For best results, pick up Islanders: Console Edition for shorter sessions; calm yourself down and escape from the stress of life. Don’t look for it to satisfy your Napoleonic yearnings for military glory. And if you’ve been looking for the next “Civ-on-the-go,” keep looking. Islanders: Console Edition is a small game that knows what it is — and isn’t. And that’s just fine.
Despite these annoyances though, I Expect You to Die 2: The Spy and the Liar is one of the best VR games of 2021 so far. The smart, funny Bond-inspired writing, the meticulous attention to detail, the masterful use of Oculus’s VR controls, and the well-designed missions had me … well, glued to my seat the entire time. It may not change much from the original, but I Expect You to Die 2: The Spy and the Liar once again delivers a thoroughly-enjoyable VR experience from start to finish.
Ven VR Adventure is overall a solid platforming adventure that uses its many gameplay influences well. There are some nice courses to play through and a visually appealing world to unlock in around 5 hours. They’ve also improved the game from previous versions, allowing you to send Ven backward to retrace missed parts of a level. But I still wish that darn camera didn’t intrude on the fun so much; that issue and a general sameness were a letdown to what is otherwise a game with lots of positives.
It wouldn’t be unfair to summarize Ragnarock by saying it is Beat Saber with a Viking theme. And it is undoubtedly another solid VR workout game that will have you burning boatloads of calories, but having so much fun you won’t notice how sweaty you are. But Ragnarock lacks some of the elements that make Beat Saber great; there isn’t enough variation in the rhythmic actions you do to the music, and the playlist of songs is a bit paltry (although the devs have said they will be adding to it). Combine that with mediocre visuals and Ragnarock is a decent game and fun way to get a great workout, but one whose repetition might make you want to hang up your helmet after a while. Pick this one up if you’re a fan of Norse themes, you’re looking to take a break from Beat Saber … or you just want to rock.
But there are lots of reasons to be hopeful that A Township Tale will grow, and improve, and eventually fulfill its potential to be a truly great MMO in VR. Developers Alta have been great about responding to player feedback and updating the game regularly, and I am sure that quests and events and maybe even new areas will be added in the future. Until then, A Township Tale is a decent, if flawed, VR game that you will love even as you sometimes curse it under your Oculus headset.
It’s also short. That’s a common complaint in VR games, though, and it seems that in these early days we’ll have to judge VR games by the quality of their content, not the quantity of it. By that standard, A Rogue Escape is a decent experience. If you like a game that doesn’t hold your hand, you’ll like this one. And, unlike many such games, the payoff for learning all by yourself is worth it; you’ll have some genuine fun as you grow more adept at piloting the Nauticrawl. I wish it was longer and ended better, but in its early and middle stages, A Rogue Escape provides enough satisfaction to make it worth a try.
Overall, Puzzle Bobble VR: Vacation Odyssey is a decent title and a fun time for a solid few hours of casual enjoyment. You can play it standing or sitting, which is a plus. But it’s got some annoyances that will get on your nerves after a while. Besides the finicky aiming mechanic, there isn’t really the mind-blowing immersion that we look for in a great VR game; this is an experience that would have been pretty much the same if it were in 2D: a casual, amusing little puzzler that you pick up for short periods and then put away. When you’re asking players to strap on a fairly heavy VR headset for longer periods, you really need to give them a more thrilling and unique experience than this.
It’s set-up is ludicrous, it’s biomes are beautiful but sparse, and it’s story is convoluted; but even still, I enjoyed Maskmaker and I recommend you take up the chisel and mallet and experience it for yourself. There’s a clever and unique use of VR in this game that make it worth trying on, despite everything.
I should mention that Traffic Jams does have a multiplayer component, but it isn’t very appealing. Up to four non-VR players can join you via their cellphones, but their roles are limited and frankly, I don’t see this being a popular way to play. Traffic Jams is, at it’s core, a single-player experience but even then, it is a rather thin one. While there are some fun and clever ideas here, and a few hours of genuine fun to be had, there’s just too much sameness to the experience to keep you coming back. But if nothing else, Traffic Jams’ arm-flailing madness could be a decent way to do a daily 30 minute workout if you’re looking for a change from your usual fitness routine.
But unfortunately, even the different modes, slick visuals and silky-smooth frame rate can’t make up for the fact that World Tennis Tour 2 Complete Edition’s core experience, playing tennis, is a huge let-down. It is extremely disappointing that Big Ant Studios has failed to adequately address the basic gameplay shortcomings that have been around since the first Tennis World Tour back in 2018. As a fan of the sport I badly wanted this game to be better, but Tennis World Tour 2 Complete Edition will make even the most die-hard tennis fanatic want to smash their racquet and head to the dressing room.