Category Archives: HTC Vive

Sam & Max: This Time It’s Virtual! Review – PC VR

Early this summer I reviewed Sam & Max: This Time It’s Virtual! on the Oculus Quest 2 and while the game had its fair share of issues at least it was playable and I had a reasonably good time.  I did wish for better graphics than what the Quest was offering, and when I learned the game was coming to Steam I was understandably excited for a more visually pleasing experience.  Sadly, that is about the only thing this new release has going for it.  Gameplay is much smoother, details are improved and the annoying pop-up found in the Quest version is all but gone; at least in the parts I could play.

Therein lies my biggest issue with the PC VR version of Sam & Max: This Time It’s Virtual! – it’s unplayable.  I’ve had the game for nearly three weeks now.  I was loving it from day one, as I helped Sam & Max take down some crazy hydra monster outside their office building before going inside to see if I had what it took to join the Freelance Police.  The game looked marvelous and played perfectly as I checked off all the tasks, and then it was time to head to the abandoned amusement park where I was ultimately forced to abandon this game.

So if you are looking for a full review of Sam & Max: This Time It’s Virtual! then you’ll need to read my Quest 2 review, as my gameplay for this version ended at the very first stop at the park – bomb defusal.  The first time I tried to play this back at launch the screwdriver was not working properly.  I reported the issue and a few days later a patch released to fix this and numerous other issues.  When I jumped back in the screwdriver was functioning perfectly but now none of the squeeze/yank/twist motions were working.  My virtual hand would literally pass through the knob/handle/plunger and I was unable to perform any of those actions, which are much more frequent than using a screwdriver.  Poke and Boop still work fine.  So by fixing one issue the game became even more unplayable.  I’m not sure if other bugs exist in other carnival games because frankly, I am not remotely incentivized to even play beyond this first unplayable mini-game.

I typically don’t review games I don’t complete or at least play a substantial portion of, but having already completed this merely average game on the Quest I am simply here to tell you that Sam & Max: This Time It’s Virtual! is broken and unplayable.  It may ultimately get patched and turn out to be just fine but I’ve got other games to play, and don’t have time to keep coming back to this.  And you, the consumer, should certainly not be paying $30 for a game that is so broken only 30-40 minutes in.  I would have thought a Quest game could easily be ported over to PC but apparently not, so if you want to experience any of the humor Sam & Max: This Time It’s Virtual! has to offer then do it on the Quest.

Clash of Chefs VR Review – PC VR

As someone who managed to never work a single day in a fast food establishment growing up, I find it totally ironic and a bit demoralizing that here I am after 57 years on this planet slinging burgers, baking pizzas, frying nachos, and preparing sushi rolls all in the name of “entertainment”.  While I could easily see Clash of Chefs VR being used as an immersive training tool for each of these respective restaurants I found very little actual “fun” waiting to be had, as I plodded through lengthy mission checklists; 80 in all spread across the four cuisines.  In a world where we can’t even get people to work at McDonalds or Burger King for $15 an hour, Flatt Hill Games thinks people will pay $20 to do the same thing at home.

I will admit I did have a few minutes of fun with each of the four styles of cuisine.  Flipping burgers – although you don’t actually flip them – was fun enough trying to match the increasingly difficult orders of single and doubles, cheese or no cheese or maybe double cheese and the proper application of condiments.  Baking pizzas was perhaps my favorite part of the game, as you pound the dough flat, ladle on the sauce, shred the cheese, and then apply the requested toppings.  I find even the thought of sushi disgusting, so I spent very little time in that part of the game, but I did have fun with the Mexican food preparing nachos and tacos with all the assorted toppings.

Clash of Chefs VR lets you choose any of the four styles of food from the start then presents you with a lengthy series of challenges that grow increasingly more complex.  You’ll be inside your horseshoe food prep station that can be raised or lowered to the perfect comfort level while your fully customizable server will wait on the various people who enter your establishment.  A visual list of entrée flashcards will start to fill-up allowing you to prep for the current and future tickets, and a timer will constantly be creeping from happy to mad if you take too long or mess up an order.  And of course, you are scored for your efforts and ranked on leaderboards.

Ultimately, I had more fun figuring out how to “cheat” the game; thankfully the board of health wasn’t inspecting us.  I would start prepping burgers before the first customer even came in and have them lying around on plated buns on the empty portions of my counter.  Same with pizza, as during the first few missions they only order ham, mushroom, or pepperoni so you could get one or two of those prepped long before they were requested and just have them lying around.  Apparently the game doesn’t track freshness or hot food.  Looking at the completion times for the top leaderboard scores it seems others have found even more advanced ways to cheat.

There are also a few bugs lurking about the kitchen; no, not cockroaches but weird random stuff like dropping a ladle and having it vanish for the rest of the game forcing me to use the nacho cheese ladle to dip salsa.  I appreciated the authenticity of the bell to let my server know when an order was ready, but it was never necessary; they were always there to just take the food.  There were also a few minor issues with reliably grabbing plates and other items off the counter and some really annoying instances of my server telling me an order was incorrect when it clearly was – perhaps a scripting issue where the server was stuck on a previous order.  Whatever it was, this error forced me to have to restart the current stage at least three times out of the 20+ stages I played.  Considering this game was in Early Access for almost three years I was a bit surprised by some of the issues that remained in the final release.

Clash of Chefs VR offers up an all-you-can-eat buffet of content with the aforementioned 80 stages of single-player gaming along with some real-time and asynchronous competitive cook-offs.  The single-player stages start off easy enough, but all too soon the entrees get more complex with sides and drinks and ingredients that need to be sliced up or prepared separately.  It all seems very realistic in theory with fun controls that mimic these activities in real-life, yet shies away from ultra-realism when you are grabbing burgers off the grill with your bare hands or removing a pizza from the oven with no gloves or giant spatula.  I think one missed opportunity would have been to have some Yelp-style reviews posted after each stage and an ongoing restaurant review score that carried through all the stages.

I played Clash of Chefs VR on both the Vive and the Rift S and found no discernable differences between the two other than my preference for the Oculus Touch, which in this case felt much more secure in my hands than the Vive wands when whipping around hastily preparing food orders.  The graphics are simple and totally charming with easily identifiable food items that match up nicely with the illustrated flashcard order system.  There is a nice ambiance for each of the four restaurants with charming décor and fun animations for the server and patrons, including emoji’s showing their current satisfaction.

Despite the few hours of “fun” I managed to have exploring the early stages of each of the cuisines in Clash of Chefs VR, once things got too busy and the orders started getting too complex I turned in my chef’s hat and checked out.  I play games to relax when I’m not working; not simulate working at actual jobs I managed to avoid my entire life.  I’m not saying you won’t have fun with Clash of Chefs VR, but it just wasn’t something I found to my taste in games.

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Rhythm of the Universe: Ionia Review – PC VR

Having just finished Rhythm of the Universe: Ionia, I can easily say this is one of the top three best-looking VR “experiences” I have ever played, but it drastically falls short of being called a game.  Clocking in at around 90 minutes, this seems more like a demo or perhaps the first installment in an episodic series; wishful thinking on my part perhaps.  From start to finish I was totally captivated by the world that was unfolding before me; part Avatar, part Jurassic Park, and part Myst.  There was majestic music, great sound effects, and convincing voice acting that all combined to create a wonderfully complex and immersive environment, yet the one thing lacking was actual gameplay.

Don’t get me wrong; VR is a great place to experience these “walking simulators” type games, and in all fairness Ionia is only $15 and .75 of each purchase helps support Wildlife Warriors USA, but if you are going into this expecting any significant gameplay you could be disappointed.  I was, but only because I was so captivated by this enchanted world then unceremoniously ejected after four short chapters and a closing video from Robert Irwin.

The story setup is interesting enough; you and your sister Allegra set off on a quest to heal the Harpa, a magical creature whose life essence is tied to the environment that is slowly being destroyed by an approaching army.  Allegra leads you on most of this linear adventure; although you are left to explore and solve one puzzle on your own before reuniting.  The world does open up slightly for a bit of exploration but most of the time you are on a very well defined path.

Puzzles are few and far between.  There are a few xylophone puzzles where you must figure out the proper sequence of notes to play to advance the story.  In one area you must search for three missing tablets and return them to their pedestal to reveal a pan drum that you then use to unlock the path to the next area.  Most of the puzzles are music related and even the environments contain musical elements like giant toadstools that can be played like bongos.

Navigating the world of Ionia is handled through old-school teleporting, which I really dislike but can fully understand given the quality of the visuals.  Trying to move and turn in a continuous fashion would have tanked the framerate and likely caused motion sickness.  Your only representation in the game is a pair of hands (desperately in need of a manicure) with surprisingly detailed gauntlets crafted from red leaves layered on your wrists.  You can use these hands to grab items or grip vines and ladders to climb with actual climbing motions.  While not terribly exerting, these brief moments of physicality are a refreshing change from an otherwise passive experience.

I played Rhythm of the Universe: Ionia on both the Vive and the Rift S with the usual expected results from both.  My RTX3080 was plenty powerful to run the game with max settings (4) on all the options and I even cranked the resolution up to 1.5x and the game looked absolutely incredible.  Regardless of the VR system your in-game controllers are replaced with hands, but as always I found the Oculus Touch felt a bit more natural.  There are also plenty of dark areas in the world of Ionia, so the Vive’s screen door effect was more prominent in these areas.  I’ll have to give the nod to Rift S, but the game is certainly enjoyable on either.

Sadly, there is no real reason to replay Rhythm of the Universe: Ionia once finished unless you have friends over and want to dazzle them with one of the prettiest VR games available.  There are no achievements or trading cards to unlock and no secrets or collectibles that I could find.  If anything I would liken Ionia to a VR theme park experience.  I have yet to visit Pandora in Disney World, but I could only dream it is half as wondrous as this.  $15 is a small price to pay to experience Ionia; I’ve spent so much more on so much less, and even though is lacks a proper amount of gameplay and is over much too soon I still can’t help but recommend you check this out.  And don’t be a jerk and refund the game once you’ve finished it.  There is some serious artistic and visionary work happening here, and ROTU should be rewarded for their inspired creation.

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Rhythm of the Universe: IONIA, Stunning VR Adventure, Out Now for Quest & PC VR

ROTU Entertainment releases the long-awaited adventure puzzle VR game about preserving the environment through the power of music theory, Rhythm of the Universe: IONIA, today on Oculus Quest and SteamVR for compatible PC VR headsets. IONIA will arrive on PlayStation VR in the coming days.

Explore Ionia, a verdant land of music and magic on your quest to save the Harpa, a mythical being whose habitat is on the brink of destruction. Solve puzzles as you traverse ancient ruins, luminescent caves, breathtaking ravines, and lush forest canopies. Utilizing VR controllers, go hands-on with Ionia’s music-inspired flora and fauna.

IONIA shines a light on a truly immersive, gorgeous world unlike anything in VR gaming. At the intersection of visuals and musical flourish lies an important message about saving our natural world before it’s too late. IONIA’s achievements in art, sound, and design won multiple nominations at the Raindance Film Festival, several Indigo Design Awards, an Epic MegaGrant, and an official selection at 2020’s Cannes XR Development Showcase, part of the prestigious Cannes Film Festival.

While Ionia is a virtual world, ROTU Entertainment’s team of filmmakers, musicians, and visual artists looks to inspire positive change in the real world. Five percent of all proceeds from Rhythm of the Universe: IONIA will benefit the environmental non-profit Wildlife Warriors Worldwide, founded in 2002 by Steve and Terri Irwin. Robert Irwin, wildlife activist and photographer, appears in the launch trailer to celebrate the conservation efforts players will undertake in IONIA.

“Saving the Harpa and the Ionian forest mirrors our dreams for our own, precious world,” said Jason Parks, ROTU CEO. “We hope to inspire players to think critically about what they can do for the planet we share, through hands-on exploration only VR gaming can make possible.”

Save the Harpa today at the Oculus Store for Oculus Quest and Steam VR for Valve Index, Oculus Rift S, HTC Vive, Vive Pro, and HP Reverb G2. The PlayStation VR version will release in the coming days. Rhythm of the Universe: IONIA supports English, Spanish, French, Simplified Chinese, and German languages and is rated E for Everyone and equivalent in regions around the world.

For more information about Rhythm of the Universe: IONIA, please visit the official website, follow the game on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, and join the official community on Discord.

Clash of Chefs available now for Oculus Quest and Steam VR

Developer Flat Hill Games has announced that tasty virtual reality cooking game Clash of Chefs VR has exited Early Access and is now available for the original Oculus Quest and Oculus Quest 2 headsets, alongside other Steam VR-compatible devices including Oculus Rift, Valve Index, HTC Vive, and Windows Mixed Reality, for $19.99. Clash of Chefs VR challenges aspiring Michelin star cooks to serve burgers, pasta, pizza, ramen, sushi, burritos, and more against online or asynchronous multiplayer rivals in order to climb the leaderboard and become the best chef in virtual reality.

Foodies can also sharpen their culinary skill offline across 80 different single-player levels featuring a wide variety of American, Italian, Japanese, and Mexican recipes.

Watch mouthwatering mania ensue in the release date trailer:

“We’re excited to deliver the final version of Clash of Chefs, complete with new content like a Mexican restaurant, achievements, customization features, and more, to our fans on Oculus Quest’s hyper-curated platform,” says Adrian Djura, CEO and Founder of Flat Hill Games. “We can’t wait to witness the delicious and diabolical dishes our community serves in between occasional food fights.”

Becoming the next Gordon Ramsay won’t be a cakewalk, as customers will order increasingly intricate items off the menu once players have learned their way around a spatula. Fans will have to flip burgers, boil spaghetti, roll fish, and wrap burritos with precision if they hope to earn a notable spot on the leaderboard. Smash plates over a waiter’s head or splash soda in a rival’s face to serve dinner with a show.

Clash of Chefs VR is now available for Oculus Quest and Steam VR headsets for $19.99. To keep up to date with the latest information on the title, please like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, subscribe to our YouTube channel, join our Discord channel, and visit our website.

Muse Returns to Synth Riders with a Music Pack Featuring Band’s Greatest Hits

Synth Riders invites players to join Muse on an interstellar rock journey through the band’s greatest hits. Muse returns to this fan-favorite VR rhythm game with a dedicated 5-song pack, among which are best-selling tracks such as “Starlight”, “Uprising”, and “Madness”. The new collection is now available on Oculus Quest and Steam (with PSVR to follow in two weeks), featuring five paid DLC songs and a unique visual Experience for “Starlight”. The pack will also be included in a special physical edition on PlayStation VR, scheduled to release through Perp Games on 12th November.

“Muse Music Pack” is the sixth music bundle for Synth Riders, a VR rhythm game known for freestyle-dancing gameplay and unique visual Experiences. The new pack pays tribute to these incredible British electro-rockers, with five tracks, including their best-selling single of all time and spanning twelve years of their career. Influenced by electronic, progressive and glam rock, the band blends these styles into a truly distinctive Muse sound, topped by Matt Bellamy’s soaring vocals.

Following on from the previous experience for Muse’s “Algorithm”, the pack includes a brand new Synth Riders Experience, tailored for Muse’s massive hit “Starlight”. Players are invited to immerse themselves in the artistically driven visuals inspired by this epic intergalactic rock ballad, and let the game blend sight, sound and movement together into something truly unique.

“It’s incredibly inspiring to be able to work with Muse again. They are a perfect fit for Synth Riders because of their sound – when you ride the rails to match the vocals, the combination is electrifying and emotional. For the Experience, our creative interpretation of the song’s lyrics gave us the freedom to explore a whole galaxy of particles, abstract images, and even a black hole!” – Abraham Aguero – Creative Director Kluge Interactive

Sam & Max: This Time It’s Virtual! launches tomorrow on SteamVR and HTC Viveport

Indie game studio HappyGiant and publisher Big Sugar have announced that Sam & Max: This Time It’s Virtual! will launch tomorrow (Friday, September 10), for SteamVR and HTC Viveport Infinity headsets.

Following its release in July for Oculus Quest, and inclusion in this month’s Venice International Film Festival’s “Venice VR Expanded” showcase, fans will be able to download the game on Steam and the Viveport App store for $29.99 USD.

Sam & Max: This Time It’s Virtual! is an over-the-top action-adventure VR title featuring Steve Purcell’s irrepressible dog with a hat and hyperkinetic rabbity-thing. It’s the duo’s first game in more than a decade and the pair’s first foray into Virtual Reality.

This time our dynamic duo is using the incomprehensible magic of virtual reality to invite the player into their off-kilter world for a furious day of monster-slaying, obstacle courses, responsibly discharged firearms, and, of course, saving the entire freaking world. Sam & Max: This Time It’s Virtual! mixes puzzles and escape rooms with challenges of skill and classic point-and-click adventure sure to put even the heartiest Freelance Police cadet through their paces.

Brought to life by an all-star team of Sam & Max veterans, Sam & Max: This Time It’s Virtual! features all of the quips and crime-fighting adventure mixed with immersive action only possible with VR.

Gameplay Highlights

  • Experience the two-fisted japes and tomfoolery of internationally beloved icons Sam & Max in mind-melting virtual reality!
  • Push yourself to be the best of the best of the middling, as a dog and a naked rabbity thing harangue and cajole you through a bewildering assortment of Freelance Police Academy training challenges.
  • Discover the horrible and socially relevant secrets lurking behind, under, and within Cap’n Aquabear’s rotting theme park!
  • Give evil scientists and demonic trespassers their just desserts… with sprinkles!
  • Immersion so real you can feel Sam’s breath on your neck!

Rhythm of the Universe: IONIA, Conservationist Musical Adventure

IONIA, the first game in the Rhythm of the Universe adventure series about preserving the environment with the power of music from ROTU Entertainment, strikes a chord Thursday, September 23, 2021 for Oculus Quest, PlayStation VR, and SteamVR for compatible PC VR headsets.

Save the Harpa, an endangered mythical being, by drawing power from nature itself. Use VR controllers to pull drum beats, bell tones, and synth from flora and fauna. Use nature’s rhythm to solve puzzles based on musical theory. Behold the gorgeous Ionian forest from above and within, climbing trees, ziplining over ravines, and exploring every corner of a world worth saving.

IONIA’s message of environmental preservation extends to the real world, where five percent of proceeds will benefit the non-profit Wildlife Warriors Worldwide, founded in 2002 by Steve and Terri Irwin.

Sam & Max: This Time It’s Virtual! demo out now on SteamVR

Publisher Big Sugar and developer HappyGiant are delighted to share the news that the playable demo for the upcoming PC VR version of the zany adventure Sam & Max: This Time It’s Virtual! is now available to download on Steam.

Sam & Max: This Time It’s Virtual! will also be available to play for those visiting the Venice VR Expanded segment of the 78th annual Venice International Film Festival or at one of the 14 Venice VR Expanded satellite locations around the globe.

Everyone’s favorite anthropomorphic vigilante private investigators have been selected as part of this year’s “Out of the Competition – Best of VR”, which will be available September 1-11 on site at the festival (Sala Amici, Palazzo del Casinò, Lido di Venezia), and then online and at the Satellite Venues September 1-19, 2021.

Gameplay Highlights

  • Experience the two-fisted japes and tomfoolery of internationally beloved icons Sam & Max in mind-melting virtual reality!
  • Push yourself to be the best of the best of the middling, as a dog and a naked rabbity thing harangue and cajole you through a bewildering assortment of Freelance Police Academy training challenges.
  • Discover the horrible and socially relevant secrets lurking behind, under, and within Cap’n Aquabear’s rotting theme park!
  • Give evil scientists and demonic trespassers their just desserts… with sprinkles!
  • Immersion so real you can feel Sam’s breath on your neck!

Following its debut on Oculus, Sam & Max: This Time It’s Virtual! will launch later this year for SteamVR and Viveport Infinity, and then PlayStation VR in early 2022. Sam & Max: This Time It’s Virtual! can be wishlisted now on Steam.