HTC Vice VR experiences head over here.

  1. Fantasynth: Chez Nous – no locomotion, no real interactions, but a sick experience if you like Milkdrop-style visualizations and electronic music. I was blown away and hope they release more tracks or a procedural experience like Milkdrop.
    1. Free Locomotion: NO
    2. Amount of content: 5 minutes
  2. The Body VR: Journey Inside a Cell – this is one of the genres I am most excited for in VR. I think learning about our world through VR experiences could change society. This is an excellent first example of that future and I was in awe learning about the human body. Some basic interactions, no locomotion, and overall felt polished.
    1. Free locomotion: NO
    2. Amount of content: 15 minutes
  3. We Were Here – another genre I’m really excited for in VR. My friend and I started with little explanation and had to figure out how to communicate and solve puzzles. Some of them had the pressure of time against you which added such a great element to the game. I can’t wait to play the sequel.
    1. Free locomotion: YES
    2. Amount of content: 2-3 hours, BUT it could be doubled by playing both sides (the Librarian and the Explorer)
  4. Google Earth VR – very cool VR experience that upgrades the Google Earth experience significantly. I live in Denver and it was fascinating exploring the city from this perspective. Only draw-back is that many areas are still flat (no cool 3D building effect). Overall, definitely worth installing and one of those apps you keep installed forever.
    1. Free Locomotion: YES
    2. Amount of content: 1 hour minimum to explore and get a feel for it, but one of those games/apps you’ll probably return to many times
  5. Waltz of the Wizard – this game was SO cool. I loved every minute of it and there were some mind-blowing experiences. Whoever made this is some sort of genius. Be sure to thoroughly explore the whole thing. There’s about 30-60 minutes worth of content. Hopefully they make a sequel or a full version at some point.
    1. Free Locomotion: YES
    2. Amount of content: 1-2 hours
  6. Belko VR: An Escape Room Experiment – I felt a real sense of urgency and tension in this game. The puzzles were somewhat easy to solve, but overall I thought this was really well done and the ending was shocking. I can’t wait to see how the escape room genre evolves in the future.
  7. The Lab – a must install VR game that’s basically on every best VR games list imaginable. Let’s just leave it at that.
  8. Accounting – short, weird, free, and hilarious. Definitely worth the install.
  9. Rec Room – another one of those must install VR games that provides a good chunk of content, weird social encounters with other players, and some genuinely fun mini-games.
  10. Bigscreen Beta – don’t skip out trying this app like I did when I first got my Vive, it will seriously upgrade your movie watching experience. Obviously the resolution is lower than a HD screen, BUT the trade-off of watching on a simulated 50 foot screen in the middle of space is fucking awesome!
  11. Gnomes & Goblins – this one is teetering on the edge of being in the almost-but-not-quite section because it’s so short, BUT what a cool experience overall! It felt so magical and friendly and cozy. It was like they brought a childhood book to life. I can’t wait for the next release!
  12. Senza Peso – wow! What an amazing VR experience. This brought back memories of Myst and Riven and Molten Core from World of Warcraft. It’s only 5-10 minutes long, but I loved every second of it. Hopefully there is more to come!
  13. TheWaveVR Beta – what did I just see? I felt like I was in the realm of the gods. Mad gods who create worlds without meaning or purpose, just because they can. Amazing and fascinating are two words that might describe this game.
  14. Welcome to Light Fields – this is another teetering on the edge of not making this list because it’s short and simplistic, BUT it’s worth seeing. This demo showcases an aspect of the future of VR: photorealistic environments. It’s also just well made and has some really interesting shots.

Firefall free public beta weekend, First Impressions Review

Awhile back I signed up for a Firefall public beta invite after seeing it mentioned on some eSports websites and forums as a potential candidate for a new competitive title. I looked into it and didn’t see much potential for that, but I did see a game that looked fairly intriguing for an MMO. After a somewhat lengthy install I jumped in-game and began exploring the new world of Firefall. This video covers my experience as a new player (first impressions), what I liked and disliked, and a review of the game thus far.


Show Notes

Startup impressions

  • Downloader ran fine, nothing weird
  • Nothing annoying when starting up (no forced ads/splash videos)
  • Paste username and password!
  • Has an invasive anti-cheat like most games (scans PC, like Warden)
  • Be nice! You can be banned for any reason like most games nowadays

Client Options

  • Borderless window mode!
  • Separate PVP video options
  • Stream to Twitch from in-game
  • Modify interface built in
  • It looks like they did their research

Character Creation

  • Create character gives some customization options, but not many
  • Multiple classes to choose from

Performance

  • Runs better than PlanetSide 2 which is what I would compare it against right away

In-Game Notes

  • You can modify character if you don’t like it after selecting
  • World was really dark when I got in because it was night
  • Gamma washed it out tho, might want to lessen the night effect a bit
  • Not much of an introduction or help, I didn’t know what I was doing
  • Wandered out into the wilderness and got into a battle
  • Since FPS was able to handle myself which was cool
  • Felt like Borderlands

More World Notes

  • Huge world, non-linear, go anywhere
  • Gliders were sweet, you could have a lot of fun with those depending on world placement
  • Still no help, where do I get quests? Are there outposts with quests?
  • Like MMO Unreal Tournament
  • Combat was exciting, doesn’t tell if I got a reward or anything though
  • Servers were slow, menus were slow, to be expected though, except maybe menu speed?
  • NPCs / combat AI are dumb
  • Combat can be pretty intense
  • Not as many ppl playing as PS2, you def. can’t take towers by yourself at low level
  • Mining nodes like most MMOs, random “chests” (supply crates)
  • Cool areas to explore, some epic monsters roaming around, quite a bit of empty space tho
  • I seriously have no idea what I was supposed to be doing
  • Night time is really dark
  • I didn’t see any vehicles driving around
  • Weakness of both this game and PS2 was a lack of direction
  • I just ran around aimlessly, this was better tho for MMO imo
  • Quests I was able to do really repetitive, could be like GW2
  • Did I get a quest reward? I have no idea…
  • I didn’t really understand the environment, there was beach resorts and houses randomly
  • If F2P definitely something worth checking out
  • Has potential for awesomeness
  • Apparently you can’t swim, I died so quickly I didn’t even have a chance to respond, WTF!?!

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