The arrival of true, next-gen virtual reality becomes a reality in 2016 with the launch of powerful and immersive VR technologies including the HTC Vive. VR, however, demands a lot of graphical horsepower in order to deliver a smooth virtual reality experience keeping you immersed in the game without technical issues. Compared to a standard PC game, it takes approximately seven times more graphics processing power for a modern VR experience.
But as long as your PC meets the minimum requirements for VR - which may just require upgrading your GPU to an Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 or greater- you'll be ready to experience all of the stunning VR games launching this year on HTC Vive. NVIDIA and HTC Vive’s joint program will also conveniently tell you if your rig is ready for VR. Here is a look at over a half dozen new games worth getting excited about on HTC Vive.
Ever wanted to climb Mount Everest? Now you can do just that from the comfort of your own home using Everest VR from Reykjavik-based developer Sólfar Studios. By collaborating with movie effects company RVX they have recreated the world’s largest mountain in astonishing detail enabling players to immerse themselves in key stages of an ascent including Base Camp, Khumbu Icefalls, Lhotse Face, the Hillary Step and the Summit. The experience was created using over 300,000 shots of the mountain itself, while utilizing Unreal Engine 4 and NVIDIA GeForce and VRWorks technology to bring the experience to life on HTC Vive. The results are simply breathtaking.
Budget Cuts is a tongue-in-cheek VR stealth game where the protagonist, who has recently lost his job due to budget cuts, breaks into the Trans Corporation in order to rubber stamp his own job application. Moving around the environment is achieved by placing a marker on the floor where you want to be and you will teleport there, thus reducing the amount of space you need in your living room and preventing motion sickness. Whenever you encounter killer robots you have to grab a weapon, such as a throwing knife and take them out before they see you. Budget Cuts is tense, funny and a unique experience worth checking out on HTC Vive.
Final Approach is a celebration of all things aircraft-related that gives players the opportunity to fly, manipulate and destroy all manner of flying machines. It also manages to implement innovative control systems at the same time. In one segment of Final Approach, you have to use your on-screen finger to draw a flightpath for a plane taking it on a course that enables it to pop balloons that are floating in the air. In another scenario you take part in an aerial dogfight, firing missiles at other aircraft. Landing a fighter plane on an aircraft carrier and putting out its engine fire provides quite a challenge. And there are even fun mini games, one of which sees you throwing suitcases carelessly into luggage carts in the role of a bag handler.
Set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, Hover Junkers tasks players with scouring the land for old bits of junk to build yourself a “Hover Junker” ship. You can continually upgrade your ship and improve it using the resources you find around the environment. When piloting your craft you will come across other players in online multiplayer who you will sometimes have to engage in combat with. Developer Stress Level Zero promises numerous tools and weapons to play with, the option to play as a human or robot, loads of loot that you can attach to your ship or sell, and ten large maps ranging from a deserted junk city to an enormous space elevator.
The Gallery: Call of the Starseed
The Gallery: Call of the Starseed is the first chapter of an episodic fantasy adventure built from the ground up specifically as a VR-only experience. The adventure begins when you discover a mysterious message from your missing twin sister. What follows is a narratively complex tale featuring bizarre characters, fantastical environments, a mad professor and a strange cosmic machine. A system called Blink Locomotion has been implemented to help you navigate your way through the adventure without nausea and regardless of how much physical space you have to play in. As you explore the game’s environments, you will also use a number of different VR movements such as sitting, crawling and even spinning around. The Gallery promises to be one of the most promising launch titles on HTC Vive.
Fantastic Contraption was originally developed as a 2D puzzle game released way back in 2008, but it’s since evolved into a much more elaborate and immersive experience on HTC Vive. The result is a colorful and extremely entertaining building game in which you have to transport a pink ball from its starting position to a target area some distance off. You have a small collection of simple objects, each with its own specific properties that you can combine to make a contraption that will get the ball to its target. There are wheels that travel in different directions and rods that connect objects together. It’s the way that you assemble the parts that will determine whether or not your contraption can get past all the level’s obstacles and reach the end zone. It’s simple and addictive and the introduction of the VR angle takes it to a whole new level on HTC Vive.
Taking its inspiration from games like Myst and Riven, Thunderbird is an engrossing VR adventure in which you find yourself on a snowy mountain top next to an elaborate metal door and a strange statue. You are given no clue as to why you are there, and there are no tutorials on what you are supposed to do. From here on in you just have to experiment and explore to progress in Thunderbird’s weird and wonderful world. What starts out as a perplexing puzzle game eventually develops into a cinematic experience in which you encounter huge mythical creatures. The idea, according to the developers, is to transport the player from a relatively realistic and mundane setting to somewhere that is clearly and dramatically otherworldly.
By Andy Dyer
Sponsored by Nvidia