Category Archives: HTC Vive

The Last Taxi Review – PC VR

In a future where taxis are still a thing, but human drivers are not, you will be playing as the last human driver; a position that comes with certain duties and expectations.  The Last Taxi does manage to surprise with its unexpected approach to recreating this blue-collar job by not having you actually drive the cab.  Instead, you pick a spot on the city map, pick up your fare, and take them to their destination…all on rails.  So, what’s left for you to do?

First of all, you’ll want to complete the informative tutorial that will get you acclimated to the workstation in the garage as well as the basic controls of the cab – more gadgets get added to the dash as you rank up, so new learning happens on the fly as needed.  I found it oddly disturbing that your cab is powered by energy derived from your own human blood that is dispensed from the console and inserted into your wrist device.

While your cab might be on autopilot as it glides around the futuristic skyline of Progress Point, you’ll still need to interact with your dashboard as well as your riders in back, but the core of the game is conversation…lots of conversation.  The game offers a diverse cast of characters, each with their own custom conversations that you will need to navigate in order to get that 5-star review and big tip or you might find it more profitable to steer the conversation so your riders confess to various crimes that you can then report when the ride is over.

As each new rider climbs into you cab you can choose whether or not to record the conversation; simply insert a blank recording disc into the dash and then wait for your rider to say something incriminating to log the crime.  At the end of the ride, you can choose to turn the tape over to the authorities for a reward or toss the tape.  Not all passengers are criminals and even when they do confess to certain improprieties you need to use your own judgement on whether to turn them in.  There are more than 80 passengers, and in the several hours I’ve played I have not had a repeat rider.

The conversations flow quite naturally with excellent voice acting that really engages you for the duration of each ride, meanwhile the real world is also affecting your cab ride with periodic distractions that require your immediate attention.  You might need to honk your horn to get past a slow driver or maybe throw up a temporary shield to block an obstacle or use your handheld gravity gun to collect stray cargo floating around the city for spare cash.  Ash particles and toxic sludge can block your windshield, forcing you to reach for the wiper controls so you can see the road ahead as indicated by the travel line and arrow that weaves a scenic course through the vast cityscape.

There were definite times where I was reminded of The Fifth Element, both in the level of futuristic tech on hand along with the design of the actual yellow cab.  The interface is very cool, relying on a tablet device that gets plugged into the workstation at the garage or into the dashboard of your cab.  You can even use the device to monitor the health and wellbeing of a certain infant you are left to care for, but that is going into spoiler territory.  There is a bit of busy work when you aren’t “driving” the cab.  You might be given an object that you can scan, or you might get an upgraded license that grants you access to more areas of the city, or you might have expense vouchers that need to be scanned to update your bank account.  You have daily expenses, and you will need to earn enough on your trips in fares, tips, and reward money to cover operating costs.  There are also other required objectives for earning updated licenses.

The Last Taxi is a charming little game that doesn’t require a lot of thought or fast reflexes…until it does.  There is some fun sightseeing to be had with all the cool elements used to create the various parts of the city from a sprawling fishing village built on stilts to flashy neon tower high rises, slums, and many other distinct areas you’d expect to find in a futuristic city.  There is easily ten hours of gameplay here with more than 20 unique endings based on your choices, so there is plenty of content to hopefully justify the $30 price tag.  Just know going into this that The Last Taxi is a very passive game where you don’t actually drive the cab.  I’m seeing a lot of disgruntled gamers who jumped into this game not knowing what to expect.

I played on both the Vive and the Rift S and the game is nearly identical.  The darker nature of the city scenery made some parts look nicer on the Rift S and the controls were a bit more intuitive using the Touch controls versus the Vive wands.  The overall art design is rather simplistic with basic polygon structures and flat textures.  The garage and the cab interior are delightfully detailed, but the overall visual design felt limited, almost like something we would have played back when VR first launched.  I did enjoy being able to converse with my passengers using the tablet in my dashboard rather than having to turn and talk over my shoulder, but you can if you want.  The Last Taxi desperately wants to be Cloudpunk in its overall design but doesn’t come close.  Considering the limited nature of the graphics I was surprised that my RTX3080 card was having trouble running the game smoothly; there were lots of jitters and hiccups while flying through the city.

Despite a few nagging tech issues and possibly a price tag $10 too high, I still enjoyed my time with The Last Taxi.  It’s definitely a more relaxing game; one you won’t have to worry about VR sickness, and one that can be enjoyed over and over since you have a lot of control over how each encounter plays out.  The city is constantly evolving with each ride along with your path to one of 20+ endings.  How it all plays out is entirely up to you.

Ragnarock: One Year Later and What Lies Ahead

We’re just weeks away from the one-year anniversary of the release of Ragnarock, a VR music game featuring magic runes, Vikings, drums, and racing longboats.  Sound cool?  More than you can possibly imagine, so go read my original review if you haven’t already then check out what’s new in the past year and what we can expect going forward.

A lot has changed in the past twelve months, some obvious and some changes more subtle.  It’s been a while since I’ve wielded the magic hammers and drummed my way across the finish line, so I’m not sure how many of my “new observations” are actually enhancements versus stuff I just overlooked when I originally reviewed.  For instance, there are now wicked looking guitars displayed on the vaulted ceiling that you can click on for twangy sound effects.  If you hover on the Exit door it will crack open, and wind will blow snow into the threshold creating a small drift that will slowly melt once you shut the door.  Some things I do know are new is the door on the right (where the hammer selector used to be) that leads to the locker room.  In here, you will not only find a bigger hammer selector wheel with more hammer options but also the ability to select from an assortment of unlockable longboats.  This is all just visual fluff, but some of the hammer requirements to unlock new designs are really challenging and will keep collectors playing for extended hours.

In addition to the Viking lodge renovations there are also major additions to the music list, which has grown considerably over the past year with two major DLC drops adding 17 new songs, new hammers, boats, and even a new environment.  There is so much music you can now select your tracks by group as well as easily create a list of Favorites by toggling the Star icon on the song card.  Surprisingly, there is a nice variety of song difficulty, making all of the new content highly accessible to Vikings of all skill levels.  Some of the tracks are also supersized, lasting 2-3 times longer than most tracks.  These 10+ minute marathon drum sessions will really test your endurance, and you have the ability to add your own custom music, which appears as its own tab in the music selection wheel.

Ragnarock is easily one of the best music games I’ve ever played, locking in a solid second place behind Synth Riders.  It has tremendous potential to be a classic party game for passing around the headset, especially now that the game has multi-profile support. It would be cool to have song lyrics displayed on an external monitor so your drunken horde of Vikings waiting their turn could sing along to some of these catchy sea shanties.  The game still boasts some incredibly fun multiplayer with a new party mode and tournaments along with the classic leaderboard-chasing systems and an improved Ghost Ship racing mode that lets you select ghosts from a variety of sources such as your best race time, your friends’ best times, or you can even race against the #1 drummer from the world leaderboards.  These ghost ships along with the +/- distance meter are a great way to judge your performance in any given race.  I also appreciate the clock-meter that indicates how much of the song is left.

As with any music title the game is only as fun as the music is enjoyable and the track list (and DLC) are very genre specific.  No EDM or K-Pop here; in fact, the only two band names I even recognize are The Offspring and DragonForce, but the music is so good…even the “bad” songs really aren’t bad…just not as good as others.  Gloryhammer had some of the best songs from the original song library, so for them to get their own DLC was glorious.  I had a blast exploring both the DLC libraries as well as revisiting the original two volumes of music, and slowly working my way through the second and third difficulty tiers, although anything around 6 or 7 is 50-50 on whether I can reach a bronze finish – but I keep on trying, and that is the addictive nature of Ragnarock.  Even when you fail you still have a great time, and those bronze, silver, and gold finishing posts as well as the competitive ghost battles will keep you playing for countless hours, and with free new music releasing each quarter along with paid RAID DLC, there is no end in sight.

I haven’t been this hooked on a music game since Rock Band and Guitar Hero.  The immersive presentation is only the beginning.  The fantastic song libraries along with unparalleled freedom in customizing your drum layout for seated or standing play, choosing that perfect hammer and ship model, or striving to achieve those near-impossible goals to unlock more content will keep you wearing that VR headset longer than you probably should, but those are the sacrifices a Viking drummer has to make.

FPS Roguelike MOTHERGUNSHIP: FORGE Launches Today on Quest 2, SteamVR

MOTHERGUNSHIP: FORGE, a VR reimagining of the acclaimed roguelike first-person shooter with more than 750,000 veterans, welcomes new recruits on Meta Quest 2 and SteamVR for Valve Index and HTC Vive today.

Let imaginations run wild by combining crazy weapon parts to forge outlandish creations. Developer Terrible Posture Games checks the laws of physics at the door to give players an arsenal worthy of the MOTHERGUNSHIP’S robot alien minions. The possibilities? Unfathomable. The jelly mines? Sticky. The rubber ducks? Menacing, of course.

Experiment with trillions of combinations and create a ridiculous weapon chimera to make your inner Victor Frankgunstein proud. Physically snap together barrels, caps, connectors, and more, all in VR’s immersive first-person view. Attachments can affect both the weapons and the procedurally generated world around you, like tesla coils to chain damage, a skeleton key unlocking every room, coffee ammo to speed up fire rate, or glowing mushrooms for punching projectiles out of the sky. As you do.

One madcap concoction not enough? Bring in a buddy and face the alien armada together in two-player co-op. Dodge incoming volleys through ducking, diving, dipping, and other gesticulations. Take on punishing stages and colossal bosses to reap plentiful rewards, like money, more gun parts, energy shields to weather the storm, and crystal… purple stuff?

In the belly of the MOTHERGUNSHIP, dozens of hours of roguelike adventure await: each new run generates threatening encounters and heretofore-unseen attachments.

“Bringing MOTHERGUNSHIP to VR is something we’ve been intrigued about for years, and now we get to see our game through a new LENS,” said Joe Mirabello, Creative Director at Terrible Posture Games. “Kyle from PR didn’t want me to use that pun, but PR doesn’t always get what PR wants, DO YOU, KYLE? Puns are glorious, just like slapping a Biscuit Trophy on the weapon of your dreams and unloading sticky spikeballs at robot invaders with a buddy.”

MOTHERGUNSHIP: FORGE launches today on Meta Quest 2 and SteamVR for Valve Index and HTC Vive for $19.99 USD. Stay updated with the latest missions from Terrible Posture Games on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Discord.

Gates of Nesphera VR New Trailer Out

Indie game developers Clever Name Studio is announcing that their game Cepheus Gate VR will be launching on Steam Early Access this July.

Gates of Nesphera VR is a roguelite-inspired dungeon crawler. Explore vast corridors, fight against powerful Keepers, and use the deadly power of Nesphera to grow in strength. Be careful though, the mighty power is treacherous and can devour you if not used wisely.

As you explore the mazes of Gates of Nesphera VR, you must learn to use the excess energy of the Nesphera. Use weapons, environment, and enchanted crystals to fight against the Maze Keepers.

Gates of Nesphera VR will be in Early Access till Q4 of 2022. The Early Access Version offers fantasy-medieval themed randomly generated corridors with a bunch of enemies, mechanics, different tools, and a progression system that allows players to push higher levels as their skills grow.

The full version of the game will also be launched on the Oculus Store in the future. It will include an extended dungeon list, new environments filled with new mechanics, new unique Keepers, tools, weapons, and more complex interactions.

Features

  • Always a new maze with the Reconstruction System: Energy of the Nesphera creates similar, yet different mazes every time you enter.
  • Use collected Nesphera energy to grow in strength: The excess energy of the Nesphera is deadly dangerous, so you’ll have to learn how to handle it to develop your skills and research new equipment with the help of scholars from the infamous Cepheus Academy.
  • Use whatever you can find: Use everything you can find – weapons, environment, and enchanted crystals to gain an advantage and give yourself a chance in a fight against the Maze Keepers.
  • Find a way to destroy a powerful Maze Keeper: Maze Keepers are mythical and powerful beings, wielding the energy of the Nesphera. You will have to find a way to deal with them, expose their weaknesses and use your wits and acquired skills.

Kluge Interactive, the studio that brought you Synth Riders, announces Final Fury, a classic arcade fighting game reimagined for VR

Coming in 2023, this is Kluge’s next title, taking the solid mechanics and furious pace of a classic arcade fighting game, reimagined as an immersive VR experience and optimized for multiplayer 1v1 fights. The game is set to release on all major VR platforms.

This is not a button masher! Rather than requiring the player to physically punch their opponent, you’ll have to move, relying on your precision and reflexes to chain furious combos, activate special moves via intuitive, in-game controls to defeat your opponent. This is a game that is easy to learn, hard to master, and will get your pulse racing.

In Final Fury, the player views each round from a mixture of first-person view and third person arcade-style perspective which allows for more stylized moves and epic visuals. The game will have a growing roster of fighters, such as Tempest and Glitch, as seen in the announcement trailer, each with their own backstory, home stage visual environment, and music track to highlight their personality. 

“We grew up playing games like Street Fighter and Killer Instinct and wanted to be the first to bring this genre to VR in order to fully immerse ourselves in the fights,” says Abraham Aguero, Creative Director at Kluge. 

Sign up to the Final Fury Newsletter to be first to hear of new developments, beta-test invitations and receive your free Final Fury wallpapers to personalize your PC or mobile device! The official Final Fury Discord is also available to join if you wish to talk directly with the devs and the community.

“Hellfest RAID”: The Epic New DLC from Rhythm VR Game Ragnarock is Available Now

The unprecedented collaboration between the legendary music festival Hellfest and video game Ragnarock is now available. This Ragnarock DLC announces many new features and dedicated content, including the arrival of new famous bands in the playable tracklist!

Presented during the Upload VR Showcase Summer 2022, WanadevStudio is delighted to announce the release of Ragnarock’s new DLC, Hellfest RAID. This DLC includes 11 new tracks from Bands attending Hellfest 2022, a new playable environment dedicated to the world of the festival, new longships, and many more surprises.

The Offspring, Dragonforce, Nightwish, Gojira… A line-up of epic new music

For this unique partnership, Ragnarock completes its tracklist with 11 new collaborations from several headliners and evergreen rhythm games music :

  • The Offspring – “You’re Gonna Go Far, Kid”
  • Nightwish – “Tribal”
  • DragonForce – “Heart Demolition”
  • Gojira – “Born For One Thing”
  • Helloween – “Skyfall”
  • Blind Guardian – “Battlefield”
  • Avatar – “Going Hunting”
  • The Rumjacks – “One For The Road”
  • Therion – “Great Marquis of Hell”
  • Disconnected – “Life Will Always Find Its Way”
  • Fejd – “Härjaren”

Many novelties

A new room is now accessible: the locker room!

Players will be able to choose their longship and their hammers from those already unlocked. For this DLC, a specially inspired festival longship is available and a pair of Hellfest-themed hammers are now unlockable!

A playable environment reflecting the Hellfest colors is also accessible. This map includes all the mythical places of the festival transposed into the Ragnarock universe.

This partnership between two major players in metal music represents a collaboration never seen before. Ben Barbaud, director and co-creator of Hellfest, says “If I had been told that 17 years after the creation of the festival

Hellfest, this one would become the hero of a virtual reality video game, I wouldn’t have believed it! We are proud of this partnership with

WanadevStudio which highlights the cultural richness of our festival through an Art in full development. Live music and related video games to offer players a unique concept and live a piece of the “Hellfest experience” thanks to VR technology. Good Game and Have Fun in Hell !”

Ragnarock is available on Steam, Meta, and Viveport.

Keep the meter and your morals running in The Last Taxi

Today, developer ZenFri Inc. is excited to launch The Last Taxi onto Steam VR. The Last Taxi is a VR adventure where players will explore a fully automated world as the city’s only human taxi driver.

Players will find themselves behind the wheel of a hovering taxi as the only organic transport operator in the futuristic city of Progress Point, a megacity fractured by politics, morality and money. With automation having all but eliminated the need for human labour, work is incredibly hard to come by and every day is a struggle for survival for those not among the lucky few of the city’s elite citizens.

After carrying a mysterious wounded passenger in your cab, they disappear suddenly, leaving trouble for the player in the form of an unregistered infant. Players will have to work hard to support both themselves and the infant while they figure out what’s best for them. Thankfully it’s not a decision that will be made in a vaccuum, with over 80 passengers with their own thoughts, philosophies and problems, players will become a true citizen of Progress Point, and can decide the future for the infant that they believe to be the best with over 20 different endings.

As players explore both the soaring heights and rotting underbelly of Progress Point, they will carry passengers to their destinations, providing a comfortable journey and pleasant conversation throughout. Helping citizens to relax might just encourage them to open up to you about their problems, and with no saints found among survivors, players will have to consider either helping them with their woes, or reporting their shadier customers to the proper authorities. There’s never a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ solution, but a player’s decisions could have far-reaching consequences.

Standard taxis in Progress Point come equipped with mandatory listening devices (as per governmental regulation), but as a non-automaton players can customize and modify their taxi with a variety of above board and under the table upgrades. Improve comfort for passengers, or invest in remote hacking equipment to unlock areas taxi drivers really shouldn’t be in.

The Last Taxi introduces players to a diverse cast and a one-of-a-kind setting, creating a true sense of place. Progress Point truly comes alive for players as they explore one of the most vibrant and alive worlds to ever come to the world of VR.

A nuanced story of morality and meters, each decision carries weight, no two playthroughs of The Last Taxi will be the same as players ask passengers (and themselves) the big questions, “Is it right to commit crimes to survive?”, “Do machines have souls?” and “What should you do when a stranger leaves a baby in your car?”, okay that last one might be a bit more literal.

Dee King, Co-Founder of ZenFri Inc. said: “The Last Taxi is a ‘sonder’ experience. It’s not a word you often hear, but it describes the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own. This perfect word is what our game encapsulates.

In The Last Taxi, you play yourself – the last human driver – having conversations at the end of the world. You show up very briefly in the lives of the characters in Progress Point; some you help, some you hinder, and some maybe you have no profound impact. Much like real life, you’ll encounter all sorts of people, all of whom have their own big and complicated lives, and you might only be a fleeting moment in their day.”

The Last Taxi is available now on the Oculus Rift and Vive via Steam VR, priced $29.99 / €26.99 / £22.99.

Drums Rock VR Coming to Steam on June 2nd

Drums Rock is an arcade drum game for VR in Oculus Quest 2, follow the rock rhythm with your drums and crush the demons. Each note is represented by an enemy, and they will be defeated by playing the drums. Experience a unique campaign: with different levels, challenges, songs and worlds. Drums Rock is an ideal game to feel like a rock star, while smashing hordes of demons to the rhythm of rock!

Drums Rock VR will be launched on June 2nd on Steam. Drums Rock, one of the best music VR games according to many reviews, debuts on Steam with songs like I Love Rock’n Roll by Joan Jett, Mirror Mirror by Blind Guardian, Runni’n Wild by Airbourne, Drink by Alestorm, among others. In addition to collaborations such as Until You Fall.

Afterlife VR Out on Steam Early Access Today

Independent game developers Split Light Studio is launching their horror VR game, Afterlife VR, on Steam Early Access today.

Afterlife VR is an Immersive first-person horror game with a blood-chilling story that will make you question your own senses and experience the true essence of terror.

In Afterlife VR, you play as Adam Bernhard, a young rookie police officer on a routine night patrol, who receives a call that will change his life forever. Uncover the secrets hidden deep within the Black Rose mental hospital walls.

Afterlife VR will be available in Early Access for approximately 1 to 2 months. The full version of the game would launch with German, Spanish, Italian, French, and Russian translations, modified mechanics of escape from the ghost, enabling of find, collect and store the notes in player inventory, and features/improvements suggested by players.

Features

  • Immersive first-person horror game built from the ground up for VR;
  • Blood chilling story that will make you question your own senses;
  • Innovative puzzle design, taking advantage of both the motion controllers and the protagonist’s telekinetic abilities;
  • Enjoyable and scary encounters with enemies – fight them with your firearm and/or your psychokinetic powers;
  • Explore the mysterious Black Rose hospital and immerse yourself in its twisted story.